A daughter’s story of how her father brought the Vietnam war home
By Ruth Clare
Published by Penguin Random House Australia
RRP $32.99 in paperback
This book has been widely reviewed. Author Ruth Clare spoke about her experiences with Richard Fidler on his ‘Conversations’ program back in March. You can listen to the interview here. There is no doubt that Ruth’s experience of domestic violence growing up is a sobering read. Guest blogger Kylie Leonard has written about this book which really shines a grim light on the impact on families of PTSD.
In 2016 the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder are still being uncovered. In 1974 when Ruth Clare was born it had not even been recognised.
The Vietnam War left Clare’s father a deeply troubled, emotionally distant and violent man. The effect of his war experiences would echo down through three generations. In this beautifully written but often emotionally disturbing memoir Ruth Clare explores her abusive childhood, troubled adolescence and new motherhood.
After her young son, as many young children do, started hitting her she feared that he had inherited a propensity for violence from his grandfather. Through the help of a compassionate therapist, the love of her husband and support from the Vietnam Veterans’ Association and Vietnam Veterans’ Counselling Service Clare comes to understand her father’s PTSD as a disease caused by his war experiences and not a genetic ‘defect’.
Remarkably, she is able to reconcile her love for a man who would never be able to return it with his violent, domineering and unpredictable behaviour.
Review by Kylie Leonard
Veterans and their families requiring assistance should contact:
Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS), www.vvcs.gov.au or by calling 1800 011 046.