Book of the Day 2/8/23

Breaking Free: When My Hero Turned Into My Abuser by Paul Jones

(Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoir)

Breaking Free tells a remarkable story that is both haunting and inspirational. It chronicles the author’s struggle through both sexual and mental harassment, how it changed him, and how it led to his growth as an adult.

The author, Paul Jones, decided to face his horrifying past at age 52. Through his work and this book, he seeks to provide guidance and support to others in similar situations – especially African American boys dealing with circumstances of abuse and trauma.

Growing up in harsh poverty, Paul found refuge with a successful businessman who took him in. The man became Paul’s father figure, and allowed him to live with his wife and children. It was a welcome escape from his life of hardship and deprivation. However, Paul eventually learned that poverty would be far less dangerous than his new life.

Within a few years, Paul became trapped by the man’s domineering personality and his aspiration to transform him into a sexual partner. Paul always fought to reject the man’s approaches, but was conflicted by his respect for someone who had achieved so much, given him so many opportunities, and made him a surrogate son and big brother. Throughout the poignant memoir, Paul raises issues facing the mentally ill and drug addicted men who act in these ways. At heart, it recounts a decades-long battle to maintain dignity, overcome denial, and learn positive lessons from an intense connection to a talented, troubled man.

This memoir is not for the faint of heart, but if you’re willing to immerse yourself into the darkness, you’ll find that it is a breathtaking account of courage and strength. The book shares insight into what it takes to not only survive trauma – but live a functional, happy life after experiencing it. For those who are facing their own demons, seemingly insurmountable obstacles, and profound burdens, this book is an uplifting reminder that we can persevere through the coldest, darkest moments. We are strong enough to face trauma and fear. Even when it seems like all hope is lost and life has us trapped in a dungeon, we can find our way out. That’s what I learned from this book. I hope that you can find similar value in its honesty, vulnerability, and courage.

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