Love is the Answer, God is the Cure – Aimee Cabo Nikolov
I found this book so compelling, that once I had started I couldn’t put the book down until I had read the last sentence.
The life and experiences of Aimee, portrayed in the book, seem to be a continuum of troughs with very few peaks except towards the end of the book and even then, you are left with the feeling that this peace is fraught with a fragility that could come crashing down. It was a raw and deeply open account which filled me with a conflict of emotions ranging from horror, anger, disgust, sorrow and pity, and the betrayal experienced from the adults whose responsibility was to care for her.
I was at times, filled with frustration at the choices Aimee made, which just seemed to constantly bring her back into abusive situations. From her history, you would think why would you do that? Although, unless you’ve walked in those footsteps and experienced the early abuse, how can you really know what choices you would make, and how would you react or behave?
It brings in a question of nature versus nurture in the sense that it is the nurturing that we receive as children that help enforce and define huge parts of who and what we are as adults, where nature provides the attributes we are born with that give us the mental strength to cope with life. Growing up Aimee was deprived of maternal affection, with the constant threat of violence if she was seen to have stepped out of line, abused by a stepfather, other men, branded a liar, and failed by the systems and institutions in society which should have supported and protected her. It’s no surprise this would nurture self-loathing and little to no self-esteem or worth. However, her nature gave her the tools to fight against the overpowering and at times insurmountable odds.
It is obvious that the events scarred her for life and battles to remain afloat and not get swamped with remembering and reliving her ordeals. Yet she can compartmentalize it within the spheres of the mind and continue to live because she still has a life to live and a future to carve with her own family. A family life that would be so different from her upbringing and the abuse she endured.
I am amazed and delighted how strong she has been to fight addiction and the dark depths depression can take you. At this point, she has outlined very affectionately that this is only possible by the perseverance, unconditional and non-judgemental love given by her husband Bobbie, her immediate family and God.
Although I appreciate the great faith she has and how this has guided her through all the traumatic situations. As a reader, I feel the constant reference to prayers interfered with the flow of the story and were a distraction to the point I just ignored them. However, I do accept that this is a memoir and it was her faith and the prayers that were her mantra and her source of strength.