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Review – The Last Closet

Moira Greyland has published The Last Closet: The Dark Side of Avalon, the story of her upbringing in what can only be described as appalling circumstances.

Marion Zimmer Bradley was a bestselling science fiction author, a feminist icon, and was awarded the World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement. She was best known for the Arthurian fiction novel THE MISTS OF AVALON and for her very popular Darkover series.

She was also a monster.

THE LAST CLOSET: The Dark Side of Avalon is a brutal tale of a harrowing childhood. It is the true story of predatory adults preying on the innocence of children without shame, guilt, or remorse. It is an eyewitness account of how high-minded utopian intellectuals, unchecked by law, tradition, religion, or morality, can create a literal Hell on Earth.

THE LAST CLOSET is also an inspiring story of survival. It is a powerful testimony to courage, to hope, and to faith. It is the story of Moira Greyland, the only daughter of Marion Zimmer Bradley and convicted child molester Walter Breen, told in her own words.

This is not an easy book to read, but that is because of the subject matter, not the writing. The fact that the author has been able to survive the horrific circumstances of her early life is uplifting on its own.  I have known folks who went through abuse, both as children and as adults, but nothing I have heard or seen prepared me for the images this book put into my head.  Greyland has the good taste to not go into minute detail about the sexual aspect of her parents’ sexual abuse, but what she did share will shock and horrify any decent person.  She also paints a vivid, detailed picture of the physical and emotional abuse heaped upon all of her parents’ victims, not to tittilate, but to inform.

Throughout the story, and especially as I read the appendices that included testimony from lawsuits in the late 1990’s, as well as reports of an earlier scandal involving her father from the early 1960’s, I kept thinking to myself “Why didn’t someone step in?”.  Greyland’s story reinforces the duty that adults have to speak out when something seems wrong, and to not accept those things that bring harm to the defenseless.

This is definitely a book that I will recommend to others, but it’s not a casual read.  Greyland grabs you and doesn’t let go.  She doesn’t use tension or action to do this.  Rather, her candor and courage in telling this tale draw the reader in, helping them to envision the places and situations that she and others endured.

1 Comment

  1. It truly IS a hard read…

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