Non-Fiction

Kiss Daddy Goodnight: Ten Years Later

Written by: Louise Armstrong

Published By: Pocket Books
 

Reviewed by Melissa Minners
 

            I own a lot of books.  Thereís no denying it.  How else could I explain having a book on my bookshelves for over 20 years that I have never read?  I had purchased Kiss Daddy Goodnight: Ten Years Later for a Psych 101 class I took in high school two decades ago.  For some reason, I never read the book and so it sat on the shelves collecting dust until I noticed it last week.  I decided it wasnít very fair to the book to ignore it as if it didnít exist, so I picked it up and started reading. 

            Kiss Daddy Goodnight was a book that seriously delves into the issues of incest.  The author of the book was a victim of father/daughter incest and the novel is mostly centered around that form of incest, although there are instances of father/son and brother/sister.  In creating this book, Louise Armstrong sought out other victims who were willing to tell their stories.  The purpose of the book was to create an awareness of the issue and to hopefully prevent this sort of thing from happening as often as it was.

            Kiss Daddy Goodnight: Ten Years Later revisits these stories and updates the reader on what has taken place since the original book.  How have laws changed?  What is the approach toward victims of incest?  What is the approach toward those who commit acts of incest?  It is immediately apparent in the beginning of this book that Louise Armstrong is unhappy with the results.  She cites mothers who are made to feel responsible for father/daughter incest, victims who are made to feel as though they were the seductresses despite the age the incest occurred.  Armstrong points out that even when mothers have tried to stop what is happening to their children, they are often seen as the bad guys.

            Boy, am I glad I didnít read this book in high school.  This is some heavy subject matter and Iím not so sure I could have handled reading it back then.  Despite my maturity, I still had to put the book down in disgust quite a few times, unable to fathom how anyone could commit such acts against their own children.  The worst offenders to me were the ones who began their attacks on their children when said children were merely four or five years old.  What pleasure could you possibly get from molesting someone who is barely old enough to go to school?  And to label these children as seductive is beyond me!  How do you become seductive at the age of four?

            Of course, some things have changed since the book was written.  The awareness of this issue has definitely grown, and I would like to believe that the attitude towards the victims and the perpetrators have changed.  And yet, Iím not so certain.  However, I do agree with Louise Armstrongís principle reason for writing this book Ė to raise awareness to the issue of incest.  Many people in this world wish to turn a blind eye to the fact that this stuff even occurs in our society, but that is the wrong way to go.  People have to learn about it Ė the signs, the impact on the victims, the triggers for the perpetrators, the innocence of the victims, etc.  It is only through knowledge that we can ever hope to stop these terrible things from occurring.

            Obviously, Kiss Daddy Goodnight: Ten Years Later is not a book for the faint of heart.  This book contains some very graphic references when describing acts of incest, so if you are unable to read such things, youíll need to skip this one.  Louise Armstrong tries to interject some minor humor here and there with tongue-in-cheek expressions in an effort to break up the horrific lessons learned in this book, but most of the writing is dramatic and quite shocking in nature.  And yet, this is a book that is a must for anyone who is a victim of incest, for anyone in the field of mental health, for anyone who may come in contact with someone who has been victimized.  This is an issue that wonít go away and cannot be ignored.

 


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