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Too afraid to cry

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  150 ratings  ·  45 reviews
Too Afraid to Cry is a memoir that, in bare blunt prose and piercingly lyrical verse, gives witness to the human cost of policies that created the Stolen Generations of Indigenous people in Australia.

It is a narrative of good and evil, terror and happiness, despair and courage. It is the story of a people profoundly wronged, told through the frank eyes of a child, and the
Paperback, 218 pages
Published February 2012 by Ilura Press
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4.01  · 
Rating details
 ·  150 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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So if you see someone like me
Who’s drunk and loud and cursing
Don’t judge too hard, you never know
What sorrows we are nursing.
(from the poem "I Tell You True")

Between 1910 and 1970, tens of thousands of Indigenous children of mixed-descent were forcibly removed from their families under the Australian government's assimilation policies.* These children are now known as the Stolen Generations. Many women were forced or tricked into giving their children up for adoption; Ali Cobby Eckermann's o
Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This heartbreaking memoir delves into the stolen Indigenous childhood of generations in Australia, as Ali Cobby Eckermann powerfully reflects on how her identity was shaped by these oppressive forces!
Sep 06, 2015 rated it liked it
Read in June 2015

The memoir is written in simple, spare prose that hides more than it reveals; the verses that intersperse it seek to articulate the pain, heartbreak and hope that the prose chooses to state without elaboration.

It's not the kind of book I can easily appreciate - my pig-headedness in understanding verse and inability to fully empathise with the raw emotion that often underpins spare prose proved to be hardy impediments. However, there are enough moments that bring home the unbear
Ali Cobby Eckermann, a poet of indigenous heritage, was not a name familiar to me until she won the international Windham-Campbell Literary Prize for Poetry in 2017.

Five years earlier she had published her memoir, Too Afraid to Cry, which I purchased on my recent trip to Australia.

It’s a rather brave and beautiful book, one that charts the very personal impact — both good and bad — on a young child taken from her aboriginal family and raised within a white one, what we now know as the Stolen Gen
Truly deserves the rating of absolutely amazing.
I am I awe of this lady's ability to write, to tell her story and to go forward in life in what appears to be a very positive way.
The blurb says it brilliantly about the way the book is written......"in bare blunt prose and piercingly lyrical verse"
The author takes you the reader along on the ride that is her life experience, and the bluntness of the prose helps you to absorb the enormity of what has happened in her life without getting caught up i
Jodi Sh.
Nov 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, i-know-you

I don't often recommend books, but I would have never come across this had I not met Ali Cobby Eckermann at a New Zealand literary festival and become completely enamored, completely by accident. Unless you believe in fate, then the universe intentionally took me to New Zealand so I could find out about this small, tender and honest memoir–and that is not without possibility.
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ill-requests
A fantastic and heart wrenching memoir in poetry and prose. Read to gain some perspectives on the trauma of the Stolen Generation, and how much work needs to be done to heal the fissures we've inherited and caused. Decolonisation is more than an academic word, its a process we're all accountable for on stolen land.
Emily Polson
Mar 05, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, memoir
I received this book as an ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

In this memoir, Ali Cobby Eckermann recounts her life as she remembers it in simple, straightforward prose divided into 1-2 page chapters and poems. The events packed into these short chapters are heavy--Eckermann is part of the Stolen Generation, Aboriginal children who were taken from their families at birth and adopted into white Australian families between 1910-1970. Her life is a monument to the devastating effec
Cheyenne Blue
Jun 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: australian
This is a book about families. Extended family, immediate family, add-ons and blow-ins. Families who are related by blood, by legal adoption, or by the loose ties of people declaring “these friends are my family”. It’s about belonging in more than one family, and moving assuredly in each.

Ali Cobby Eckermann is a product of Australia’s stolen generations. She was lucky, and was given to a white, adoptive family who loved her, but even in the security of her adopted family, bad things happened to
Joan Davies
I couldn't put this book down, read it in one session.
Elizabeth Watts
Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley

Ali Cobby Eckermann's memoir of her childhood as the adopted Aboriginal girl of a German family in Australia is half heartbreaking and many parts joy. ACE tells a story of childhood trauma and confusion about who she was. The narrative is clean, flows simply as if she is telling a story by the campfire. Interspersed between chapters, ACE gives us poetry that is beautiful, raising the story to great heights.

I was particularly surprised at the transitory natur
James Burgess
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Too afraid to cry is a confronting a book, there were points throughout it at which I was shocked by how careless people could be. For example, when she had her second child I had to stop reading because all that was going through my head was “How could someone do that! How could a human being dismiss a life, like that!”
The matter of fact honesty with which the book is written really enhances the confronting nature of her story. It also through its own lack of emotion made me feel more for the s
Donna Hines
Too Afraid To Cry brings together lyrical verse with spare prose in telling of a very personal story of abuse and trauma.
Her courage to speak out against the abuse she suffered is to be admired but even moreso, is the fact that she sought to reconcile with her birth family and find a deeper connection within her own Indigenous community.
The devastating policies placed upon the Indigenous Australian Communities is at the heart of this moving memoir.
Sadly, these aboriginal children are forcibly ta
Disclaimer: I got an advance reading copy through a Goodreads giveaway.
Too Afraid to Cry tells of a very different life than mine or of the stories I know. Ali Cobby Eckermann tells of abuse as a female and of adoption as an aboriginal child. She uses both prose and poetry for the story-telling. She tried running away from many of her troubles. Away was a mix of distance and drinking. But eventually she needed to run to something. Her indigenous family welcomed her with open arms. She looked in
Mar 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Ali Cobby's memoir was about many things. Family, negative setting, emotion, drugs, aboriginal heritage, and drugs. I was quite confronted by the abuse and drug use. This made it hard for me to read. She writes about family and her life. I found the different patches in her life interesting. How different friend groups and jobs can change someone's behavior and actions. I really enjoyed this book although I found it confronting. I would recommend it
Catherine Maughan
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I could not put this book down so I read it in one night. I am in awe of Ali's ability to write this memoir, but I guess that was easier than actually experiencing it. One minute my heart was pounding so fast, the next I was in tears and then a few pages later I was screaming out loud "Noooooo" - a remarkable feat for a story told so bluntly and matter-of-factly.

If you have experienced violence of any kind I recommend this book as it will give you strength. A true gift, thank you Ali.
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir
Very sparse memoir of growing up as an Aboriginal girl in Australia.There was an ugly movement to remove these children from their the hopes that they would become more civilized. Each chapter ends with poetry. Perhaps it's the translation, as I didnt/couldn't viscerally connect with what truly is a horrific period of racism.
I read an advance copy and was not compensated.
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written book, with exquisitely written poems after most chapters. The author openly shares the heartbreak, loss, pain, and lack of trust she has experienced in her life. She also shows how deep the hole that was left in her soul due to being a stolen generation aboriginal child, separated from her culture and her people, and adopted by a white, German Lutheran family; who were very loving towards her and her adopted brothers. But who could not replace her natural heritage. She spends ...more
Feb 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: give-aways
I would like to thank Ali and the publisher for providing me a copy of this short book.

The book is slim quick read. As with any book set in a foreign country, I enjoyed the insights to the ways of life in Australia and the Aboriginal culture. I can appreciate to vulnerability of the position the author takes in presenting her personal story to the world for judgement and the harshness/meanness of the general population.

I am not intending to be one of those rude reviewers. I really enjoyed the
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ugh. I really hate to be giving this a low rating. But I was really disappointed by this, honestly. The writing is completely unemotional --Ali simply tells all the events that happened in chronological order. Very rarely did she offer an opinion or some larger context. Very rarely did she mention her emotions--and with a title like that, I needed the emotions.

And, I am trying to think about this carefully because I don't want to be a white person exoticising another culture, but I really wanted
Maggie Tiede
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From 1910 to 1970, it was official Australian government policy that Aboriginal children should be removed from their families whenever possible in order to assimilate them into white culture. The children harmed by this practice are known as the Stolen Generations, and author Ali Cobby Eckermann is just one of their number. She recounts the vicious racism, sexual abuse, domestic violence, addiction, and physical injury that she has experienced, but this memoir–told in alternating poetry and pro ...more
Amy Morgan
Sep 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Thank you Edelweiss for my review copy of this book.

I'm not quite sure what to think about this story. A memoir of a woman who was an Aboriginal recounts her life with both her adopted family and later in life her Aboriginal family as she is reunited with them.

The author suffered many tragedies during her childhood and as an adult. This story is about finding her way back from the dark places she often found herself in and finding new joys in life by learning from and connecting with the famil
Jul 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
I really liked this memoir of an Aboriginal girl coming of age and coming to terms with her stolen childhood. Without any finger pointing or head wagging the author shows all sides of the picture. Every childhood is formed by the successes and foibles of well intentioned adults, as well as the devious acts of abusive adults and the inadvertent neglect of parents. When those adults are themselves formed by a deeply divided society at odds with its own values, with unexamined issues of race, ident ...more
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. It was such an authentic and heart-penetrating look into the life of an Indigenous person of Australia--from being adopted out (against the will of her mother) to childhood persecution in school, to the effects of abuse and alcoholism and to growth up and out of old damaging patterns of reacting to her pain and loss. The poems laced into the book were lovely. I agree with what the Cordite Poetry Review says, "Eckermann negotiates its painful territory without the dramatic of b ...more
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grief, memoir, australia
Too Afraid to Cry by Ali Cobby Eckermann is a memoir from an Aboriginal woman in Australia as she battles drugs and alcohol, reunites with her own and her extended kin family after growing up with white farmers as part of the Stolen Generation of adoptees. She finds her creative side in art and writing and works in various jobs, including an art centre as she realizes her creative gifts. The blunt prose tell a captivating story in chapters alternating with verse,and highlight her deep attachmen ...more
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WOW! Too Afraid to Cry is a beautiful retelling of Eckermann's life as a young Aboriginal trying to assimilate to white Australian culture and her journey of understanding her own culture and her role within it. I'm not a huge fan of poetry, but some of her poems really spoke to me. Her voice was so genuine and honest through the whole book. I also learned a lot about the mistreatment of Aboriginals in Australia, and saw perfect parallels to that of Indigenous people in the United States.
Mona  AlvaradoFrazier
Dec 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the author's story (one of many for Australia's Stolen Generation, aboriginal children stolen from their parents and adopted out to white families),

The writer's style is unflinchingly direct and we hear the suffering and trauma that impacted her life. Her search for reconnection to her family of origin is a journey to wholeness.
I enjoyed this read. It's not difficult in it's language and an easy read, but I liked the tone used. The book has stories of sexual abuse and rape, racism, sexism, drug abuse, and recovery and redemption. It's topics are not easy, but there are moments of joy and humor which aide the reader along the way.
Kristy Engel
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
An easy to read book written in simple prose, but there is nothing easy or simple about this story. A sometimes heartbreaking and sometimes heartwarming telling of the author's complicated life. SO worth the time.
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