Book Review: No Fourth River by Christine Clayfield

I love to hear people’s’ stories. I like to know where they came from and who they are. These stories don’t necessarily have to be told face to face, hence I love a good non-fiction/biography/autobiography. Out of all the stories I am told, there are some which just blow me away. Like that of Christine Clayfield.

No Fourth River by Christine Clayfield is a deeply shocking portrayal of electroshock therapy, child abuse and modern-day slavery. From very early on in life, Christine is tortured by her father, a wealthy, tyrannical man renowned in the diamond business. This abuse continues with the awful nuns and classmates she endures when she is shipped off to boarding school aged 5. This horror culminates into a falling out between father and child that was never fully mended, a world of promiscuity and alcohol, and a violent marriage. Driven to the limits of despair and heartache, she creates a plan to escape her world of misery. Will her plan work?

This is an amazing story of courage and survival told in a brutally honest manner. The fact that Clayfield allows herself to be so honest makes this a truly powerful book, one that will provide escape for those who are feeling trapped. This book is more factual than emotional and I want to say two things about that here. One is that sometimes the information provided was unnecessary. For instance, there is a small part which gives a breakdown of how Belgium is in three parts. This is not something that happens throughout the entire book and I can see it is because Clayfield is a stickler for detail, or painting the entire picture of her life. The second thing is that this is a hard story to read. Absolutely nothing is sugar-coated and the level of abuse present is shocking. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to write this book and I applaud the author for being brave enough to put it all out there in the hope of helping others.

Clayfield’s story is spilt into the present (50s at the hospital with her ailing mother) and the past, all the way up from age 5. This format really shows the contrast between her life now and then. Also, the chapters each start with a little quote. I love quotes so this was a nice touch for me. There was just one part of No Fourth River that didn’t sit well with me. When Clayfield’s husband Richard comes on the scene, the book takes a leap upwards and the mood going from very dark to what felt overly cheery. I can’t decide if this is because everything else after the abuse must have felt like heaven or their was a conscious decision to make a strong contracts between the two periods in her life. Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy that things completely turned around in the author’s life, it is just that things read to be too perfect and sometimes had an air of being false.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Clayfield showed that there is  light at the end of the tunnel and that dreams can be achieved through hard work and dedication. Thank you for baring your soul to help others!

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

No Fourth River


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