The memoir Life Behind the Masks is a tightly crafted, well-written account of a little-known phenomenon—the sexual abuse of a daughter by a biological mother. To take readers beyond the taboo, this book’s chapters also contain clinical observations, notes, and commentary by professionals. These notes place the author’s experiences into an unemotional framework to remind readers that her experiences were legitimate and able to be assessed objectively.
Mother-daughter sexual abuse does happen. It follows certain patterns. And, like the author, I am familiar with those dynamics.
Reading this book allowed me to place my experience in the bell curve of human experience, and that my story, although I am an outlier, was not an isolated phenomenon. It is only a small comfort to know other human beings have experienced the horror and have met with the process of healing.
Unlike many memoirs, this book was written with clarity. It is succinct, well-organized, and edited with care. The main ideas stand out in truth. What do I think were the main ideas? The innocence of children, including their inherent sense of modesty, their resilience, and their willingness to search for, and maintain, their will to survive. In the purity and dignity of a child, the value of human life is found. A child may be subjected to abnormal experiences and tremendous trauma, but it does not mean that their life is ruined or that they become incapable of moving forward to do great things for themselves and others. This book is an important piece of empirical evidence in the slowly growing body of literature on mothers who sexually abuse their daughters. The message is about how daughters can overcome grievous, heinous experiences to go on to be whole, healthy women…and even become mothers who stop the cycle of abuse. In my quest to be whole, I read Mrs. MacLiver’s smartly written book in one sitting and reached out to her the next day. Wilma was accessible, friendly, and so helpful. Wilma shared a wealth of resources and the next steps for my healing journey. The author is open to the public, timely with responses and follow-up, and most of all, a partner to your healing! Thank you, Wilma!”
~ Amazon Reader