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We Don't Talk About It. Ever.: Secrets. Sins. Sex. Salvation.

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4.72  ·  Rating details ·  72 ratings  ·  30 reviews
In 1980's Apartheid Cape Town, five-year-old Desiree-Anne is grappling with how she is going to turn her tar baby doll's skin into lily-white. She doesn't know how to force her father to stop drinking or gambling or make her mother love her or get the boys and men to stop touching her in secret. She learns how to soothe the pain through secret masturbation and lying.

As she
...more
Paperback, 1st, 234 pages
Published August 1st 2018 by MF Books Jhb
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Average rating 4.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  72 ratings  ·  30 reviews


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Start your review of We Don't Talk About It. Ever.: Secrets. Sins. Sex. Salvation.
Penny Haw
Aug 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Desiree-Anne Martin concludes the acknowledgements pages at the end of her recently released memoir, We Don’t Talk About It. Ever with the words, “And to all the hurt little – and grown-up – girls, this story is for you. There is always hope. Always.”

Indeed, as I read the approximately 260 preceding pages, I frequently wondered if there was any hope for the author.

Martin was raised in a middle-class Cape Town family by a drinking, gambling and sometimes unfaithful father and a distant mother. T
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Cathy Kelly
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Desiree-Anne Martin's memoir is written so engagingly and vividly that I devoured this book in two days. It's the story of a downhill slide into addiction and darkness, followed by a hard earned transformation that is quite frustratingly un-movie-like. It's messy, it's one step forward, two steps back, but she keeps you with her all the way because of her unflinching honesty and evocative writing. Looking forward to more from this SA writer. ...more
Magda linga
Sep 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I couldn’t put this book down. The story is moving and I’m sure a lot of people, not necessarily with the same experiences, can relate to it. So many of us have holes in our souls or what feels like it.
I really like the style. It’s both poetic and real, definitely not sentimental.
I also really admire the author’s courage to speak up.
I wish some topics were explored more and maybe the whole book could have been structured a bit better. All in all, a great, engaging read.
Lloyd Christensen
Riveting, visceral, poetic in place. A beautifully-written and honest account. A must-read.
Margot Summerfield
I could not put this book down. Desiree-Anne is an amazing storyteller. A breathtaking story that had me in tears one moment and laughing out loud the next.
Cheraé
Jul 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
The book title alone activates a common experience that comes along with growing up in a coloured home. In subtle detail, Desiree-Anne describes the spiraling effects a culture of silence has on how one navigates self and self in the world. The content can be triggering at times, but only due to the honesty and confrontational energy with which the author writes the facts of her reality. I travelled with Desiree-Anne right to the end, and I came out feeling relieved for her hurt little girl and ...more
Emma-Jane Truter
This was the most phenomenally written book. I cried and laughed with her. I felt everything she so vividly described. I absolutely felt her pain and her journey through her writing. Mesmerized and I couldn’t put it down. She hit the nail of mental health and addiction on the head and her bravery is a force to be reckoned with!

JUST WOW.
Telana
Oct 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is honest, this is not A-Million-Little-Pieces-sensationalized-drug-to-rehab-story. There’s no extra spice or fabrication. This is Desiree’s real life story and I was hooked. I think it’s because Desiree isn’t asking you or wanting you to like her, through out the book she’s just telling it as it is and she isn’t asking the reader to sympathize nor empathize with her - there are no excuses...she IS flawed just like all of us. She’s just one of the few honest ones who can write it down, try ...more
Elite Group
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Heroin addiction – the brutal reality of becoming addicted.

Desiree-Anne Martin (Dezzy) was an “unplanned mistake” for her mother. She was born two months premature. She was a lively inquisitive child with the unruly hair associated with her colour. Her mother could have passed as “white” in terms of “colour” in apartheid South Africa. Her father, like her, was darker, with more “black” features, like build and coarse hair. Her mother made it clear from the beginning that Desiree-Anne’s brother,
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Nel Prinsloo
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When I read the first sentence of this book, I thought: “Wow.”
As I continued reading, I understood that the craftsmanship that went into the authoring of the book was akin to that of a master painter lovingly creating a beautiful masterpiece. Each sentence was weighed, polished, perfected, and then carefully added to the whole. The subject matter of the book is compelling, but I’ll get to that. The prose is a delight for the reader who appreciates the work of an author who is a master at her cra
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Donna
Oct 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I just finished this book last night!
I would’ve finished it in a night if I had the time, but I also needed to curb my anxiety as I read 𝙤𝙪𝙧 story as you perfectly put it Desiree-Anne. Wow @believe.more.deeply All I can say is this book is an absolute work of pure artistic perfection! SO well written. I couldn’t put it down because I just wanted to know wtf happens next but also because u were literally talking about me! Ur story a bit more extreme in the latter part of ur active addiction, but
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Simone
Nov 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had first heard about this book from a local radio presenter who raved about being unable to put the book down, I knew then I just HAD to read it, but when I had read the description of the book, I was scared. I was scared my reserved, never-done-a-drug-in-my-life-self would not be able to handle the brutality of this book. I decided to put my big girl blouse on and dove into this book and as the presenter testified, I too struggled to put this book down.
Brutal (man, so brutal), honest (cringe
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Adam Armstrong
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the bravest, most honest books I have ever read. The author possesses a number of unique traits, she has survived trauma and addiction and betrayal, she is also able to write eloquently and poetically. It is confusing because at times she is describing a tragic or painful moment, but does so in beautiful and flowing prose.

The book is a memoir, primarily a chronological history of the author's life and her battles with addictions (of various forms), but it is more than a harrowing
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Leanne
Nov 19, 2018 added it
Unputdownable!

Desiree’s raw honesty and vulnerability will leave you hurting, crying, and laughing. You will feel despair and pain. But mostly, you will leave her book with such hope; hope for yourself if you are suffering through addiction, and hope for your loved ones if you are watching them suffer. Desiree’s words are a gift, pulling emotions from our gut and filling our hearts with light.
Tracey Longstaff
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fuck me!!! Could not put this book down until I had finished!!!
Lloyd Christensen
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Riveting, visceral, poetic in place. A beautifully-written and honest account. A must-read.
Helena Davids
Aug 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book had me captured! I had to tear myself away from it when having to perform necessary, mundane chores. I loved the short chapters, which suits my distracted, ADHD mind. I read every word, every page, from cover to cover! I didn’t want it to end…

Raw, real, captivating, articulate, eloquent, descriptive and brutality honest comes to mind – and the transformation in the end so beautiful!
Hedi Lampert
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Secrets, lies, deceit and sexual abuse shape the author's first decade, and then we follow her on a terrifying downward spiral into addiction starting with alcohol and progressing to heroin. Crime, imprisonment, prostitution and more heroin become the cornerstones of the author's day-to-day existence. Yet, this is a story of hope and astonishing courage – a true hero's journey of transformation.
Desiree Martin writes with a combination of lyrical beauty and the brutality of a punch in the gut.
I
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Farahnaaz
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book has made me laugh, cry and sigh. Gut-wrenching truths about life.
Jenny Hill
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome book Desiree -Anne Martin

I loved your book. It broke my heart and at the same time restored my faith in sobriety. Your story could have been my story. Thank you for your honesty and your beautiful book.
Ashlee Kaye
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in 4 hours.
Everything else in the world faded away as I devoured every last word.
Beautifully written, heart wrenching and I cannot stop recommending it to all my friends.
Made me think of things I never speak about and how I approach my own addictive tendencies.
Thank You for writing this.
Amy Daneel
Oct 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This memoir serves as a voice of its time.

A testament that addition & ill mental health is not a failure of character, but rather a byproduct of the insidious PTSD that is rife amongst us & constantly denied.

This is a story of hope and resilience that I could not put down.
Gail Gilbride Bohle
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it


1980’s Cape Town and the colour of her skin is already an issue for five year old Desiree-Anne.
The child is unhappy with her doll’s darkness and wants to make her white. She has already internalized that Whites are ‘better’ than everyone else. Her father drinks and gambles. Men touch her inappropriately and her mother’s love is hard to come by. Martin finds her own ways of replacing the love so sorely lacking and at every Scripture Union camp she gives her heart to Jesus.

The unwritten rules i
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Craizy Daisy
Jun 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
This biography isn't for the faint-hearted; it's an alarmingly honest account of a life that seemingly unraveled, as the result of substance abuse. Although it was clear, to me, that Martin's father was an addict (gambling, alcohol and infidelity) and that his behaviour and habits adversely affected his relationships, specifically with this enabling, powerless, codependent wife and children, and even though I could identify with much in her upbringing, Martin's descent into the depths of addicti ...more
Travisto Ja
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brave, tactile, unapologetic, epic.
Karina Szczurek
Dec 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don't often read books about addiction, but I am very glad I did read Martin's brave memoir. It takes guts to write one's own story with such unflinching honesty, to go to all those dark places and emerge with hope and beauty. I often thought about the Ann Voskamp quote while reading: "Shame dies when stories are told in safe places." Indeed. And, if we are lucky, there is truth and healing and a brighter future. ...more
Munira
Sep 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Raw and authentic. I don't think a book has ever moved me this much. A page turner but I've had to stop and take a moment after every chapter to process what I've just read.
I may not be able to relate to drug addiction but there's so many aspects of the story I can relate to.
"And to all the hurt little - and grown up - girls, this story is for you. There is always hope. Always"
...more
Claire Kingan-Jones
Unbelievably beautiful & brutal

Stunningly crafted memoir - this is an entertaining and inspiring ‘white knuckled ride’ - written with courage and honesty.....couldn’t put it down!
Ahren Adams
Dec 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a beautiful read...

I finished this book in 2 days. Could not put it down. WOW! Refreshingly honest and beautifully written. What an inspiration the author is. I felt like i was right there on her journey with her. Just simple, AMAZING!
Tessa Walters
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely brilliant!
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I am a published poet, addictions counsellor, post-graduate student, full-time wife and mother and part-time warrior woman. I am a recovering addict and believe that caffeine, cigarettes, chocolate and bacon are the four major food groups.

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