"A Captivating, Controversial, and Compelling read!" ~ Candi Silk
The author, Taylor Evan Fulks, is direct and honest about My Prison Without Bars. In the front matter of her book she clearly tells the reader what her story is about and the style and manner in which she wrote it. She clearly states her story-telling intentions, and gives warning to potential readers that her story is about child sexual abuse, and she would pull no punches in delivering her message of what happened to the protagonist, Taylor Smith, a little three year-old girl.
After I’d read the preview pages offered by Amazon, I knew Fulks had more than ample ability to pull my interest from page to page, and she continued to do so for the next 434 pages. The content is not pleasant, but the author, with her flowing writing style, glides the reader page by page, like a river guide taking you on a wild rafting ride, as she navigates through deadly events. You’ll arrive safely, but your inner person will be rattled in a memorable way.
But you must read this riveting dark story, before you can appreciate the light at the end. If you never experienced what it was like being on a cheer-leading team, now’s your chance. When you read My Prison Without Bars, you’ll find yourself cheering for little 3-year-old Taylor Smith. And before the book ends, you’ll discover something very powerful about the human spirit.
While most typical 3-year-old girls were surrounded by the comforts of cookies and cuddly things, Taylor’s fragile body and spirit was cornered, coerced, conspired against, and cramped into a crucible containing a chaotic blend of mental, physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. Family dysfunction at its worst. Yes, a very real “prison without bars.” And no one offered her a key or a “get out of jail FREE card.” People around her looked right through her; Taylor was a non-person to them, good only for using and abusing.
What makes My Prison Without Bars such an outstanding story is the mismatch between the selfish greed and bullying thrust upon Taylor, and that innocent spark of self-worth hiding within her tiny human spirit. Evil and bad stuff are never a match. Resilience prevails.
If I were an administrator or teaching today at a college or university, My Prison Without Bars would be required reading, campus-wide. Remember, there are worthy books in addition to just the classics of old. Throughout Fulk’s book, she raises critical questions of who, what, where, how, when, and why that would stir enriching debate within every academic discipline or venue.
Why would I require MPWB for all disciplines? Because abuse, and bullying are systemic; it occurs in every setting: the privacy of homes, the neighborhood, the school, the workplace, the recreation place, and yes, even “houses of religion.” Denying it doesn’t make it go away. If we deny it, we are aiding and abetting the abuse.
Even during the darkest pages, as I continued to follow the traumatic journey of more than nine years of living Hell, Taylor Smith offered tidbits of humor to offset her pain and misery. As Taylor entered her school years, individuals and institutions continued to fail her. Each time she thought she’d found a friendship that would welcome her into normalcy, deception claimed the moment, and her struggle continued.
As a reader your emotions are going to be put through the wringer until you discover, along with Taylor, the power of self-worth. There’s no way to capture that in a summary sentence. You’ll have to experience it along with Taylor. Self-worth is always present but the challenge is to claim it, and that can be difficult when facing gigantic odds. But once claimed, there was no stopping Taylor Smith or Taylor Fulks.
So where are they today? I’m not exactly sure geographically, but I just know they are well above any “glass ceiling” in the area. Taylor Smith, the heroine, and Taylor Fulks, the author are real break-through women to be highly regarded and appreciated for claiming what was theirs all along, their self-worth. Oh, yes, they’ve got the bruises and dents to prove it, but those beautiful bashes and scrapes make them priceless, a real treasure of winning resilience.
Congratulations, Taylor Evan Fulks, for a riveting, inspiring, and enlightening book. I never imagined a little 3-year-old would become one of my super heroines, but then again, Jesus of long ago did indicate the value of little children. It’s sad that some modern-day humans haven’t caught up to that valuable truth.
Not many would open themselves to vulnerability by publishing such a sensitive topic as child sexual abuse. Only a seasoned, break-through woman who is intimately familiar with the true meaning of vulnerable would do such a daring, heroic thing. More admiration for you and your Five-Star novel, Ms. Fulks.
You’re a Five-Star Author! My Prison Without Bars is a well-written captivating, memorable read, and an example of someone willing to reach out to the helpless, hopeless, and vulnerable. There’s always space on my reading shelf for your books, Ms. Fulks!
Five Stars and more for you telling little Taylor’s story of trauma and triumph!