I am reviewing this book for the Book Tour that is being promoted by Elite Book Promotions.
Wounded, by Ben Burgess Jr is in the Gay & Lesbian genre. When I first started reading it I was left reeling by the protagonist’s flashbacks. After my initial shock I got back to business and read the book until I had finished it. I literally uttered the word “wow” when I was done. This book was very powerful and moving.
The protagonist, Samantha Miller, loves nothing more than to “turn straight women out”. Sam is gay and she is not ashamed of her sexuality. She trawls bars and clubs looking for “hot women” who are on the “cusp”. She has a deep rooted mistrust and hatred of men, stemming from the abuse she suffered at the hands of paedophiles when her own mother pimped her out in exchange for a fix of heroin. After her mother died she relied on her body in order to survive, she sold herself to men for money. She was arrested and taken into care at the age of 14, but that did not keep her out of trouble. At 17 she was jailed on drug charges and once again found herself being abused by men – this time the male prison wardens.
Sam had always known she was gay but she had never been with a woman. Eventually, another inmate, Cheryl, teaches her the art of lovemaking. Upon her release from prison Sam vows to never let anyone ” fuck her over again”. She gets a job as a stripper and starts to build her ow photography business. But she has never settled down, much preferring her own predatory behavior towards women.
Until she meets Sasha.
Sasha isn’t gay, but Sam is convinced she can turn her. Sasha’s wariness means that Sam has to use a different tactic and she befriends her. They grow very close, with Sam being the person Sasha turns to when she splits with her boyfriend.
Eventually Sam wins Sasha over and the two become involved, but Sasha isn’t ready to come out of the closet. Sam thinks it will only be a matter of time before Sasha comes out so is quite happy with their life together at first. Eventually, Sam grows weary of Sasha dragging her heels on the whole coming out thing and ends up outing her in front of her college buddies. Sasha is petrified her very religious family will find out about her sexuality and again drags her heels over telling them. When she does eventually tell them they disown her. This hurts her so much that she becomes very distant with Sam. Sam hates this and ends up cheating on Sasha. Sasha finds them and she flees to her family home looking for forgiveness and solace. But her family still shun her and hours later, a brokenhearted and dejected Sasha overdoses. She is unable to be saved and this tragedy sends Sam spiraling out of control once more.
Sam is her own worst enemy but you have to feel for her. She is so messed up, and who can blame her with the abuse she has suffered, repeatedly? She has gotten so used to looking out for number one that she finds it hard to be there in the capacity that Sasha needs her to be. After Sasha’s death Sam blames herself and reverts back to her predatory ways, but help is at hand and she does sort her life out.
This story is very powerful. As you read it you experience Sam’s emotional trauma and you feel for her. The issues that this book deal with are extremely upsetting and the raw emotion that gets stirred up leaves you quite emotional. It is a well written, thought provoking book. I really did not expect to enjoy it all, but I have to admit that I really did.
A read that takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions and really gets you thinking about the impact sexual abuse has on the lives of the victims.
***** 5 stars.