Beads: A Memoir about Falling Apart and Putting Yourself Back Together Again
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About the Author
"Brooks debuts with a memoir of her struggle to recover from a traumatic assault.
On June 28, 2008, the 22-year-old author was living in Alexandria, Virginia, with her then-boyfriend and working at a prestigious accounting firm in Washington, D.C. That night, her boyfriend was out with friends, so she contacted a cousin who lived in Washington. After a night out, Brooks planned to spend the night at her cousin's apartment until her boyfriend called and asked her to come home. Her cousin called a cab, and Brooks waited at the curb until a dark SUV pulled up; thinking it was her ride, she got in. Soon afterward, on the side of a deserted highway, the driver raped her, and he later dropped her off near her home. Brooks ran down her block screaming before her boyfriend and his friend met up with her. The police arrived and sent her to the local precinct, where she underwent hours of hostile questioning by detectives who dismissed her with an assurance that "this will all blow over and be fine. Best of luck." On her own initiative, she went to the hospital to have a rape-kit examination performed, but the kit wasn't processed for 18 months. In engaging, emotional prose that's peppered with well-placed expletives, Brooks tells the infuriating story of her four-year quest to obtain some justice from the legal system and of her difficult journey to find peace within herself: "My life felt like scattered beads all over the floor from a broken clasp on a necklace," she writes early on. With unvarnished honesty, she details her attempts to get her life back together; along the way, she struggled with alcohol abuse that led to blackouts and rages. She effectively tells of how broken she felt but also reveals her fierce determination to find normalcy and how her loved ones provided her with unflagging support.
An eloquent and unsettling story of recovery that features solid advice and encouragement for other trauma victims."
"In her memoir, Beads, Rachael Brooks invites you to accompany her on a hero's journey she never asked for. A young woman filled with career and relationship possibilities, she is brutally raped on the edges of Washington, DC, one summer night and for the next four years must figure out her new normal. While navigating horrific obstacles, she is also bolstered by love, trust, and acts of grace. You won't easily forget Brooks's haunting images and sharp humor, which shapes this honest look of how trauma can bend, but not break, a human being. Perfectly paced and full of suspense, Beads grips you from the beginning and won't let you go."
-- Alice Osborn, Author of Heroes without Capes
"It's seldom one has the opportunity to read a book with painfully raw details written with such candor and vulnerability. Yet Rachael Brooks writes her memoir, Beads, in a way that makes this terrible trauma accessible, meaningful, and memorable. We hear and watch news accounts of #MeToo stories. But Brooks' book ensures you deeply feel what it's like to be a victim of sexual assault. There is much to learn from her story. I highly recommend this book. It will stay within you as a stark reminder of the reality of these events, frustrating aftermath, and the bravery and perseverance involved in 'putting yourself back together again.'"
-- Dee Stribling, Writer & Poet; Hillsborough, NC's 2018-2020 Poet Laureate