My Africa my Home: "The Fault in the Family" Memoirs - Book 1
Scrawny, and straw-haired, seven-year-old Jenny wakes up frozen. Her eyes won’t open, her voice refuses to work, she can't even move her lips or her tongue. In fear, she grasps for her face, but her arms are both tied down, splayed out at either side. Why can’t she move? Where is she? And how did she get here? Her immediate assumption is that this is a punishment. But what was her crime? She searches through a mass of fear and fog, and as a blurry picture begins to form, of noise and drama, snot and tears, horror and panic …. she finds it. That must be it. She'd ignored the rules, fractured the silence, made a scene. She'd broken the cardinal rule; she'd been disobedient. Publicly. She'd broken free of “invisible” and caused all this terrible trouble. Was she finally paying the price?
Neglect doesn’t always look like dirty or starved or diseased or beaten. Neglect is chronic and often invisible. In a small bubble entirely cut off from the rest of the world, scrawny little Jenny's voice, squashed by her parent’s need to find their own, is swiftly silenced, again and again. But her shine refused to die and survived within her as a spark, a fighting spirit, and a sense of hope that defies logic.
In this, the first book in the Fault in the Family Memoirs, Jennifer shares her gripping story of chronic neglect and loneliness in her teeny-tiny-bubble-of-a-world, slap bang in the middle of white, privileged, apartheid South Africa in the seventies. In My Africa My Home, Jennifer sets the tone and the background for this epic journey that will transport the reader through five decades, two families, eight international moves, multiple diagnoses, and a shocking hundred-year-old legacy that underpins it all, in her search for identity, “home” and a place to belong.
Her story is one of crushing loneliness and isolation, but more than that, it's ultimately a story of resilience, hope, and redemption in ways that she could never have imagined.
A mentor, counsellor, artist, and now a successful author, Jennifer writes for various blogs, The Mighty, and other public spaces on neglect, emotional abuse, anxiety, disability and chronic illness. You can find her on most social media platforms under @JPeaSmith.