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Sister of Silence

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3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  398 ratings  ·  72 reviews
After a shotgun wedding, the author found herself barefoot and pregnant—and the mother of four babies by age twenty-one. Follow along on Daleen’s personal journey from coal miner’s wife to teen mom to award-winning journalist, determined to break the silence that shatters women and children's lives. A riveting true story, this memoir demonstrates the astonishing resilience ...more
Paperback, 342 pages
Published January 18th 2011 by Nellie Bly Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,313)
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Carol Kean
May 31, 2012 Carol Kean rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: any human being old enough to read it
Recommended to Carol by: Kindle ad
Negative reviewers who'd fault a woman for failing to get help -- did they really read the book? Are they blessed with so much self esteem, they can't fathom the process, from infancy, of teaching a child to doubt herself? Dad screams at Mom and hits her, but "He didn't really mean it." Dad insults his daughter, maybe just neglects her, lets her down, breaks promises,maybe hits her. "You know he loves you."

--That's just the way he is
--He'll get over it
--You have to learn how not to set him off

Th
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Kathleen
I read this book in one sitting. I could totally relate to the author. I was not sexually abused as a child. I got pregnant at 16 and "had" to get married. I was raped by my husband. That expression was laughed at then and still is now. My husband took the phone cord from the wall and wrapped it around my neck and chocked me to show me that he could have sex with me without my permission. The physical abuse was horrendous. He beat me so badly one time that I didn't have a white spot left on my b ...more
Elaine
This book is a memoir of Daleen's life, but it could be about any number of women that I have known or read about in the paper or seen in the news. The book is about so many things that I could relate to . . . alcoholism runs in our family and I have seen the damage it can do to the family unit. I also had a very abusive first marriage (I was 19 years old when I married the first time) and I am lucky to have escaped without physical harm, although the mental abusive can sometimes be just as bad. ...more
Erin
I received a free copy as part of the Goodreads First Read Giveaway.

About a year ago, a woman that I work with asked me to help edit her daughter's autobiography. I agreed and didn't think too much about my agreement until I finally read it. It was 300 pages and filled with detail about the abuse this woman and her children suffered at the hands of three different husbands. In many ways, her story paralleled Berry's story. I was struck by the similarities of the stories and of the treatement by
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Lisa Moss
I received this book and wasn't sure what I would find inside. What I found was an honest portrayal of a woman I could identify with. Not because I suffered the same abuses that she had, but because in many ways, she was like me. Too often, the heroes of survival stories seem to be without any flaws. Not Daleen - and this is a good thing. She admits that she is not perfect. She made mistakes. She is one of us. That's what makes me able to connect with her, and what makes her ordeal all the more ...more
Carl R.
Unfortunately the beginning of Daleen Berry's story is not unique. Sexually abused from the age of thirteen, she became pregnant in high school and by the age of twenty-one found herself the mother of four children, trapped in a joyless marriage to an abusive alcoholic. The important part of Daleen's story is what happened next.

Repeated fantasies of harming one of her children leads her to seek help and she eventually discover that the intense stresses of her life have left her mentally ill. By
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Jennifer Short
When Sister of Silence first came out, I immediately bought a copy. The author used to work at our local newspaper, and I’m always interested in any non-fiction book with regional ties. I very much enjoyed reading about people I knew and even knowing as I read the book that my father was one of the people the author interviewed at the sheriff's office for her journalism job.

Sister of Silence is much more than just a book for those who live in our area. The story is riveting. It is a hard memoir
...more
Jessica Thomas
I echo some of the other readers' comments in that I give Daleen five stars as an individual for overcoming her difficult circumstances. My three star review applies to the quality of writing and the structure of the book itself. The memoir jumps back and forth in time in a manner that is difficult to discern, and I don't think Daleen probably captured the depth of her despair in writing. Nevertheless, it's an important topic and her story sticks with you many days after reading it. The book cou ...more
Esther
The story in this book is wrenching. I have nothing but sympathy for the author and her children. Daleen Berry may have personally benefited by putting her story into words, but the writing in this book was adequate at best.
The structure was awful. The narrative skips and circles for no discernible reason. The litany of where she moved and when as a young child needs some major cuts. If the narrative is going to move in a non-linear fashion, it needs to do so in a meaningful way.
The language u
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Peg
Sister of Silence by Daleen Berry. This memoir was provided to me free-of-charge by GoodReads, FirstReads. I gave this book 5 stars because it's powerful, thought-provoking memoir that merits it. It's a real page-turner you won't want to put down! Starting at age 13 or 14, every young woman and man should read this so they become familiar not only with sexual abuse, but physical and emotional abuse as well. I feel many others would benefit also, i.e., anyone in the medical and educational fields ...more
Mandie
This was a well-written book, although the subject matter was difficult to think about. I have so many things to think about now in my own life because she told her story with candor and insight. I have a hard time accepting her nearly saint-like portrayal of herself, but I think probably most people would try to show their own actions in the best possible light. However, there is no denying her husband was a evil man. The other thing I had trouble swallowing was that therapy basically cured her ...more
Janet
Describing Daleen Berry's memoir leaves me at a bit of a loss for words. It's amazing, horrifying, and inspiring. It is a very serious subject matter and I found I had to take breaks from it yet I wanted to keep reading.

It's the story of a daughter of an alcoholic, a rape victim, a mother of four by age twenty-one, and a woman who finds a way to free herself. It's so hard for me imagine what she went through but she does a very good job of telling it. You root for her and learn from her. She's
...more
Gretchen
Daleen is an excellent writer and tells her story in an easy manner.

This is a book that when you finish, you want to go hug your daughters and sit down with them to tell them that they are important and they are strong. Teach them to be secure and confident and make sure they know that you will love them no.matter.what.

I was impressed with Daleen's attitude. She had every opportunity to be bitter and turn hard, but she didn't. She forgave and forgave (even though perhaps she shouldn't have) and
...more
Nancy
Jun 29, 2012 Nancy marked it as did-not-finish
I won this book through goodreads.

It is interesting to read this book at the same time as I have been reading In the Land of Invisible Women: A Female Doctor's Journey in the Saudi Kingdom. In Sister of Silence, a very young woman is controlled by her husband in the United States where she has legal freedom while in Saudi Arabia a very well educated single woman is controlled by a state religion. Both women have a religious faith when helps them endure.
Colette
It was very educational to the time period of the seventies/eighties. I know this book would help every woman, no matter her age, to facing the abuse they might have suffered. It has opened my eyes to some problems I already have faced and others which i haven't. I can only say that the author is a strong woman who has suffered abuse and rape; only to come out the victor.
I recommend this book to everyone. this is one story that should be told and give others the strength to step forward if they
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Amanda Somdal
The book is such an eye opener to what's happening around the world. I knew about grooming yet more for a person grooming a child to molest. This book took it to another dimension - facet of grooming -- a person grooming a child to marry and continue to sexually abuse the child/adult. It makes me look at 'interesting' relationships differently. It brings a red flag in me when I read about Moms killing children, "hmm more to the story than the media knows about...." Daleen Berry is an awesome aut ...more
Delilah
Daleen Berry's account of her early marriage and motherhood to a man who specifically groomed her is one that often ends in tragedy. The fact that she was able to overcome, survive and create a new life for herself and her children is an inspiration to legions of women living in abusive conditions. Sisters of Silence is an excellent teaching tool and should be read by young women who aren't yet equipped with the knowledge to make certain decisions. Much to learn from this book!
Linda Moenck
I really liked this book. Daleen makes the reader feel as if they are in the same room, sharing a conversation about her life. She is very sincere about her experiences, yet never says anything in a mean way about her ex-husband. She sticks to the facts and then the reader can make their own judgements about him. I had a hard time putting the book down and would highly recommend it to anyone.
Kristin Walcott Figueroa
This book is a memoir. I find it difficult to review memoirs. I like to read for entertainment, not necessarily to learn about history or someone’s life experiences. But every now and then I am inexplicably drawn to a particular story or individual. Sister of Silence is one of those books.

I find reviewing memoirs difficult because we all have a story to tell. And some story-telling serves a higher purpose for the author than for the audience. I imagine there are many life experiences put to pape
...more
Broodingferret
It always seems incongruous to call a book like this 'enjoyable', given the subject matter; 'arresting' or 'engaging' is more apt. Berry's writing is down-to-Earth and concise, conveying in accessible language both the physical and emotional difficulties of her former situation. Nor does she patronize her audience with needless exposition; as with Hemingway's iceberg, Berry's writing covers the surface of her experiences, allowing her readers to infer the uncomfortable details for themselves. Th ...more
Blts
I have known people living this life. I read one review of this book that suggested it was inappropriate for a broad audience that it should be kept quiet and read only amongst the victims. I believe the strength of this book is the opposite of that. It needs to be out there so that when friends and family are told the truth, they believe rather than minimize. Theses abusers are so skilled with their public personas. This tells it like it is and shares how difficult societal norms make it for th ...more
Gideon Carlisle
I must first request that my review is not taken personally as I do feel sympathetic for Daleen and her family. While reading the book I felt very awkward as if I were witness to events which I had no business seeing. I appreciate that Daleen felt her story needed to be told and I am sure that people in similar situations can take comfort in her story but I personally feel that the writing works better as a form of therapy than something to be shared with everyone. I could not help but question ...more
Tracy Fleming-Swehla
Sep 22, 2012 Tracy Fleming-Swehla rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one, this was a horribly written book
This book was a freebie from the eReaders newsletter, and I’m glad I didn’t pay for it. This is an autobiography about a woman who struggles to escape an abusive marriage. I’m very glad she found the strength to change her circumstances. But this book is so poorly written that I’m surprised it was published. The book is filled with typos, irrelevant rambling rants, and constant reminders of what a great writer she believes she is. I want to believe that the goal of sharing her story was to help ...more
Deanna
I think we need to bring this out in the open more than it is. I think girls need better training from babyhood to value themselves enough to be able to stand up to treatment such as this! I think boys need to be raised not to bully girls or anyone!!! They need to understand that there are consequences for their actions.
It was not an easy book to read because you kept yelling "Kick him where he needs to be kicked" or something similiar. You wanted to tell that young girl to get away from that ma
...more
Tom Schulte
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Heather
I won this book from a Goodreads giveaway.

This book was very well written and although many parts were uncomfortable to get through, it was very eye-opening. For anyone who has ever been in an unhealthy relationship, be it a parent, significant other, teacher, or friendship, this book speaks to all of the victims, and sends a very good message; that "Violence is never the victim's fault, no matter what the abuser may say." Thank you, Ms. Berry for sharing your story, and letting your readers int
...more
Cindy
This is a powerful book that's hard to put down. Daleen tells her personal story of being married to her abuser. She deals with the continued abuse, depression, and being a mother of 4 children. She is very candid about the guilt she suffered. It is a must for any parent to recognize the signs of a child molester, any abuse victim (sexual or otherwise), or an adult child of alcoholic parents. I did not think I could relate to Daleen since I was not a victim myself. However, she is a very talente ...more
Mindy
Although I'm happy for Daleen and feel she should personally be given five stars for awakening to her situation and finding a way out of it, I expected a lot more from this book. It's hard to explain, but the book felt very surface, just floated here and there along the top. It was difficult for me to finish because it was really just a whole lot of nothing. I kept waiting for something that never quite came, although it came close with the conversations she had with her therapist.
Christine
This story was painful for me to read. It dredged up a lot of muck from my teenage years and childhood. But it helped me find some answers regarding my feelings and behavior. I wasn't overwhelmed by the writing style or talent but I admire her for finally speaking up and doing something before it was too late and then having the fortitude to write about it. Not sure I could tell the world!
Mel burge
Heart wrenching and yet utterly captivating in reading the authors story and how so many of us can relate on a personal basis. Abuse comes in many forms and this author captured many of my thoughts as well as leaving me thinking there are ways out and ways to get help not only for yourself but others in need as well. Very well written and yet sad since it is real life.
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Q&A with Dale...: Why it took 20 years to write my first book 1 8 Feb 15, 2012 02:24AM  
Penn State and Sister of Silence 1 14 Nov 18, 2011 01:58PM  
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I've been a journalist for more than 20 years and made the New York Times bestseller list in 2014. I speak about social topics no one else likes to talk about, like murder-suicide and date rape, at conferences around the country. I've spoken at Johns Hopkins University; UC Berkeley, California; and was thrilled when I was invited to give a TEDx talk in 2013.

I love investigative reporting and am w

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