Book of the Week: Novelist and abuse survivor Gary Maynard reflects on how a redefining of child abuse can nurture a healthier generation of children

As someone who used to work for an agency that hoped to prevent child abuse, I found this an interesting one to read! Although it is a fiction story, it really addresses the issue of dysfunction and child abuse within the family. It also is action-packed and a book not easy to put down once you start reading it!

How do we, as a society, define child abuse? Ask anyone who’s been abused as a child and they can surely offer their own definition. It can be a controversial, complex subject, certain to arouse all sorts of emotions by its mere mention. 

Author and survivor Gary Maynard observes that the definition of abuse has grown broader since the 1970’s, the setting of his new novel, Plumbelly. And this is a good thing, helping protect many innocent children.

Plumbelly, a work of fiction about young people who set sail from Polynesia to flee abusive parents, explores forms of child abuse that were often passively accepted as a form of discipline, even in “idyllic” settings.

In addition to overt, physical abuse, Plumbelly mines a deeper truth that is relevant today: abuse can and should be seen as any behavior from a parent that is less than nurturing.

Maynard’s main character’s mercurial and physically frightening father is an echo of his own dad. Another of the character’s traditionally loving yet oppressive (and ultimately abusive) homes will resonate with others.

Plumbelly challenges our expectations of an abuse narrative, laying bare the complex spectrum of abuse in our culture, ultimately bending towards hope and triumph.

You can find this book on

Self Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book to facilitate this post. I received many books and only feature those I recommend. 

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