Book Review “What Nobody Knew” by Amelia Hendrey

A Must Read that will break your heart, but might help you save a life.

(SPOILER ALERT- This review contains spoilers. If you don’t want to read on, know this: I think you should buy and read this book. It might be one of the saddest stories I have ever read, but it is written in such a powerful way, it was impossible to put down until I was finished. It is just possible, you too, will be changed forever.) 

I just finished reading this book, and my heart still physically aches for the little girl whose life I just read about – the author. I started reading this biographical account of Amelia’s life this afternoon, and literally couldn’t stop reading. It is at once, sickening and horrifying. Not only because of the extreme abuse, both physical, emotional, mental and sexual abuse she endured, but because these events were able to occur repeatedly for YEARS while this poor child went to school and was seen by how many people in the community. She was hospitalized over and over again with severe injuries, discussed by countless different social workers, doctors etc, and yet not one of these people acted to save her, until after the ultimate betrayal and sexual abuse by her father, she reached out and with the help of her school friend, action was finally taken. It is a terrible reflection of our so-called civilized society that in the 1990’s, this little girl was not protected and rescued. I wanted to reach into the pages of the book and take that little three-year-old girl right out of those pages and bring her home to be one of my babies – to grow up knowing she was loved and cherished. I will admit I have never been able to understand how any mother could abandon their child especially knowing what they were leaving them to face. I’m not judging – just saying I will never comprehend how a mother is able to walk away from her child. 
This book is more than just an accounting of one young woman’s abusive and traumatic (understatement) childhood. It is a tribute to her strength of character and her spirit – not only did she survive, but she was able to form a relationship with a good man, become a wife, and a mother. I am so beyond impressed that Amelia has shared this account of her childhood. I hope it helped her heal, to write it all down, and get it out in the open. Secrets and pain only fester when they are kept in the dark. I believe in sharing her story, she is making a difference in a great way – to help other children. One has to think, after reading this book. Is this still happening to a child I know even today? Sadly, it is. We hear the stories on the news all the time about another child being “rescued” from some unimaginable and horrific existence. Perhaps Amelia’s book will cause someone to think twice before not acting on behalf of a child. At my work, the catch phrase is “If you see something, say something.” Be an advocate today for a child who cannot advocate for themselves.

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