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Nickels: a tale of dissociation (The…

Nickels: a tale of dissociation (The Reflections of America Series)

by Christine Stark

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Little Miss So-and-So experiences things she could not possibly understand. She lives in the world of her mind, imagining and defining the unspeakable acts done to her by those whose job it is to protect her, in the best way she knows how. She concocts characters, explanations, stories, plans that explain, describe, depict, color and sound out her life in ways that she as a young child can deal with, be comfortable with, find references to and interact with the world around her. It becomes confusing and convoluted, but it is her world, where she feels safe, where she protects herself and buries the pain away. Eventually it all gets uncovered and comes to surface. This story threads its way through Miss So-and-So’s depiction of life.

This book was amazing. The style in which it was written(prose poems), the language, how empowering it was, how endearing the characters were, how real and frustrating the plot was. This book will move you. It may be tough to get into at first, just because it is very different and you have to get into the flow and rhythm of it, but once you do it will be a riveting ride. This story is a powerful read that everyone over the age of 18 should read. It touches on some very important issues in modern society and it not only touches, it nourishes, it questions and it answers. It’s amazing to me how full of life and active this story is and its the characters.

Most of all, I think this story will give hope to anyone. It will piss you off because you know these kinds of things are happening, but it will also give you hope. It is not all doom and gloom, it is actually very entertaining, very beautiful and enlightening, but there’s absolutely no sugar-coating and the author did not shy away from anything or show any fear. You will swear this is a true story, but author Christine Stark (www.ChristineStark.com) admits that while some characteristics of Miss So and So are similar to her own, the character and story are fiction.

It’s difficult to get into the specifics of this book because you will WANT to and you MUST read it…but I will recommend this book 100%. This is the best book I’ve read in years, hands down. I couldn’t put it down and when it was over I was sad and wanted MORE! This book is artistic, and unique and funny and touching and it makes a difference. All I can say is buy this book especially if you care about feminism, sexual abuse, child abuse, addiction, multi-culturalism, art and creative expression, GLBTT community, poverty, mental health. If you care about people and don’t want to close your ears and eyes to the truth…if you care about healing and how much people suffer in silence, read this book!

Most importantly, if you want to be a writer, or you want to sustain yourself as a writer, you have to read good writing, and that is what this is. It is original, authentic muse-worthy creative expression. As creative people we have to be a part of the movement we want to succeed in. Recommend this book to therapists, counselors, health care workers, teachers, activists, healers, social workers, and artists. Check out other reviews of this book and others in the series at the link below:


This book is largely about sexual abuse, so it could be triggering for some. ( )
  featherstory | May 21, 2012 |
I believe I just read the most extraordinary book I have ever read!
This is definitely one that will stay fresh in my mind and i will always wonder how Little Miss So and So is doing throughout her life.
I thought this was brilliantly written, and Christine Stark has such an amazing mind, I was delighted to read and review this book!!
Dissociation is a disorder i never read much about, but as soon as I heard I would be receiving this book, I started to do research to better understand what exactly I would be reading about, and wow! I was blown away by what this little girl had to live through.
I hope to read more from this author, as I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
It was terrifying, true horror, and at the same time, a bit magical in the sense that the whole story took place in a child's mind.
I highly recommend this book! ( )
  busymommylist | May 7, 2012 |
I was excited to be chosen to review the book, Nickels: A Tale of Dissociation. I received a copy of the book to read, and found that I became engrossed in the story. I was unsure it would be the type of book I would like, as it is written in a unique style with prose poems. I soon adjusted to the writing style and followed the tale of Little Miss So And So throughout her life, from the age of four to 26. I found the story of a child who was going through so much turmoil and abuse to be heartbreaking and deeply moving. As I continued to read, I learned more about Little Miss So And So (and later just So And So) as she tried to love, overcome guilt for things she had no control over, and just survive each day. I truly was transported to inside the mind of a child and later into the mind of a young woman that was never fully given the chance to grow up, as she struggled with the fear of being crazy and the dissociation she experienced. The book is deep and even dark at times, but it is ultimately a story of a young girl growing into a woman and learning to survive and overcome her past. Truly a moving book that helps shed light on abuse, sexuality, dissociation, and strength. ( )
  Jessica_E | Apr 23, 2012 |
NICKELS: a tale of dissociation by author Christine Stark, takes us through the life of Little Miss So and So, a child living through horrendous physical & sexual abuse at the hands of her father. While her mother, the one parent most are able to count on, turns the other cheek with full knowledge of what her husband is doing to their child.

NICKELS also guides us through Little Miss So and So's development and discovery of her sexuality & the homophobia that comes along with it. We see what Little Miss So and So needs to do, to cope with the life she's been born into.

Friendships that never have a chance to develop, for fear of discovery of Little Miss So and So's home life.

The lack of trust that has been stolen from her because of the dysfunctional relationship between Little Miss So and So and her parents.

The one person who has loved Little Miss So and So, unconditionally, but from afar, is her Aboriginal grandmother. Whom I suspect knows something is not right, but is waiting for her granddaughter to tell her what is wrong. One of my favourite lines that always ends their phone conversations is, "You are the cream in my coffee too granddaughter." One of the few soft spots in the book.

This is the first time that I've read a novel in the form of several prose poems. It took me until Age 10 (the novel follows main character, Little Miss So and So by age) before I could get into a regular, reading rhythm. Until Age 10 it took me 3 times as long as it normally would, to finish a page. Eventually I found myself able to visually add the punctuation where they "normally" would be in a traditionally written novel. Therefore making it easier on myself to follow the flow of the book.

This work of fiction allows the readers to get a glimpse of the ramifications of what can and does occur to people who are sexually abused.

Mental health issues that are more common then not. In the case of Little Miss So and So, dissociation.

The lifelong issues with trust. Even with the therapy there is often a war with one's self, to not fall back into feelings of worthlessness, or not being good enough.

Establishing relationships as an adult are often something that is continually worked on, throughout life.

Not falling into different kinds of abusive relationships because that is what the abused is use to and or feels that this is all that they are worth.

I didn't find NICKELS: A Tale of Dissociation overly disturbing because I know that this is a very unfortunate, but very real part of every society around the world. An issue that we as a society should not be afraid to address. For those who are sensitive to the subject of sexual abuse/homophobia this novel may be hard to get through, but it's well worth it in the end. Christine Stark has a writing style that will make you feel as though you embody the spirit of her characters. For me, I was able to anticipate Little Miss So and So's thoughts and actions towards the end of novel. Not in a predictable way, because the writing has been done before, but because at times I felt that I was Little Miss So and So. Before I started to read this book, I knew what the subject matter was, so I didn't let the turmoil of the character follow me into my life, when I put the book down. ( )
  NadiaDW | Apr 20, 2012 |
Nickels is a one of a kind story. It pulls one in from the start because it shows us a little girl grow up before our eyes and experience what we can only imagine of the worst. As the table of contents shows, it allows us to follow her from age 4 through 26. The author writes in fragments, or thoughts, in a first person point of view. The tone of Nickels is strong and clear, beginning on the very first page. As the reader we travel through the horrible experience of Little Miss So and So from school to home, to friendship, to love, to anger, and finally survival healing. After reading the very first chapter you become engrossed in the story, no matter how horrible it seems, because events like this are real, sadly. Unfortunately, as a teacher I ran across events such as this. They were each heartbreaking and made me become quite cold hearted towards parents, like Little Miss So and So's mother, who chose to ignore events such as the ones that develop in the book. With the resilience of a bumblebee, the main character comes to terms with what has happened in her life and decides to help herself and leave her nickled life behind.
  tristaz | Apr 4, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 161599050X, Paperback)

"...a perfect genius that makes the impossible in expression, possible; the unknowable in experience, knowable"
--Anya Achtenberg, author of The Stories of Devil-Girl

Nickels follows a biracial girl named "Little Miss So and So", from age 4-1/2 into adulthood. Told in a series of prose poems, Nickels' lyrical and inventive language conveys the dissociative states born of a world formed by persistent and brutal incest and homophobia. The dissociative states enable the child's survival and, ultimately, the adult's healing. The story is both heartbreaking and triumphant. Nickels is the groundbreaking debut of Minneapolis-area author and artist Christine Stark.

"Christine Stark has crafted a language and a diction commensurate with the shredding of consciousness that is a consequence of childhood sexual abuse. She brings us a wholly original voice in a riveting novel of desperation and love. Every sentence vibrates with a terrible beauty. Every sentence brings the news."
--Patricia Weaver Francisco, author of Telling: A Memoir of Rape and Recovery

"To be taken into the mind of a child can be an enchanting adventure, but to be taken into the mind of a child who is abused, confused, and taken for granted is a lingering, livid journey. I applaud her fortitude to bring an olden--too long ignored-- truth out of the darkness with blazing, innovative light."
--MariJo Moore, author of The Diamond Doorknob

"In Nickels, Christine Stark, powerfully portrays the story of abuse and its impact on our lives. When this beautifully written and compelling story leaves, you are left wanting more. It's riveting; a book that will capture you from the beginning and carry you through the end. Everyone should read this book."
--Olga Trujillo, author of The Sum of My Parts

From the Reflections of America Series at Modern History Press www.ModernHistoryPress.com

Learn more at www.ChristineStark.com

FIC044000 Fiction : Contemporary Women
FIC018000 Fiction : Lesbian
SOC010000 Social Science : Feminism & Feminist Theory

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:30 -0400)

"... a perfect genius that makes the impossible in expression, possible; the unknowable in experience, knowable" --Anya Achtenberg, author of The Stories of Devil-Girl Nickels follows a biracial girl named "Little Miss So and So", from age 4-1/2 into adulthood. Told in a series of prose poems, Nickels' lyrical and inventive language conveys the dissociative states born of a world formed by persistent and brutal incest and homophobia. The dissociative states enable the child's survival and, ultimately, the adult's healing. The story is both heartbreaking and triumphant. Nickels is the groundbreaking debut of Minneapolis-area author and artist Christine Stark.… (more)

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Modern History Press

3 editions of this book were published by Modern History Press.

Editions: 161599050X, 1615990852, 1615999779

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