Book review : Becoming a man in the shadowlands by Dennis Randall

General overview:

Pages – 99 pages as an ebook / 138 pages on kindle.

Author – Dennis Randall

Trigger warning – For anyone who’s triggered by memories of rape, bullying or emotional abuse this might be a hard read for you, but trust me at the end it’s worth it. This books proves that you’re indeed a SURVIVOR.

This book is more than just an autobiography or a sad tale of abandonment but rather it’s one that will take you on a rollercoaster of emotions, get ready to dab tears off your eyes at some points and then lose yourself in a fit of laughter at another point. The author takes us through his own personal experience as a victim of sexual abuse both from his babysitter and even from his own mother, as well as a victim of bullying at different times and finally how all this affected his life.

This book really touches me as we rarely get men talk about this issues or share their stories, so I hope this book will help anyone out there going through or who has gone through such child abuse that it’s OK to speak out.

He also talks about the emotional abuse encountered in the hands of his mother and just brings to focus the effects a divorce can have on a child so young, whilst taking us on so many mischievous journeys as well as others filled with moments of love experienced from his grandma as well as take us through a brief experience of racism .

Quotable quotes

  1. It isn’t your fault if you’re dealt a lousy hand of cards. But the blame will be yours alone if you play your hand like a fool.
  2. Life can only be understood backwards ,but it must be lived forwards.
  3. In chess, as in life every move you make has direct consequences.
  4. Living and surviving inside the situation keeps our entire trauma compartmentalized, and we are often unable, for a good reason, to see the full scope and sequence of our suffering. Connecting the dots is the Great Reveal that allows us to see the vast extent of our circumstances, and when we finally do we say, ‘Oh crap! No wonder I’m like this,’ and then we begin to heal.

Poetic justice

Seek not the storm’s fury
Nor its jagged light.
Search instead for the quiet center
And from there stand against the night.


This book was an emotional and intriguing read, beginning from the emotional abuse and neglect he faced from childhood from his mother to the impact the divorce of his parents had on him. The author takes us back on a personal journey into the events in his life that have come to shape him almost fifty years later.

He takes us through the emotions he felt growing up, from using masturbation and smoking as an outlet during his teenage years , to the sexual abuse he was later to experience from his own mother as well as from school bullies and even from a male babysitter. Its clear from the early chapters that the authors love for writing has always been impeccable judging from the attention he garnered after an essay he wrote was publicly applauded on an aircraft.

Trust me this book isn’t all gloomy, the way the author describes his grandmother and her love for him would melt your heart as well as the mischiefs he created including how he ate dog treats and ended up attempting to produce alcohol ,don’t get me started on how he got fired on his first acting job. He made sure to describe key events that took place during his childhood including the Cuban Missle Crisis and the Vietnam War where he was drafted to. And is now a retired veteran

Apart from the emotional and sexual abuse experienced from the author’s mother, he credits her with making him develop his love for reading and his father for helping him develop his writing skills. One important issue he touched on was the issue of racism present in the 1960s in Los Angeles where he stayed briefly with his dad until he had to be sent away due to the mental health issues of his stepmum.

The most impressive part of this book is how the author after years of “trying to burn and bury” the history and pains of his past has finally decided to speak up and speak out as someone who came out of all this a SURVIVOR, this book is sure to tug at your heart strings. For this I give this book a

????? 5/5 ?????

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Hey and welcome to my little corner Abbey's chronicles, a blog where I share my raw and unbiased thoughts on issues on mental health, lifestyle, wellness and self care. No topic is ever off limit as long as it affects lives and relationships, it's subject to discussion. This blog strives to provide solace for everyone going through issues they might not be able to talk about on a daily. My name is Abbey, a mental health advocate and enthusiast with a love for helping people who feel alone or are facing issues relating to life and mental health issues with the aim of raising awareness as well as providing succor. This blog was started as an avenue for me to deal with my own monsters. The aim of starting this blog was to for it to serve as some sort of therapy during my darkest times of depression and though it isn't all over yet, I hope this blog serves as a form of therapy to others going through similar issues relating to life and mental health. Finally in my free time I can be seen drowning in movies, food, sleep and books. I guess I am a blogger at night and an aspiring medical student at other times.


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