Well, Fear of Our Father has been out for a month now, and the book sales have been exciting to see. We’ve been on various best sellers lists on Amazon, in various genres, and as I write this today we’re hovering at the higher end of the Top #100 Best Sellers overall.This is gratifying because when the title was first changed and we were niched as a “true crime” novel I was saddened. I was certain that the purpose, the message we were trying to convey, would be lost. Well, I couldn’t be further from wrong–at least at this stage in the game.
So far we’ve had rave reviews. But as touching as they have been, I am saddened by the fact that many reviews state that my father deserved to die. Even though my father was a horribly abusive man, I have trouble feeling that anyone should be murdered. It’s one thing to wish someone dead, but it’s another to actually do it. Maybe I wouldn’t feel this way if it wasn’t my father, and I was hearing of someone else’s family being treated as badly as we were.
I am grateful that most people haven’t said anything negative about my brother or my other family members in these reviews. I thank those who have written these reviews for being gentle with a subject matter that is difficult. One review challenges people to read the book if they want to see what can happen in families and what abuse can do to people. Even though I am paraphrasing this person, I am proud that they see the purpose is to open people’s eyes.
I read the book from cover to cover in one day after I received my copy. It was much easier to read this way than to read the manuscript on computer. I will honestly say that there are still parts that hurt so much. It is weird that living the abuse didn’t seem to hurt as much as reading about the abuse. I wish that I could understand why. Maybe that is a topic for upcoming therapy.
I have spoken to some people who can’t bring themselves to order the book. It is too close to home for them. I honor that and can understand those feelings. I hope for those people that they find a peace with their past.
For my sister and her children, if you do read Fear of Our Father, I hope it opens your eyes to many truths. For my mom and grandfather, I hope that you are looking down and realizing that these family secrets are being shared to try to help others living as we did. For my brother, this book was done with respect to you, to the abuse you withstood, and to the respect you deserve for being our protector who succumbed to mental illness.
To Susan and Lisa, thank you for traveling on this journey with me. I know it was hard and long, but I feel it was worth it. If this book helps one person, then I have accomplished part of my goal. To my therapist Jessica, thanks for always walking the good and bad roads with me. For helping me see that my story could help others.
I encourage everyone to read this book and to, hopefully, understand just how damaging abuse can be to a family.
Stacey M. Kananen
Advocate, Author, Abuse survivor
Co-founder of Spectrum of Light Transformation Center (formerly called Amnesty From Abuse)
Stacey Kananen’s father violently and sexually abused his entire family. He vanished in 1988 and 15 years later his wife went missing. Stacey’s brother had killed both parents. Stacey cooperated as a witness until he told police that she helped him with the crimes. She was arrested and her trial, which aired on CNN’s In Session, ended with a not guilty verdict after her attorney proved that she had been railroaded.
Now that her personal life is no longer private, Stacey is using her story to make waves. She and co-author Lisa Bonnice have written her life story, Fear of Our Father, to be published by Berkley Books in June 2013. They created the Spectrum of Light Transformation Center program to address the dynamic that stops families from asking for help: fear, shame and hopelessness. She states, “Most people feel that abusers should be punished and I agree, if they are as abusive as my father was. However, some people don’t want to abuse others but that is all they know. For them to have a nonjudgmental opportunity to heal and change, I feel, is tantamount to ending the cycle of abuse.”
Fear of Our Father – Berkley Books, 2013
Emmy nominated BBC Documentary: America’s Child Death Shame
Investigation Discovery series Catch My Killer — episode title “The Dearly Departed”
Tampa Bay Times article: Hudson woman finds new life after years of abuse, allegations of murder