Book reviews

Book Review: The Silent Scream

book cover: The Silent Scream by Maria Alfieri

The Silent Scream: An Anthology of Despair, Struggle, and Hope is put together by Maria Alfieri. There are 10 other contributors to the book using their full names, including myself, and other writing anonymously.

In the introduction, Maria writes:

“It is through our vulnerability that our liberation from our inauthenticity starts. Through honest conversation we break down that fourth wall, which traps us in the illusion of our shame and isolation. We are never alone in our experiences. We are not broken, merely flawed, imperfect and messy, the same as any other human being on this planet. In sharing our stories we can become active observers of our thoughts and feelings, rather than passive passengers of our unconscious behaviours.”

The Silent Scream serves as an antidote to the shame that silence breeds, offering hope in the shared experience of suffering.

The book includes photographs, art, poems, and narratives. I was expecting evocative writing, but I was surprised and impressed by the calibre of the photography. Raw emotions were shown throughout.

A multitude of sources of human suffering appear in the book, including childhood sexual abuse, abusive relationships, suicide (which I wrote about), depression, addiction, cancer, and miscarriage. There is talk of trying to recover from the past, as well as fearing the future with a chronic illness.

There was also hope and optimism, as well as talk about things that helped, like medications and meditation.

A theme of being your genuine self runs through the book. Crystle said in her piece This. Is. My. Truth.:

And today I am sharing this with you, to show you that you are not alone, that you have no reason to be ashamed and to use your rage to fuel your fire and fight your fight. To be you – unapologetically – and fuck everyone else!

It’s always interesting to see the words people use to describe their own experiences. One contributor wrote that, “If I hadn’t self-harmed, I doubt I’d have coped, and would have probably successfully committed suicide.” Another, writing as a survivor of someone lost to suicide, expresses concern about the term “committed suicide,” and spoke to the stigma that’s associated with being a suicide survivor.

It’s remarkable that a group of contributors can have lived through so much and chosen to turn away from the safety of silence and be vulnerable by share their stories and poetry and visual art.

As Maria wrote in her final message, “Like one candle lighting another, our stories spread hope.”

A Silent Scream was actually published earlier this year, but I didn’t read it until now as I’d been waiting for the Kindle edition to come out. I hadn’t seen any of the other contributors’ pieces before this, and I was very impressed. I’m not just saying that because I’m biased; this is really a great book.

The Silent Scream is available on Amazon. Profits from the sale of this book will be donated to the charity Heads On (Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust).

You can find my other book reviews here.

book cover: Managing the Depression Puzzle by Ashley L. Peterson

Managing the Depression Puzzle takes a holistic look at the different potential pieces that might fit into your unique depression puzzle. It’s available on Amazon and other online retailers, as well as the MH@H Store.

This post contains affiliate links, which let you support MH@H at no extra cost to you.

19 thoughts on “Book Review: The Silent Scream”

  1. Sounds like a great book. I love the fact that photography is a part of it and that people write all of their stories. I mean on different topics. So different and yet is seems like it all comes together beautifully.

  2. “It’s remarkable that a group of contributors can have lived through so much and chosen to turn away from the safety of silence” – That is what I find so encouraging and empowering about books like this, where it’s raw and probably very depressing in parts. I like a little optimism too but only where it’s realistic, not where they say unicorns can fly out of your arse and your depression/suicidal feelings/addiction will disappear. It sounds like this book has got the balance right, and it’s amazing you’ve been a part of making that happen! I’d like to give this one a read.xx

  3. I’ll have to check it out, I haven’t read a collection of personal accounts before aside from that old Postmates book (which wasn’t very good to be honest, lol). Being your genuine self is advice I’ve heard often and I think it’s right. It can be difficult though, especially in the depths of an addiction or depression, to know who your genuine self is. I’d be quite a bit more embarrassed than I am if my “genuine self” of 5 years ago wrote very public diatribes. Lol. Thankfully I stuck to a Facebook account that they politely banned for me.

    I don’t know why I can’t log in to WordPress on people’s websites. I’m sure it’s not your site, it’s them… because I can’t do it on any website. Get it together, WordPress. Lol

      1. Is it the self hosted version or does your site link to the app? I have both but haven’t used the self hosted one yet. Some people I know had a lot of problems with the pro version of WordPress.org

        1. I’m WordPress.com business plan. Haven’t bothered talking to the “happiness engineers” because that seems like a pain in the ass that’s unlikely to accomplish much. If it’s still a problem by tomorrow I’ll start deactivating plugins, but I’m hoping it’s just one of those weird WP quirks that pop up and then disappear.

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