What Happened to Suzy
By Carol Denise Mitchell
Strategic Book Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-60693-352-7 /
When I first heard the title, What Happened to Suzy, by Carol Denise Mitchell, I immediately thought it was a mystery. In many ways, it is! The mystery is how Suzy is alive today! What Happened to Suzy is one of the most amazing books I’ve had the honor to read. Fiction, based upon a true story, it is published as fiction only because names, places and dates had to be changed to protect those involved. For the majority of this book, you will not be able to believe it is true—in fact many will pray that it is not!
Suzy’s real name is Carol Denise Brown. Her mother started calling her Suzy and many worse names when she was very small. Carol was one of sixteen children, but for some unknown reason, it was very clear that her mother’s animosity and anger against Suzy was beyond any for her other children. It was only from her grandmother, Mamus that Carol was able to find love and learn about God. But Mamus died when Carol was just 10 years old and Mamus had earlier only helped the children on the weekends. She and her siblings were physically, mentally, and emotionally abused their entire young lives.
With a father who was abusive and absent except coming home occasionally to create another baby, Suzy’s mother in many ways was a strong woman who kept her family from the ghetto, worked long and hard to provide a decent place to live and was devastated her entire life because one of her husbands had stolen two of her children. At the same time, it is clear that she was psychologically unable to deal with the pressures placed upon her. She presented a Jekyll/Hyde personality—and only her children saw Mr. Hyde!
Once each child reached an age of being able to handle household responsibilities, that individual was forced into “hard labor.” Her oldest son, however, was the love of her life and was given the responsibility to care for the other children and supported him when he ordered all the younger children to the boys’ room. What happened in that room can only be read to begin to understand—and none of the children knew to call it what it really was¾child abuse.
The physical abuse Suzy endured resulted in much evidence. When she started to school, most of her hair was gone and there were scabs and sores everywhere. All of the children, except one young boy, called her The Blob. Dan was his name and Suzy and Dan realized a mutual friendship, however, Suzy knew that Dan would also be ostracized if he befriended Suzy...and she understood that and lived on the memory of her first boy friend.
Once Suzy thought she had a new girlfriend; she was betrayed and was almost burned alive! Unbelievably Suzy’s intelligence was above average and her grades fluctuated greatly, only going down during periods of abusive behavior at both home and school.
The first amazing event occurred when, at 17, Suzy had been able to maintain and develop sufficient self-esteem to enter a local beauty contest, be selected as a finalist, and win the Miss Congeniality Award! She had won the college scholarship for which she had entered the contest. Her mother’s response was somewhat positive—so much so that Suzy could not believe that her mother still followed through with an earlier threat and she was forced to leave home by her 18th birthday!
It was not surprising what happened to Suzy when she was cast out on the streets with little money. The amazing thing was that she fought her away through it and never actually entered the life toward which she had been lured!
But the final amazing event was when her childhood sweetheart, Dan, one day saw her on the street—and stopped!
What Happened to Suzy is written in somewhat of a diary style and is very fast-paced. Readers will be caught up in the sorrow of the children’s abuse, and then thrill to the realization that Suzy fought her way through the pain and suffering to enter a contest that could provide her a coveted scholarship. Suzy’s time on the streets is very realistically written, so much so that you realize how different her life could have been¾and yet was it? This story will speak to teenagers and adults alike. There is a bright light shining throughout Carol’s story as she is led through traumatic experience after experience that many of us cannot even begin to comprehend. Where is Suzy? She’s Gone!
I applaud the author for the courage she displays in first living and then sharing her story! Teens! Read this book and you will find Hope! Adults—if you care about children, this is a must-read! We must care and do more for the children of our country!
G. A. Bixler
For Independent Professional Book Reviewers