‘Untangle’ offers unflinching portrayal of absue

By From page B2 | May 21, 2014

“Untangle: You Can’t Save Others Until You Save Yourself,” by Shirlee Scribner, published November 2013 by Scribner Media Inc., 258 pages, softcover and ebook versions.

When  El Dorado Hills resident Shirlee Scribner was 10 she witnessed a traumatic event between her parents, an event that precipitated the birth of her youngest brother, Dallas, and the end of her family as she knew it. As the seven children were parceled out to foster care homes and their parents escaped from each other, Scribner tried to keep the bonds between her siblings strong but a child has little power.

As an adult, Scribner built a new, successful life with her husband and a child of her own but when she decided to step in and save Dallas from the lifetime of abuse he endured, she found she had to heal herself before finding the power to rescue her brother.

“Untangle” is a true story about family and the bonds that both support you and can tear you apart. At times the memoir, in its unflinching portrayal of the abuse Dallas suffered at the hands of their mother, is difficult to read as it tears at your heartstrings.

“I wrote this book because I wanted to bring awareness of abuse and addiction. It happens all around us. It could be the neighbor next door  and it doesn’t matter what economic level — it’s hurtful to all,” said Scribner. “It’s not a new issue. The impacts of it can affect multiple generations and we have to stop it.

“‘Untangle’ is a message about hope and triumph over adversity,” continued Scribner, who said her four pillars — her faith, her grandmother, a trusted friend and education — helped her overcome the adversity of her childhood.

The book, which Scribner said almost seemed to write itself, was finished in two years and includes an epilogue that lets anxious readers know the current status of Scribner’s family. She is working on a new book, turning her hand to fiction this time, but with a similar message of hope.

“Untangle” is being explored for a movie and Scribner, herself, has been invited to speak at women’s rallies on behalf of preventing abuse.

Scribner will appear at a book signing event at Face in a Book in El Dorado Hills Town Center on May 22 from 6 to 8 p.m. Her book can be purchased online in ebook version from Google, Barnes & Noble and at Amazon.com in both softcover and Kindle. It can also be found at untanglethebook.com.

Wendy Schultz


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