The Little Girl on the Ice Floe by Adélaïde Bon
Before diving into the review of The Little Girl on the Ice Floe, it is important to note that this book is a non-fiction account of the author’s childhood. It revolves around a sexual assault inflicted upon her at the age of nine. It is a harrowing read, that will upset some readers.
When Adélaïde’s parents find her mute and unable to explain why she is crying, they take her to the police station and file a complaint against ‘X’ for sexual assault. The nine-year-old grows up without showing any outward signs of damage. However, as a teen and then as an outwardly cheerful young woman, she suffers in silence. Bon battles her demons alone.
However, her parents are supportive and she has access to group and individual therapy sessions.
Throughout her life Bon suffers from crippling panic attacks, rage, bulimia, and trouble forming relationships. She turns to drugs and sex in a bid to numb herself from reality.
The ‘jellyfish’ as she calls them, wind their way through her life and take over. She often withdraws and likens herself to being stranded on a frozen wasteland, a ‘little girl on the ice floe’ waiting for rescue.
More than two decades later, Bon receives a call from the juvenile squad of the police. An investigator has reopened the case of ‘the electrician’’ and DNA points to a man known to the police as a serial burglar.
This man is subsequently charged with assaulting 72 minors between 1983 and 2003. It was suspected that he hurt hundred more who never filed complaints.
In 2016, Bon, along with 18 other women, confronted the monster that destroyed her life.
Bon writes with elegance and grace. It is absolutely heart-breaking read as Bon both matter-of-factly and poetically recounts the reality of being a survivor of rape. Bon offers an insight into post traumatic stress disorder, and how a child’s brain simply shut out the brutal reality with confronted with overwhelming circumstances.
At times, it is very, very hard to read. The effects of the rape follow Bon every day, and it’s brutally hard to comprehend her darkest days.
There is hope though. Bon also documents the court case of Giovanni Costa, the ‘electrician’ who so callously destroyed her life. Her power and determination to vanquish him and reclaim the life he stole from her is powerful, inspiring reading.
Reviewer: Rebekah Fraser
Hachette NZ, RRP $34.99