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Chloe’s Tree of Life: A Safe Place by Shante Jackson
Everyone in Bridgeton, New Jersey envied the Robinson Family. They had everything, the biggest house on the block with the magazine-worthy backyard, along with the nice clothes and the nice cars. One parent owned his own construction company and the other was a nurse practitioner. What was there to complain about, right? Wrong. Chloe lived in that big house but it wasn’t what everyone assumed. Chloe was living in hell. It was hard putting up a front to the outside world especially to her four besties: Rachel, Stephanie, Jackie, and Tiffany.
Keeping her family secrets was taking a toll on Chloe. Finally, she broke down and told her friends what she was enduring in her “perfect” house. With the help of her best friends, Chloe finally has the support she desired for so long to get through the roughest years of her life. With the support of her friends, Chloe hopes to finally be able to enjoy her life and not have her family trauma prevent her from moving forward.
In this intense story that is based on true events; brace yourself for a book that hits home with too many teenage girls. A story about a girl that is trying to find herself after being torn, a girl that is trying to find out what love truly is and what it feels like even when all the odds are against her.
Chloe’s Tree of Life: A Safe Place by Shante Jackson is a poignant, unfiltered literary realism fiction work that follows the life of a survivor of sexual abuse and domestic violence.
A large, beautiful home, a doting mother, a wealthy family, fun and supportive friends, and everything money can buy; this is Chloe’s life on the outside. On the inside, she is grappling with feelings of dejection resulting from years of sexual, emotional, and physical trauma. What her friends and neighbors do not know is that her seemingly perfect family is hiding fatal secrets. Her mother is a victim of domestic violence and Chloe puts up a front every day to conceal her pain from sexual assault inflicted on her by her brother.
The work lays bare the heart-breaking and crippling impact of child sexual abuse. It includes horrific scenes that show the brutality of rape and the effect on the victim. It also contains significant lessons on the behavioral and emotional indicators of sexual violence. In the book, the first sexual offender is the victim’s brother. For fear of his retaliation and to protect her mother from the pain she is enduring, Chloe conceals her emotions for years. Her friends and parents are oblivious to what she is going through until she opens up to her closest friends. The story also tackles the crushing effects of domestic violence. Chloe’s family lives in fear of her violent father who inflicts mental, emotional and physical torture on his wife and children. The effects of her traumatic childhood are seen throughout her coming-of-age and adult years. As a young adult, Chloe is sexually assaulted multiple times which later impacts her choices. The book’s language is easy, direct, suspenseful and thrilling. The story is also told through Chloe’s voice. She expresses her unspoken deep feelings, her pain and hurts and how the impact of the abuse and violence has intruded on her thoughts, constantly stabbing at her mind, tormenting and reminding her of each experience and what she goes through.
Chloe’s Tree of Life: A Safe Place by Shante Jackson is a well-written, heart-wrenching work with the truth and realities of sexual abuse and domestic violence. I recommend this book to all. It is a startling, engaging must read story. Book reviewed by Edith Emunah for Artisan Book Reviews.