Over the past few months while I have been writing The Price Of Fabulous, I read books which had similar themes to the story I am trying to capture. The Price of Fabulous is my survival story but because I am normally trapped in my love of fantasy or dystopian fiction. I wasn’t sure how to capture my pain so I read other people who have told their stories and these people are so inspirational to me. I’m still fighting the aftermath of my struggle so seeing how they have come out of it is very comforting.
Here is the list of the books I have read and why they have been so important as I tell my story:
Tortured – Victoria Spry (with Kate Moore) – 2015
Tortured is the survival story of Victoria Spry as she was raised in the sadistic arms of Britain’s evilist mum, Eurice Spry. ‘Torrie’ was adopted by Eunrice at the age of five after being in her foster care from being less than a year old. She was tortured, beaten, starved and blamed for things that couldn’t possibly be her fault… like the deaths of her sisters in a car accident.
Eunrice put Victoria and her siblings, Alloma and Christopher, through hell for 19 years before Victoria broke her silence to send her down for her crimes – even though she only ended off staying inside for 7 years of her 14 year sentence from 2007.
“Just because you’ve made mistakes, it doesn’t make you an evil person.” – Victoria Spry
This was one of the first books I read when looking for inspiration as my story starts from the abuse I had suffered through childhood too. I had my scribbles in childhood notebooks but I wanted to capture the memories from these scribbles in a way that would have an impact on my reader. I wanted to know how to turn my childhood diary into an impactful, eye-opener. This book made me see that I needed to write from the heart and focus on how the events made me feel.
I cried a lot during reading this, mainly because I identified a lot with Victoria, how the beatings would make her feel, the guilt, the silence and more so the struggle with a series of mental health problems, leading to alcoholism.
Sickened – Julie Gregory – 2003
Sickened is the story of a young girl who was repeatedly x-rayed, missing school and getting weaker in the persuit of an illness that had been created in her mother’s mind. Munchausen by Proxy (MBP) is the world’s most hidden and dangerous form of child abuse, but Julie Gregory not only survived, she escaped the powerful orbit of her mother’s madness and rebuilt her identity as a vibrant, healthy young woman:not solely a victim of child abuse.
This book is an incredible honest roller-coaster of emotion. It was incredibly eye-openining to me and enabled me to learn about a form of child abuse that I had actually never heard of prior to reading it. It is a sick kind of “love” at the hands of the victim’s narcissistic mother and a father who covertly collaborates with the systematic abuse instigated by his wife. A very hard-hitting book to read because of the onslaught of terror and rage felt by the young Julie and of the craziness of the family system. There are a few pointers as to what drove Julie’s mother to do such a hideous thing to her own child but you probably won’t feel too sorry for her.
“Well, honey, I just can’t see my little girl go out there in a bathing suit and get laughed at. You got no tits, no hips, no ass, Sissy. You look terrible in a bathing suit. Kids are cruel, sweetie, they’ll just make fun of you.” – Julie’s Mother
Although, this book was a facinating and gripping read, the only thing that I could identify with was the survival part, that is what will help me to write the end of The Price Of Fabulous.
You Can’t Run – Mandy Thomas (with Kate Moore) – 2015
You Can’t Run is the survival story of young Mandy, entering a relationship at the age of eighteen that turned into a violent trap that she thought she would never escape. It wasn’t long after she’d met him that she was under his spell but as these relationships always do, they loose their spark and they turn dark. She never thought she would escape him but then he went to far and she knew she would have to escape to survive.
“He would say to me, ‘You can’t stop me – no one can!’ There was no let-up from his evil. I knew he would never stop so I just had to do what I could to survive.” – Mandy Thomas
I wanted to read this book to be able to know how to capture the struggle of a domestically abusive relationship (from both a victim’s and an observer’s perspective). I am good at many things, but finding the right words to capture emotions about the things that I have been through isn’t one of them. I’ve been through a lot of sh*t. I just don’t know how to talk about it.
Valley of the Dolls – Jacqueline Susann – 1966
Valley of the Dolls is the story of beautiful, young and most importantly impressionable women who are struggling at the bottom of the entertainment industry. This is their story of their journey to the top, but when they reach there, they have no where left to go, other than the valley of dolls.
It is a novel about the friendship between three women, the perils and rewards of fame, and chemical dependency. The story spans twenty years, from 1945 to 1965, and is set primarily in New York City. Anne Welles, Neely O’Hara, and Jennifer North become friends and roommates, find fame, get married and take lovers, and turn to drugs to cope with problems they encounter.
“When you’re climbing Mount Everest, nothing is easy. You just take one step at a time, never look back and always keep your eyes glued to the top.” – Jacqueline Susann
I chose to read this book because it shows young people, falling back on substance abuse when they encounter problems. It also involves chasing dreams in the entertainment industry, which resembles ‘Georgia’s’ method of survival.
Am I Normal Yet? – Holly Bourne – 2015
Am I Normal Yet? is one of the most honest books about the mind of a teenage girl I have read yet. It is the story of a girl called Evie, who only wants to be normal, after having a mental breakdown in school. She starts college and is no longer known as the-girl-who-went-nuts. Everything is going great until she realises she’s the only one who’s never been in a relationship.
Relationships probably aren’t the brightest idea for anyone with serious mental health issues as they can mess with your head. But she finds a man, and in keeping her private life… well.. private, her friends can’t stop her from making this mistake.
“Because now people use the phrase OCD to describe minor personality quirks. “Oooh, I like my pens in a line, I’m so OCD.” NO YOU’RE FUCKING NOT. “Oh my God, I was so nervous about that presentation, I literally had a panic attack.” NO YOU FUCKING DIDN’T. “I’m so hormonal today. I just feel totally bipolar.” SHUT UP, YOU IGNORANT BUMFACE.” – Holly Bourne
I chose to take inspiration from this book as it perfectly captures the mindset ‘Georgia and Kayla’ had during their teen years in the second half of The Price of Fabulous, I wanted to know how to capture the teenage-girl mindset.