A Survivor’s Life Story

By Leanne Grabel

Quiet Lion Press, 200 pages, $14.95

Survivors of sexual violence are often affected by their trauma throughout their lives. Confronting and conquering fears and challenges in the aftermath of an assault takes courage and bravery. In her book Brontosaurus: Memoir of a Sex Life, Leanne Grabel describes the events surrounding her own kidnapping and rape with honesty and inspirational insight and shares how her life and relationships have evolved because of, and in spite of, the assault that occurred 38 years ago.

Grabel’s writing style is conversational and approachable. At the start of each chapter are the author’s own illustrations depicting the theme of that section. She also includes quotes by other authors, researchers, scientists, singers and poets. Humor is also used in her work as a way to cope and as a way to diffuse tension-filled moments. It is obvious that writing the book was extremely therapeutic for her. For many readers, the author’s words will be therapeutic as well.

Women and men who survive a traumatic event will be able to identify with Grabel’s emotions and experiences. She describes the different ways people react to her distressing news, expectations she has had along the way for doctors and therapists and how being raped has affected all her future relationships. It is fascinating to note that Grabel now teaches incarcerated teenage girls, all rape survivors.

Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin