FORMER Herne Hill resident Michelle Mazal has written a powerful memoir.
Mazal’s story Burning the Vines starts with her earliest childhood memories living near the Perth domestic airport.
When she is nine-years-old her family moves to the Swan Valley and from then the physical, emotional and psychological abuse and domestic violence escalated.
Her mother tried to overdose on pills and her father went into Mazal’s room, loaded a gun and then threatened to kill them in their sleep.
Another time when she and her sisters called the police they were told it was just a domestic and relatives also turned a blind eye.
The story could be just gloom and despair but a young girl passion for her horses and her resilience through the decades of fear and pain gives the memoir its power.
“Even if it’s true, no one will believe you.’’
This bleak appraisal was the response a young Michelle Mazal received when she first tried to tell her story to a relative.
She, her three sisters and her mother lived for years under the shadow of her father’s drunken violence and random sadism.
All these years later, Mazal a tough and compassionate survivor, is telling her story again – this time someone must listen.
In her powerful and evocative memoir, Mazal pieces together fragments of a life that convey both a child’s love for her father and an adult’s understanding of domestic violence.
Memories of playing with her sisters, getting her teeth pulled out and riding her much-loved horses are undercut by moments of daily normalized horror.
Mazal captures the complexities of her dysfunctional family in an honest, open-hearted and insightful way.
She knows, none better, that feelings of love, hate, security and fear nestle more closely together than we would like to acknowledge and that the people we love can sometimes be the ones who hurt us the most.