At the age of 14, the author was kidnapped while walking to choir practice during an ice storm. Her abductor drove around town for what seemed like hours before forcing his victim to make a ransom call to her father. He then raped her and drove her to a stockyard, leaving her bound and alone and ice continued to pelt the landscape and temperatures dropped. This event, while violent and traumatizing, came amid years of physical and psychological abuse at the hands of her mother. Dancing with the Octopus is Debora Hardring’s account of her childhood and how her relationship with her father saved her–albeit in ways she herself wouldn’t fully understand until years later.
The narrative felt chaotic at times; however, that may have been an intentional choice. The author describes what she went through–the pain and trauma, healing and resilience, along with every back step or doubt. As readers go along with her on this journey, her storytelling resolves into a much more linear timeline that endures through the end of the book. An astounding read by an admirable author.