Book Review: Dear Sister

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Written by survivors to, and for, other survivors, Dear Sister: Letters from Survivors of Sexual Violencefrom Lisa Factora-Borchers brings a new face to healing. A multi-generational and multi-ethnic compilation of letters and essays, Factora-Borchers has created an exceptional glimpse into the hearts and minds of survivors.

The authors featured come from all walks of life, and the fact that they’re all considered “women of color” wasn’t something I found relevant to their experiences and/or words. Dear Sister is filled with letters, poems, and essays that focus on the topic of sexual abuse and violence. Yet, outside of that context there’s still a relevance to the wisdom, advice, and encouragement that this group of women extends to other women, men, and humanity.

They recognize that we’ve all faced hard times, ups and downs, trials and tribulations. However you look at it, we all need to heal from something, at some point in our lives. Whether it is grief, depression, abuse, addiction, or any number of things that break our spirit, the same rules still apply. The hope and pain these women feel, are felt by everyone (in some context), and their openness to share these things with the world at large is inspiring and brave.

This is not a book I would typically choose for myself, but I come across a wide array of genres, authors, and topics when working on excerpts or with publishers here at Ogden. It’s one of the best things about my job! An unlikely addition to my TBR list came with a lovely surprise. Dear Sister is a reminder that I, too, am strong and brave and a survivor. We all are.

Take a look for yourself. Read Childbearing 101 for Sexual Abuse Survivors to see what Dear Sister can bring to light.

Ashley Houk is an Online Editorial Assistant for Ogden Publications, the parent company of Utne Reader. When she’s not reviewing books and producing online content for Ogden, she’s probably still reading and vigorously scribbling poems, or blog posts of her own. Find her on and.

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