Cruel Harvest: A Memoir by Fran Elizabeth Grubb, is a true graphic account of the physical, emotional and sexual abuse that a woman endured as a young girl at the hands of her disturbed, murdering, abusive pedophile father. While I found this a well written book, this is a true account of graphic account of abuse endured by a young girl. It is not written to be entertainment as it is a true- unaltered account This book is endorsed as an inspritational account of hope and forgiveness in the midst of despair because of the young girls attitude of perseverance. Despite what she edured- she simply did not give up. Personally I did not find enlightement, as I was simply overcome with the reaction of anger at the injustice. As a reader, I was stirred with righteous anger and a desire to see the abusive man receive justice- in fact I finished this book in less than a day just for the sole purpose of seeing some justice. But in the story, that never happened. There is no embellishment to this story. It is written exactly as the events happened.
Ironically, on the cover Frances is depicted as a little girl- the strain of a physically demanding life is evident. Yet her proud and confident stance is apparent even in childhood- as if there is a degree of personal or spiritual strength that would always remain untainted and untouched by the horrific events that she endured. Endearing and quaint, simple clip art, of a little piece of innocent white cotton stands in stark contrast to the painful reality of having to harvest cotton. The significance of the cover art becomes obvious within the first few chapters.
In the end of the book, Frances eventually musters the strength to forgive long after the death of her father Broden, when she is confronted with finding his unmarked grave. I felt that this "forgiveness" was "encouraged" by the well intentioned husband. Personally, I found Frances' husband Wayne, to be a kind hearted and well meaning but perhaps a bit intrusive.
What was most striking in this memoir is that Broaden never received what he had coming to him here on this earth. That is not to say that he did not get justice- I believe most justice is not here on earth but in the hands of God. At most, the father endured a minimal jail sentance, but was eventually freed because of the lack of evidence. Unbelievably there was just not enough evidence despite the fact that he constantly beat his wife almost to the point of death, murdered his own infant daughter and abused his children. Through no fault of various kind hearted concerned neighbors, social services, and law enforcement agencies, there was never enough evidence to convict the criminal and to protect the children that were abused and neglected. The "mother" figures in Frances' life, were perhaps the only sources of temporary relief and happiness but were powerless nevertheless. The father was able to continue abuse and even murder. Eventually Frances felt powerless as well and internally struggled as she remained silent despite the number of opportunities to break free. Even despite the number of opportunities presented for the wife and children to break free they were in the grip of dependancy and fear. Later on in the course of the memoir, the pattern of abuse continued after her mother eventually broke free. Frances would also see her step mother transform from a strong willed, spirited woman and eventually succumb to the hopelessness and the role of enabler that her biological mother had been. Because this is a real, unaltered story, there were loose ends in the story that were not resolved such as the whereabouts of Frances' mother as well as her stepmother, younger stepsister and half brother. This is acknowledged. As with many things in life, not every answer is found. I completed this story feeling angered at the lack of justice. I must admit I did truly wish that Francis did not go through the trouble of purchasing a grave marker for Broden's unmarked grave. I feel that the grave should have been left to remain unmarked an an appropriate symbol. I assume though, that her incredible ability to overcome is really what sets her story apart from those abused children who grow up bitter. If you are a psychology student studying psychology and abuse,this would be a good case study- it is extremely detailed offering insight to abuse from the point of view of the victim. If you are part of the general population, or a layman it might be a bit too graphic. The lack of satisfactory resolution, obscures the inspiration. Its striking to see how complascent, society in general has become. Here in this story is a little girl depicted as greateful for even a bruised apple or a clean bed to sleep in, yet how many countless greedy individuals take what they have in life for granted. I am assured without a doubt this author takes no good thing for granted. As a blogger for booksneeze I recieved this book from Thomas Nelson publishers for the purpose of writing this review.