Vicky Jaggers (Hodder & Stoughton)

Confessional memoirs are weird beasts.

Invariably you read them knowing that you are not necessarily going to get a ‘literary experience’.

The attraction to them, as a reader, is that they are real-life tales of hardship and/or horror endured by real-life people.

So I’m not sure what’s gone wrong with Vicky Jagger’s memoir.

Her story is as compelling as it is horrific.

At 13 she was raped by her psychopathic older brother. She fell pregnant to him and bore a child.

As if that weren’t bad enough, she didn’t feel able to confide in her parents and kept this wretched secret to herself for 18 years, until David’s escalating violence forced her to speak out.

She says she committed her story to paper so as to inspire victims of abuse to break their silence, which is laudable. But the prose she proffers is so enervating the reader soon loses interest.

I suspect the book was heavily edited and that we’re just not hearing enough of her own voice. Her anger seems muted and the emotional impact of her considerable trauma blunted.