“Observing the care with which my son treated his children, I thought to myself, ‘the cycle of craziness is broken.’ The trail of our suffering has come to an end.”
This is the story of a courageous young woman who grew up in a home headed by a sexual predator and an abused mother who lost her mind when Christine was only fourteen, disappearing until she was a mother herself. It recounts the secrets and lies that were designed to protect the darkest family secret of all, which had the effect of making the eight children strangers to each other, and then prisoners of the passions that disordered their lives, and set them against each other.
Christine’s story is filled with intense dramas—the horrifying revenge of the chosen son, the struggle between mother and daughter to the edge of the grave, and finally, the saga of Christine’s climb out of the family wreck: how the birth of her child provided a new compass; how the family traumas failed to derail her quest to free herself and her new family from the chains of the past. The climax of her tale is a showdown with her siblings set off by the dark revelations of the sister at the center of the family secret. This is an inspiring, beautifully told story of individual courage with life lessons for others seeking to break free of similar circumstances.
"Courageous, heartbreaking, infuriating, and ultimately victorious; a significant contribution to the cycle-of-abuse literature."
– Kirkus Reviews
“A survivor’s tale indeed. This was like reading my story. The damage done to children by abuse and alcoholism is lifelong unless you are able to gather the I’ll show yous and take back your life. The child feels it’s their fault, creating the continual cycle of destruction to prove again and again that you really are the piece of crap you’ve been programmed to believe. Very few find their way out, so deep is the damage. Christine Stein did it. If you’ve lived any version of this life, read this book and you will find hope, help, and inspiration to fix yourself and inherit the life you have always deserved. Her story has meaning. This is a great and important work.”
– Suzanne Somers, actress and author of Keeping Secrets
“I was completely blown away by this beautiful book. Once I started reading, I couldn't stop. It’s an incredible saga and I was riveted from beginning to end.”
– Adam Bellow, Editorial Director, All Points Press
"It was a mixture of pain and pleasure reading Christine's journey. One of the most important things we do at the Barbara Sinatra Center for Abused Children is to give those who have been through these traumas hope. Christine’s story is a gift that will do just that.”
– Helene Galen, Chair of the Barbara Sinatra Center for Abused Children
“You will touch lives. Your book gives hope to millions of adults who were traumatized as children. Your very survival gives hope to those who wonder if healing is possible. Thank you for sharing your courageous story of victory.”
– Marilyn Van Derbur, Miss America 1958, abuse survivor. Author, Miss America by Day
“Wow. What an unbelievable saga, and so beautifully told. It’s amazing Christine not only survived, but led a healthy and productive life having grown up amongst a gang of borderline personalities.”
– Joel Surnow, creator and producer of the TV series "24"
“I picked up Climbing Out of the Wreck on a Friday evening and kept reading through the entire night. I was completely shaken by it. The book is an explosion! So profound and personal in its description of the terrible cruelty perpetrated on the family by adults over generations. And, in reading Suzanne Somers’ foreword, I know that it will resonate with so many traumatized victims, who have had to keep their secrets since childhood for so many years.”