Sin Child is Angela Howard’s powerful debut, her memoir of honesty and optimism in the face of abuse
Review by Susan Cushman
Mississippi native Angela Howard was given the pejorative label, “Sin Child,” by her Mennonite grandfather when she was born out of wedlock to his son and her mother. Howard suffered unimaginable abuse and neglect from her mother, her mother’s eleven husbands, and some of her other relatives. This abuse came in the form of physical beatings, threats with a boa constrictor, rape, verbal and emotional abuse, and abandonment.
Sin Child is a tumultuous ride through the drug and alcohol ridden rural towns in the hills of northeast Mississippi, where Howard survived a childhood under too many roofs to describe, making her way through life in the projects, beauty pageants (where she competed with her self-taught ventriloquist talent), numerous schools, and a job selling illegal beer and stolen cigarettes at a convenience store where drug deals happened in the back room. All of this before she turned eighteen.
More abuse at the hands of her Mennonite husband convinced her to go to college and eventually attain a B.S. degree in nursing, after giving birth to premature twin girls without any support from her husband. It was during her work as a nurse that she learned the connection between what she had experienced and PTSD—Post Traumatic Stress Disorder—and received counseling and encouragement to heal herself and help others.
Sin Child by Angela Howard
Austin Macauley Publishers USA
Published March 31, 2020
Howard is the founder of PTSD-ACED Foundation, Inc. She is highly impacted by the adverse effects of PTSD secondary to ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences). She herself has the highest ACE score of 10. Howard’s health has been adversely affected as she suffers from multiple autoimmune disorders. Her desire is to bring increased awareness of ACEs by educating those in the medical and educational fields.
Fans of Mary Karr’s The Liar’s Club and Cherry, Kim Michele Richardson’s The Unbreakable Child, and Tara Westover’s Educated: A Memoir will recognize a kindred voice in Angela Howard’s writing. Her raw honesty overlaid with undying optimism comes through on every page, as she leads the reader with authority and a depth of emotion we only see in the most gifted memoir writers. This is a powerful debut book and an important message for our times.
Susan Cushman is author of a memoir, Tangles and Plaques: A Mother and Daughter Face Alzheimer’s, a novel,Cherry Bomb, and a short story collection, Friends of the Library. She had edited three anthologies of essays by other authors: A Second Blooming: Becoming the Women We Are Meant to Be, Southern Writers on Writing, and The Pulpwood Queens Celebrate 20 Years! A native of Jackson, Mississippi, Cushman lives in Memphis.