book review: mother at seven (veronika gasparyan)

mother at seven


it’s frustrating. knowing something tragic happening and being so powerless to help because sure, it’s a real-life story but at the same time, it all happened in the past. and i’m just a mere reader of someone’s painful memoir.

remember that time in titanic when rose was practically submerged in subzero water and she was trying to shout for help but her screams just came out in whispers because her throat was frozen or something?

aside from the movie’s theme song, i hated that part. hated it. because from where i sat in the comfort of my chair, it seemed so easy to do. she wasn’t exactly my favorite character but i was rooting for her to survive. how hard is it to just freakin’ shout for help a little louder?!

you know what i mean?

but see, that’s the thing. i reckon sometimes it’s so easy for us to tell people what to do because we’re not in the situation. emphasis on we’re not in the situation.

reading mother at seven brought out those same emotions — that feeling of wanting to do something to help but being impotent to do so. and so you’re left bottling up all these feelings of anger and shock and pity and frustration before you start another cycle of those same feelings again.

i don’t know how the author survived, to be honest.

i mean, if it were me, my book would have ended on page 14. forget chapter 2, i’m out. and by that, i mean dead.

i reckon you have to be VERY STRONG to survive an abuse. i’m talking mentally and emotionally. long after your body couldn’t take it no longer, your willpower takes over from there just to get you functioning somehow.

as to why it’s so hard for victims to confide to anyone, that’s something i don’t really understand. but then again, i can be very private with my personal woes so i guess there’s that. definitely can’t judge a book by its cover now, can we?

however, for the life of me, i could never understand how families can abuse their own blood. worse, when it’s their own mother. i mean, why?!

forgive me, but i’m the type who can get emotionally invested in a really good book and somehow infuse my readings with reality so naturally, jeff gets the brunt of it. like when i said, “jeff, if i ever die and you get raven a stepmom, you better make sure she’d love raven as much as i do because i swear on my grave i will haunt. the. bitch. down.”

i didn’t say it in a psychotic way, of course. just, you know, sort of casually. before adding, “that goes for you too if you blindly allow the abuse to happen. i will stand next to your bedside like those sewer kids in your nightmares every. fucking. day.”

by then, he was livid. “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!”

books, man. they really do my head in. but it’s only the special ones i allow to mess with my psyche. and i mean that as a compliment.

so, yeah. that’s my take on mother at seven.

the author herself, veronika gasparyan, sent me the book. asked me if i would be happy to read it, which i was. posted it all the way from the america and here we are.

for all the suffering and heartbreak that this book is about, it’s also about hope and dreams and courage. it’s about fighting for the life that we want to live and not for the life that is familiar but unkind.

it’s about freedom.

in the words of her beloved grandfather:

a majority of people will often choose the familiar things instead of the unknown, even if they are making a choice that they know will harm them. people are afraid to take chances, to try or to fight. people pass countless opportunities in their lives just because they are scared to make a move or do something out of character. there were many times when i was faced with hard and risky decisions, but i picked the unknown if the familiar sounded too dangerous. do you know what? every time i did that, something great came out of it.

so, yeah, you never really know what goes on beneath the surface. there are walking smoke signals within and among us. if you can decode the signs and reach out, cool. if not, the least we can do, by default, is to be kind.

which brings to mind one of my favorite quotes:

be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

p.s. i did ask veronika the answer to my burning question and this was her reply:

I didn’t tell my grandpa because back then and in Russia the laws were horrible and he wouldn’t be able to help me. He could beat Armen up but I still would have to live with my parents and I was scare on what will happen after my grandpa teach him a lesson. I was more worried about stressing him out believe it or not…

there you go. if you ever get the chance to grab a copy of her book, please do. it will break your heart but at the same time, it will inspire you to live life to the fullest too.

because, yes, everything happens for a reason.

One thought on “book review: mother at seven (veronika gasparyan)

  1. Honestly I did not like this book — the unrelenting abuse was so over the top as to make it less than credible — even if true, obviously she got out of it enough to write the book and could have at the very least informed the reader of how that happened and what happened to her… but obviously anticipating another book with further gory details she chose to leave us up in the air — I call that exploitative and manipulative and frankly as a result I have no interest in reading another drawn-out agonizing narrative written by her.

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