The Stranger | Matt Baume | March 10, 2022
The Stranger on Our Little Secret
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The cover of this book fully illuminates the entire experience that awaits inside: A bulky man’s shadow blocks a doorway, glowing narrow eyes in his dark silhouette, inescapable. It’s unsettling and scary, as is the true story within of the sexual abuse experienced by the author in her early teens, and the failure of Canada’s legal system to provide any measure of justice when she re-encountered her abuser. Though the author’s childhood sometimes seems idyllic — she lives in a pretty forest cabin, surrounded by animals — dread lurks over every page, with the possibility of further mistreatment by her harsh parents, another assault by the sinister neighbor, or (decades later) more bad news from her lawyers. Escape seems impossible, and yet we are left with a ripple of optimism that the cycle of torture can be broken, or at least stepped out of. Author Emily Carrington has effectively conveyed the exhausting misery caused by individual monsters and by an uncaring, sexist legal system. Readers who have no first-hand experience with such ordeals will find her account heartbreaking and illuminating; those who find it familiar will — hopefully — feel less alone.