Synopsis from the Back Cover:
Sometimes there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes… there’s not. Because true light doesn’t appear at the end of a long, hard road. True light comes from within. Most of the time, however, we live unaware of this secret shine, and it is not found until someone shows us that it’s there.
During the hardest times of her life, Natalie Winters struggled with what light to seek and what star to wish upon. She lived a life in which she was enriched with a deep darkness that caused even the brightest of glows to fade away into darker shadows. A Secret Star is a memoir of the horrific stories of her childhood— the abandonment, the abuse, and the absence of love. However, this little girl found that in her darkest of tunnels, she was not alone. For even the darkest of skies still have the sparkle of the stars.
A Secret Star, by Krystyne F. Aleksandr, tells the true story of a girl who grew up in an abusive household. Set in Amarillo, Texas, this is the memoir of her childhood in the foster care system and in a horrific home. It also focuses on her faith and hope for a better future.
I wanted to read this for a long time, but it was difficult to find a copy of it. That surprised me since it was published two years ago. It is not available as an ebook, according to Amazon, which narrowed my options.
This book is one of the most heartbreaking and raw stories I have ever read. I read it one sitting (about 10 hours), and I cried and was indignant over some people’s behaviors and responses to what they saw. I do not believe the book is intended to be read that quickly, but I felt the need to finish it.
Natalie Winters, the author’s birth name, found brief escape through the one instance where her father rescued her and more frequent escape through school. She works hard and strives for the highest goals. While doing this, she struggled to survive and stand up to the evil in her life.
Aleksandr’s memoir brought a new meaning to the aphorism: “The loneliest people are the kindest. The saddest people smile the brightest. The most damaged people are the wisest. All because they do not wish to see anyone else suffer the way they do.” Throughout the book she always thinks and cares about others. She never wants them to be hurt by the adults raising her, and she especially does not want them to ever experience a fraction of what she did.
For this book, I liked her incorporation of quotations at the start of every chapter. They gave you the glimpse or theme of the event of that chapter. Aleksandr wrote many great sentences to think about. I found the dedication is particularly important:
To the people who were ever without a home,
For the individuals who have ever felt alone,
To the one who has fallen into despair,
For the souls who have no one to care,
To the persons who have only sorrow,
For the heart that has known many a great woe,
To the parents who now protect from above,
For the children who were ever without love.
The overarching themes are hope, forgiveness, and the strength of faith. She hoped for rescue. She clung to her faith. She forgave when many would say that she didn’t have to.
While the copy I read had a few spelling errors, this story needs to be shared. This compelling memoir needs to be read and discussed.
If you found David Pelzer’s A Child Called It remarkable and moving, you should read this book. If you like nonfiction, especially about childhood, then you should read this book.
Rating: 5 of 5