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Book Recommendations

The Suitcase by Jan Daniels

March 2024
— Reading Time: 2 minutes

Jan Daniels’ book, with the sub-title, One Woman’s Struggle to Save Herself, is compelling reading. She is a Geelong local and a writer who has written her book not only to chronicle her life and struggle but with an eye to the reader – especially other women – who may sorely (pun intended) need to read it.

We wish that the domestic abuse that Jan Daniels’ suffered was rare or seemed so far-fetched that it couldn’t possibly be true. Sadly, neither is the case. The importance though of writing her story, is the chance that some other woman will see her life mirrored there and take action to save herself. You are not alone.

We at my manifesto, believe in the inherent dignity of all humans; it is our birthright. Again, sadly, we know that is not always reflected in our world. For whatever reason, gender entitlement, mental illness, desperation, or damaged psyches from one’s own upbringing, everyday a person’s dignity may not only be infringed, but shattered.

Despite suffering years of abuse – verbally and physically – the overwhelming takeaway from this book, is the strength and courage of this writer. The quality of the writing has a lot to do with that. Despite desperate situations, Daniels writes with lyricism:

Like a fractured homemade movie my life unfolded, projected before me onto a blank screen of the white ceiling above – all the memories to bring me to this moment.

And: If I was allowed to show emotion I would have cried tears of happiness, but I held all my glee swirling around like fluffy pink fairyfloss inside me.

This ability to write in this way, not only tells of survival, but it also demonstrates it.

The subject matter is sobering. Daniels answers the questions that those who hear of lives such as hers may ask, like Why don’t you just call the police? And Why don’t you just leave? It is made apparent to us that the disempowerment of an abusive relationship is debilitating. The abused is left feeling battered and belittled. The police also seemed hamstrung in the face of the denial and cunning demonstrated by the abuser.

Our service at my manifesto, as distilled in our upcoming book My Manifesto: A compassionate guide to reveal your best life, is designed to assist you uncover exactly what your life is, according to you. Perhaps doing the work within the pages may have the power of circumventing some of the travesties visited upon people in our society. Knowing yourself, what you will stand for and behind, your life – not the one granted to you or the one degraded for you – may become apparent.

That is our fervent hope.

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