Addicted to Hate
Reviewed By: Susan Keefe
Susan Keefe reviews novels, poetry and non-fiction books for TheColumbiaReview.com
Award-winning author, Lucia Mann was born in South Africa, and is a citizen of Britain and Canada. She was educated in London, retired from freelance journalism in 1998, and is the author of four other novels. She has herself been a victim of racial prejudice, she is a humanitarian, an anti-human trafficking activist, and her mission is to end prejudice and slavery now and in the future. She is the founder of The Modern Day Slavery Reporting Center at www.mdsrc.org.
From the moment you start reading this powerful chronicle of the life of Madeline Clarke, you are transported into her world, one which, from as a very young girl, is full of helplessness, betrayal, terror, bewilderment and fear. However, through the whole of this often heartrending story, there lies underneath a powerful person, one who has incredible inner strength and who, against all odds, manages somehow to pick herself up and carry on, even when the world and her own family turn against her.
The very fact that, although fictional, this story is based on facts makes it even more horrifying, especially that a young girl of mixed parenthood is abandoned in a South African Convent and then, whilst there, is subjected at the tender age of nine to a tubectomy. If this is not bad enough, not many years after, because of racism, she is kicked out of her country of birth and found herself living on the streets of Milan.
Salvation seemingly appears one day in the shape of Englishman David Blakely. Caring and kind, he seems like the answer to her prayers, until his true character is revealed and she finds herself living in his mother’s house as nothing better than a unpaid servant. However, the real character of this manipulative and controlling man is horrifyingly revealed when she suffers the first of her miscarriages and discovers that her childhood operation had been botched; his cruel uncaring nature is revealed, and she is mentally and physically abused.
Very early on we discover that Maddie has a ‘mind camera and video recorder’ to remember incidents, and that she has recurring dreams about the young Jewish exile girl Lela, and her love Hassam an Muslim Arab. However, it is not until the very end of the story that their relevance is truly revealed.
As the years go by, we follow Maddie’s traumatic life and are horrified by the things she has to cope with alone. After the birth of her first daughter Joanne, she leave David and has several serious relationships where she trusts completely that the person will be ‘the one,’ and is then hurt repeatedly. Her heartbreak is palpable when she miscarries, and I think it is truly amazing that she had the resilience and strength to carry on. Yet, she does find some true friends and people who care about her, and this she deserves. Her life takes a turn for the better when it is discovered that she has genius IQ and she is recruited by Security Service, Section 5, the antiterrorist squad. This new job requires her to change her name, and taking her daughter Mary-Jean with her, she is hired out and relocated to a U.S. nuclear submarine base known as Site ONE, Holy Loch.
Every parent knows that the teenage years can be difficult, and girls can be spiteful, but the sheer torture Mary-Jean and the mentally unstable third daughter Mara put Maddie through is horrendous! That Maddie can forgive them countless times for the rest of her life for the physical and mental harm they do to her and the lies they tell her is incredible in my opinion, but forgive them she does.
As a fly on the wall, traveling through this rollercoaster of a life with Maddie, what shines through is the incredible fortitude she has, and it is truly fantastic that, following a visit to a ninety-year old spiritual man, Haida Gwaii of British Columbia, in 2018 she finally reclaims her life and finds the strength to make the needed changes to her life.
In Summary: This is the incredible story about the life of an amazing woman who, against all odds, ‘survives’ terrible things and, happily, despite everything, eventually finds peace and love. Highly recommended. –Susan Keefe, TheColumbiaReview.com