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Books That Saved Me

A recommended reading list by the debut author of Crying Wolf: A Memoir.

Book Cover Crying Wolf

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Some people have wilted and frayed blankets from their childhood to mop up their tears when they spill over. Some people have tight-knit groups of friends or family to hold them up when the weight of the world is too much.

I have books.

Whether it was when as a child, invisible among the chaos of my sister’s turbulent spiral into addiction or my parents long warring divorce, and I needed a way to escape my reality. Or as an adult, after a violent sexual assault and I spent hours searching the shelves of any bookstore I could find, desperately seeking pages and words that would help me navigate my recovery.

Books have always been a safe space for me and one of the biggest reasons I wrote Crying Wolf, my story about recovery after sexual assault in the face of disbelief and stigma around nearly every turn.

The following books are just some of the ones that have been that safe space for me over the years and allowed me to find light in even the darkest times.


Book Cover The Dog Who Wouldn't Be

The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be, by Farley Mowat

When I was young and wanted to escape into a different world, almost nothing was more appealing than the story of another Canadian kid and his uncertain pup who refused to conform. Relating to both the boy and the mutt, this book was one of the first to give me a safe place to eek out my unique spirit.


Book Cover He Must Like You

He Must Like You, by Danielle Younge-Ullman

YA books have, oddly enough, become a go-to for me in my adult life. This is in part due to there just not being a lot of stories about smart, strong young women taking charge of their own lives when I was a teenager. This book let me go back in time and read about the kind of strength, resilience and sass I’d always wished I’d had as a young woman. 


BooK Cover Girls Need Not Apply

Girls Need Not Apply, by Kelly S Thompson

It’s no secret that the publishing industry is picky about stories that discuss rape culture. And in the Canadian landscape, memoirs that tackle such difficult topics are almost impossible to come by. So, when I was searching the shelves of every book store I could find during my recovery, this book was one that caught and held my attention. It was not only relatable but a much-needed reminder that I wasn’t alone.  


Book Cover Still Mine

Still Mine, by Amy Stuart

This is the first in a trilogy of thrillers, and if I could have included them all, trust me I would have. A dark and twisty tale of a woman on the run from her abusive ex-husband may not exactly sound like a safe space, but the way Amy Stuart was able to delve into what it’s really like to be a broken woman who just wants to start a new life, even when the world won’t let her, was incredibly powerful for someone like myself who hasn’t always felt completely in control of her destiny. This series gave me a heroine to look up to and a reason to keep turning the page.


Book Cover Good Mom on Paper

Good Mom on Paper, edited by Stacey May Fowles and Jen Sookfong Lee

A huge reason I started writing again, later in life, was to reclaim who I was outside of being a mother and wife. Being a mom is a blessing but it can also be all-consuming if you allow it to be, and I did. For many years. This book came out while I was finishing writing my memoir and it genuinely helped to keep me afloat when there was what felt like an insurmountable amount of mom-guilt pulling me back down. It helped me realize that every mom is walking a tightrope between duty to their family and following their passions.


Book Cover Gutter Child

Gutter Child, by Jael Richardson

This book came at a time when I was questioning whether I should keep writing about my story, whether I was the right person to tell it or if anyone would even want it. Gutter Child is unflinching in its honesty about injustice and while it served as a stark reminder of my white privilege, it also became a source of inspiration when I thought of all the sexual assault survivors who came before me that couldn’t speak up for themselves. It reminded me that if you can, it’s always worth it to tell the story of those who have been silenced.


Book Cover Had It COming

Had It Coming: What’s Fair In the Age Of #MeToo?, By Robyn Doolittle

I’ll be honest, this book was a difficult read. It was one of the first and few books I could find about Canadian rape culture and what we are (or aren’t) doing about it. While it was at times painful to read how many sexual assault cases sat, unseen on some courthouse docket, it was illuminating to also see a critical examination of the changing landscape of sexual politics in Canada. Ultimately, this book gave me hope for our country and culture.  


Book Cover the Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood

When I was 12 or 13 (yes, I know that’s too young for this book but it was the '90s) my mother handed me a paperback copy of The Handmaid’s Tale and I was changed forever. Not only was it by a Canadian female writer, when at that time I thought such people could only write about red-headed girls from Prince Edward Island, but she had roots in Nova Scotia where I grew up and wrote about a world that felt oddly familiar to the one I saw unfolding on the nightly news. The Handmaid’s Tale was my first introduction to real literature, but it was also the first time I saw the injustices of womanhood in such a stark way. Oddly enough, this book feels like home.


Book Cover Crying Wolf

Learn more about Crying Wolf: 

It’s a tale as old as time. Girl meets boy. Boy wants girl. Girl says no. Boy takes what he wants anyway.

After a violent sexual assault, Eden Boudreau was faced with a choice: call the police and explain that a man who wasn’t her husband, who she had agreed to go on a date with, had just raped her. Or go home and pray that, in the morning, it would be only a nightmare.

In the years that followed, Eden was met with disbelief by strangers, friends, and the authorities, often as a result of stigma towards her non-monogamy, sex positivity, and bisexuality. Societal conditioning of acceptable female sexuality silenced her to a point of despair, leading to addiction and even attempted suicide. It was through the act of writing that she began to heal.

Crying Wolf is a gripping memoir that shares the raw path to recovery after violence and spotlights the ways survivors are too often demonized or ignored when they belong to marginalized communities. Boudreau heralds a new era for others dismissed for “crying wolf.” After all, women prevailing to change society for others is also a tale as old as time.


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