Love is the Answer, God is the Cure – Aimee Cabo Nikolov
Love is the Answer, God is the Cure is a story of how a young girl, Aimee Nogues, from age seven until her marriage to Bobbie in 2000, suffered physical, sexual and psychological abuse from those closest to her. It is a story of immense pain, deep despair, and emotional turmoil, but how holding onto a spiritual belief can provide hope and strength.
Aimee and her older sister Michelle, are two of nine children to Lisette and Andres Nogues that have lived in the Dominican Republic and returned to Miami. Andres is a stepfather to Aimee and starts to abuse her from seven years old until at fifteen she and her elder sister, Michelle, leave their home on 23 September 1989, and call in the police and welfare to investigate child abuse. All remaining children are taken into welfare. This resulted in a criminal investigation, child welfare relocation and assessment, and a court-room trial that became a media frenzy reported not only nationally across the US but internationally. It became known as the Case from Hell, where Lisette, the mother, claimed
“I am a leading Miami neurologist and my husband is a respected pediatrician. This whole abuse of the child welfare services where they come in on the word of two malicious sisters who are rebelling against a responsibly disciplined family life and convince the welfare services that my husband and I are abusive.”
The judge found Andres guilty of child sexual abuse and then followed a 5-year battle where Andres and Lisette sought to have the original judgement revoked. The case was eventually dropped when Aimee recanted her statement in an effort to keep her family together and have the children returned to their parents. During this period Aimee became pregnant to a boyfriend Brent and returned to the family home to give her child, Danielle, a home, hoping the sexual abuse at this stage will have stopped. It didn’t!
Aimee leaves home again and falls into various relationships, drug abuse, escorting and stripping, the constant movement of places to live, and continued sexual abuse. Brent and his now wife Candy, sue for custody of Danielle and this becomes a continuous weary and costly battle over many years, as they keep filing for custody. Aimee’s daughter is the one thing in this life she can’t lose.
“I had already lost all of my original family, my home, my credibility, not to mention my innocence, and now I faced losing the only thing I had left in my life, my daughter who had become my world.”
As a reader, our emotions are taken on a twisted path of frustration, sympathy, outrage, concern, disgust and pity. As a story, the book is well structured, and giving it two time periods helps break up what risked becoming a sequence of recited diary events. The two focal points of her life, are the abused child from age seven growing up, and the woman that meets her husband and establishes a new life. The converging of the story to take forward into a new fulfilling world is very well expressed. As a personal preference, I don’t think the title works because it gives an impression of a doctrine focused book designed to deliver religious messages. It isn’t that. The religious connotations are reasonably subdued for the benefit of the book but it is clearly a source of immense strength for Aimee, so should play a crucial part in her story. She will need every ounce of spiritual, emotional and physical strength to get through the next ordeal concerning her daughter, after a brutal attack almost costs Danielle her life, and leaves her in a coma and permanently damaged.
We recognise the essential role a partner plays in our lives, when it’s wrong it’s contested and wretched, when it is right it is supportive and happy. Aimee experiences both extremes in her life and the love of her husband is immeasurable. Her life with her husband isn’t without its challenges but together they manage to get through these difficulties and establish a fulfilling life including other children, financial security and a successful business.
As shocking, as this story is – it is the author’s own story. I found it hugely inspiring and reminded that we should never give up, no matter how dark or difficult our problems get, there is always hope and a step forward.