March 02 , 2011

The S Word

A Memoir About Secrets


In accordance with her Sicilian Catholic family’s unspoken code, Paolina Milana learned at an early age to keep her secrets locked away where no one could find them. Nobody outside the family needed to know about the voices her Mamma battled in her head; or about how Paolina forged her birth certificate at thirteen so she could get a job at The Donut Shop; or about the police officer twenty-six years her senior whose promise to her Papà to “keep an eye on her” quickly translated into something sinister. And perhaps that’s why no one saw it coming when—on the eve of her sweet sixteen, pushed to edge—Paolina attempted to take her own mother’s life. Raw and compelling, The S Word is the true story of a girl who nearly suffocates in the silence she was taught to value above all else—until she finally finds the strength to break free of the secrets binding her and save herself.

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