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The Incest Diary

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  754 ratings  ·  215 reviews
"In the fairy tales about father-daughter incest—'The Girl Without Hands,' 'Thousand Furs, ' the original 'Cinderella,' 'Donkey Skin,' and the stories of Saint Dymphna, patron saint of incest survivors—the daughters are all as you would expect them to be: horrified by their father's sexual advances. They do everything in their power to escape. But I didn't. A child can't e ...more
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published August 15th 2017 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published July 18th 2017)
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3.52  · 
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 ·  754 ratings  ·  215 reviews

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Shira Lev
Jul 29, 2017 rated it did not like it
I live in Israel. A few weeks ago, a girl my age killed herself after being sexually abused by her father since early childhood -- an abuse which, similar to the one described by the author of this "memoir", went unnoticed and ignored by her mother all these years. The same mother did not even attend her funeral.

Following the media's attention to this story, snippets of this girl journal were published. It was ugly. None of it was erotic in the slightest. It sounded like being forever locked in
Aria Gmitter
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm going to write this review in two parts: reader, and then as an incest survivor.

As a reader, the writing has moments where the author revealed what she said she used to cope in childhood through writing a daily journal-- she fixated on clouds and the sky, and on details that helped her to disassociate although she doesn't use that exact word, ultimately that's what she's doing.

The writing goes off into tangents. But I do like the way that she is honest about her part, her feelings and stay
I don't feel comfortable rating this because it's a true story and it was super disturbing and I feel like anything I rate it would just seem wrong. (I mean this is someone's life who am I to put a rating on it?) The writing was all over the place and it ended weird. There wasn't really a solid beginning or conclusion it was just a compilation of the author's memories. The memories were all over the place and there wasn't really a solid time line or story.

I can't believe that this is true. Like
Elizabeth Sagan
Dec 02, 2017 rated it did not like it
So it has come to this... my first 1 star review.
This was utter rubbish.
Yeah, yeah, I get it. It treats a difficult topic. We need awareness.
Still, utter rubbish.
I don’t remember how I found out about this thing and why I lived under the impression that it’s something like Milk and Honey (deep, strong, sensible).
It felt like cheap pornography.
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Horrifying. Disassociating. Disgustingly enthralling.

They say reading fiction builds capacity for empathy. If anything can show that non-fiction can do the same, this can.

I can't recommend it. How could I? But I'm glad I read it.
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I wanted to give this book five stars but I also wanted to give it one star. I know that I will never forget it. I desperately want to have coffee with the author.
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
4 Pleasure as a neads to survive STARS

"He said he couldn't help it. He told me it was my fault. He said that he couldn't help it because I was so beautiful and it felt so good. He said he was a sick man. A weak victim of his desire."


Ame el libro, odie la historia que cuenta.

Me muero por escribir la reseña, pero no se por donde empezar, y lo peor es que no tengo mucho tiempo, porque este libro lo pedí prestado a la biblioteca y tengo que regresarlo en una semana.a semana.
James Elliot Leighton
Jul 18, 2017 rated it did not like it
This is poorly written pornography. It was touted as something that would be groundbreaking, but instead it is almost embarrassingly crude - at the same standard as the pornography you find on the cubicle walls in public toilets. It is not believable, in fact I have doubts as to whether the writer is actually female. It seems more like the improbable ravings of an adolescent boy. There are inconsistencies in it, coupled with illogical claims about the characters. I have no interest in badly writ ...more
Liz Laurin
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I can't review this, and feel good about it. So I'm just leaving it at this. Inconsistencies in the story of a victim of over 20 years is not indicative of lying. 20 years of abuse, by multiple people(including those she told her told her to just not talk about it anymore), will change your brain. Brainwashing, and sexual coercion from infancy doesn't just 'go away' with therapy, and every action and reaction of this author is completely, wholly authentic, imo, or could be. Not everyones reactio ...more
Wendy Ortiz
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
Okay. Hmm. So, I think the editors did this writer a disservice. We know going in that this book is going to be heavy, yes...and the reader will not be disappointed if they're looking for something provocative and definitely disturbing. I imagine those among us who have either personal or professional experience with incest survivors won't necessarily find something new or shocking here. I imagine that the author wanted this to be an artful rendering of what is a horrible experience (at one poin ...more
Heather V  ~The Other Heather~
I have been dreading writing this review. I'm expecting all manner of hell to be unleashed on/at me. S'okay. It's a polarizing book. And because of that, among other reasons, I'm not giving it a star review. I just can't. That feels terribly wrong on so many levels. I'll try to explain.

No part of me thinks that a story like this one, utterly horrifying as it is, can't be 100% true. I don't care to get into details, for I'm sure I and those in my circle of friends and family would appreciate anon
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, memoir, beautiful
This memoir is not something I will ever recommend that you read and I'm not glad I did. It is awful. It was awful to read it. The cruelty that human beings are capable of visiting on each other is something that will never cease to amaze me no matter how desensitized I think I've become to it and for that I suppose I'm grateful. I certainly don't want to feel nothing when I read a story like this.

This is a short, beautifully written, story of horrors. I think the fact that its writer remains an
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Lately I have been reading books by women who have published under the pseudonym Anonymous. It is often because the depiction of sex, rape and violence in the text is portrayed in a way that offers no redemption. Incest Diary is a brief account of a woman’s molestation by her father that endured from when she was a toddler to when she was 21. She describes in explicit details the violence enacted upon her. She describes the effects and feelings of orgasms experienced during rape. She also tells ...more
Leo Robertson
Jul 31, 2017 rated it liked it
I feel profoundly sorry that the author had to go through such experiences. Have no doubt and read that again if you object to anything else I say in this review. But like with other things I've reviewed this year, I need more than "feeling sorry for someone" to judge something as a worthwhile read.

This will be cathartic to other victims in that it unashamedly reveals what the author's surface emotions were during encounters with her father—namely, a lust for him. And to be fair, that's not ofte
B. Andersen
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dwight Garner's review in the New York Time (18 July 2017) called some of the vignettes in this memoir "horror scenes", and I agree to the extent that they were gruesome, but unlike of movie of fiction, this was about a living woman, not an imaginary one. The descriptions of the cruelty are almost understated, even when describing her father penetrating her with a knife and cutting. What was haunting to me was the indifference to her plight shown by her mother, her relatives, and her friends. Th ...more
I love a gritty read amongst my light reads, but did not enjoy this at all.

If the author was named I may have found it more compelling, but to me it seemed like a fictitious fetish short story.

Use of the word "pussy" and "cock" when the author describes being raped makes it feel like I'm reading a porno.

At the end of the day it was a trash read for those who get off on incest. Disturbing but completely fictional. Don't bother.
Atiqah Ghazali
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book caught my attention for its cover's simplicity and the straight-forwardness of its title. In Malaysia, incest issues have been rampant since October. I was in limbo of wanting to know more about why these cases happened, or to close my eyes to it because it is sickening to the gut! After finding such book, I couldn't escape anymore.

The author who wants to be anonymous for many reasons, have opened up a flood gate. By page 4, my stomach has turned into a mush and I tasted the vomit in m
Karen Connelly
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Powerful record of one woman's horrific experience of violent incest. Tragically she doesn't really 'get out' of it--in the book at least. Her current relationship seems to be a continual reenactment of the original trauma. Sometimes writing a book is an act of healing--and this book does break the silence around her abuse and is an act of extraordinary witness. Surely that is part of recovering. But I wanted more-- perhaps the impossible, considering what happened to her. I wanted her to get be ...more
Erban Martinez
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I believe the book itself may be of some comfort to survivors of child abuse. Many times survivors believe that they have enjoyed the abuse and yes even masturbate to or romantasie the abuse which will usually lead to a great shame that eats away at your soul.

However this book does show you that while some "pleasure" may come from the abuse it does not mean there is something wrong with you nor that you actually wanted it.
Jul 31, 2017 added it
This isn't really a book review, because how exactly do you review a book like this? And, honestly, I think the New York Times did a decent job talking about it.

It was a difficult book to read for obvious reasons, but I honestly feel it's worth it because of how difficult it is. It's a very short book, so it can easily be read in a few hours (depending on your stomach for some of the graphic details). What I liked about it was that, even though it was pretty graphic, it was also very frank. Afte
Syaznee  Idris
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
What's with the ending, man? 😑😑😑
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is impossible to rate. It made me physically ill and gave me nightmares. I also think it's an important contribution to the literature on sexual violence and trauma, for the reasons stated in this essay:

All this said, I believe there’s still another reason why books like The Incest Diary are controversial (and I believe this sheds at least some light on why a novel like My Absolute Darling has been so upsetting for so many). The Incest Diary is written by a victim of rape, but not the kind
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I had to keep reminding myself that this was a memoir, which meant that I kept getting depressed that this actually happened to someone. The raping that started at age three was hard enough to read about, but then the anonymous author writes about how in her twenties she really looked forward to sex with her father. It was the best sex of her life. She hated it and she loved it. The relationship with her father eventually ends, but the book's ending suggests that some trauma lingers no matter wh ...more
Jessicka Cameron
Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: on-my-ipad
Jesus f-ing Christ. This is easily the most disturbing, unsettling and horrifying book I have read. As someone who loves to read disturbing books, that was hard for me to say. But holy cow.

I feel awful for rating this book as this isn't a book to be enjoyed. The snippets the author gives of her life are visceral - I felt like I was being assaulted when reading this. Her words are artfully and beautifully crafted, which I found makes this story feel even worse.

The things that this woman went th
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Deeply disturbing but also very accurate as far as what I have seen throughout my time as a sexual assault advocate working with survivors and hearing their stories.

I don't quite know how to feel about the book; it is extremely, extremely graphic and not for the faint of heart by any means. Some of it reads like an erotica, but it's easy to tell how much her fathers physical and sexual abuse has impacted her, and it's incredibly humbling. The true scope of the impact of trauma is not fully know
Eleanor Cowan
Aug 17, 2017 rated it did not like it
With this degree of violent pornographic detail, authorial responsibility should definitely be taken. This book is contrived and harmful.

Eleanor Cowan, author of : A History of a Pedophile's Wife: Memoir of a Canadian Teacher and Writer
Aug 03, 2017 rated it did not like it
There are other memoirs written by women describing the incest they endured as children and perhaps as teenagers from their fathers or stepfathers, and all of them are far superior to this piece of porn. There is no growth or redemption, although there is raw insight. A hard read.
Jul 30, 2017 rated it did not like it
I've read a LOT of memoirs. Something doesn't feel right about this one--I don't believe the author. But why not? Is it because I cannot stomach the possibility of abuse and trauma to this extent? Or that her writing is not skilled or narrative? Or both? Hmmm...
Shelley Klein
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Super brave. Working with girls who've been exploited in the commercial sex industry -- 90+% of whom were sexually abused as children -- this book gives a deeper understanding of their experience, and the struggle to build a relationship with one's body that does not incorporate the abuse.
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's like Lolita, sans the wit and poetry of Nabokov, especially when one pervert becomes envious of the other pervert who's stolen his little girl. The writing is beautifully done with the author mastering her descriptions of sights, smells, and sensations effectively enough to leave a print on the mind. Unfortunately, this is a true story and the anonymous author doesn't hold back on the sometimes horrifying details. Well worth reading if you've got the stomach.
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Books can be attributed to "Anonymous" for several reasons:

* They are officially published under that name
* They are traditional stories not attributed to a specific author
* They are religious texts not generally attributed to a specific author

Books whose authorship is merely uncertain should be attributed to Unknown.