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The Tricky Part

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The Tricky Part by Martin Moran
Apr 11, 2006 | ISBN 9780307276537
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    Apr 11, 2006 | ISBN 9780307276537

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    May 17, 2016 | ISBN 9780807084502

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    Mar 25, 2014 | ISBN 9780807096369

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"Marvelous, courageous and above all, thoughtful."
The Washington Post

"A story of sexual abuse and its seemingly endless halflife–remarkable then, that this isn’t a book about blame, but forgiveness."—Kathryn Harrison

“A subtly rendered and remarkably even-handed journey toward redemption.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Wise and heartbreaking…an astonishing balancing act of a book.”—Body and Soul

“Elevates the confessional to the level of art.” —Michael Cunningham


Lambda Literary Award WINNER 2005

Author Essay

Martin Moran
Forgiveness: A Personal Essay

When I was a kid, forgiveness was just a word the nuns wrote on the chalkboard. Something you might try to give to someone else after they’d been bad to you. Something Jesus or Buddha were up to, but not the likes of me.

When I was twelve, a camp counselor molested me. Our illicit sex went on for three years. I grew taller and older holding the boy inside me hostage because I blamed him for being bad, for doing wrong. I couldn’t help it, and it was agonizing. I got even older and started writing about what happened, became obsessed with remembering, with using language to seek meaning in my story.

A day would arrive when I stood to face a pasty old man crumpled in his wheelchair, the counselor who’d wronged me when I was a child. The one who ignited my aching complicity. I looked at that perpetrator, at his stained pajamas, his puffy cheeks and I felt my heart break. For the helpless human in front of me, yes. But more so for the boy I once was. And somewhere in that breaking was the beginning of forgiveness. Somehow, because I’d spent so much time piecing together the narrative of my own life, I was able to see, to feel, how that boy was blameless and how forgiveness was the gift I must give to myself. In writing, the role of victim fell away to reveal a much larger view: life’s passage out of innocence and toward self-knowledge. It amazes me still.

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