Brief reviews and recommendations of the trilogy:
This White House (Book One) Going Sane (Book Two) and A Spectacular Dawn (Book Three)
Recovery from Incest through Painting My Story by Gabriel Orion Marie
Critique by Amanda Baird, M.A., R.Psych:
After completing the literary and artistic journey that encompasses Gabriel Orion Marie’s (G.O.M.) three books, This White House, Going Sane, and A Spectacular Dawn, I realized my insights as Psychologist and individual would be forever changed. G.O.M. honest language and artwork strips away the political correctness with which modern society discusses incestual childhood sexual abuse and its impacts. Through G.O.M, readers are given a first person, guided tour of the short-term and long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse, emotional abuse and torture. The author’s story also compels the reader to reflect on the dual reality of such abuse – the horror of trauma from a victim’s point of view, as well as the protective mechanisms a child can conjure to survive behind the curtain of abuse. As well, she illustrates the facades these survivors use to navigate the “normalcy” of daily life. In G.O.M’s case, she created numerous personas that helped her dissociate or appear “normal” as needed.
In the initial phases of her psychological journey to emotional and physical consciousness, G.O.M describes the difficulties with voicing the traumas she had experienced. Her psychologist, who she refers to as Dr. A, recommended that she explore using paintings and drawings to help with the healing process – G.O.M took this suggestion to heart and immersed herself. The author/artist’s books hold over 100 prints of the artwork she used to express her reality and the trauma she experienced at the hands of her biological father. Accordingly, G.O.M’s books are not only a literary journey, but a visual one as well. G.O.M. paintings add the visual impact of abuse and healing that, at times, words cannot communicate. It is an interesting experience for the reader to have a visual representation of the fear, horror, confusion, dissociation and strength that G.O.M. experienced over her years of psychotherapy.
From a psychological perspective I was enthralled with how G.O.M’s second book explained her process of “going sane” and how ironically painful this was for her. As a young psychologist, I feel it is very important that other professionals in the field are aware of G.O.M’s work. The insights this author provides have been more valuable to my understanding of trauma and trauma work than any article I have read, any coursework I have completed, or any degree I have obtained to date. As a result I will take this opportunity to speak to all professors in the field – I urge that you adopt G.O.M.’s books into your required reading materials, and encourage your students to process this information and what it means for them and their future practices.
G.O.M’s non-fiction series transfers the verbal paralysis she initially experienced to her audience. I could not find the words to describe what I had just read and how powerfully this firsthand account of abuse and healing was written and illustrated. The reader not only experiences G.O.M’s emotional journey and why she had to rely on art for the words to follow, but her writing and art work takes the reader on an emotional journey that is individual to every reader – a journey that causes an internal shift that, for the most part, is also indescribable.
—Amanda Baird, (Edmonton, Alberta)
“It is difficult not to be in awe of what Gabriel Orion Marie has accomplished. She has thoroughly healed from incest, unremitting throughout her childhood, which included sexual torture and being prostituted and used for child pornography. Left with a splintered personality and multiple psychiatric and medical conditions, she found the strength in midlife to seek assistance in reclaiming her life. “Dr. A,” a psychologist, became her refuge, mirror, and witness as she proceeded over eight years to unearth experiences, express emotions, honor her inner selves, unify her persona, grieve, forgive, and cultivate a blossoming spiritual life.
Early in therapy, Gabriel despaired of ever being able to communicate the depth of her experience in words; and due to brainwashing, she feared, beyond rational thought, to “tell” on her father. At the suggestion of Dr. A, she began painting her experience and bringing the artwork to her therapy sessions. Art therapists and others know the value of art making in working with trauma patients. These books support, illustrate, and expand on this knowledge in a unique way. This author not only “has been there” and created a quantity of evocative art work, but is amazingly perceptive and eloquent in her writing about the therapeutic relationship and her personal evolution.
I wholeheartedly recommend this set of books as a resource for students and professionals alike. I know that I will continue to refer to them in my private practice as an art therapist, as a university educator of graduate art therapy students, and as a post-graduate supervisor.”
—Libby Schmanke, ATR-BC (Board-Certified Art Therapist), (Kansas, USA)
“These books will significantly deepen your understanding of incest and the impact it has on its victims. Gabriel does not water down her experience or its effects. The images she created bring her words alive. These books may be difficult for some people to read because they are so intense and raw. However, I believe Gabriel’s story told through this series is a courageous gift to all of us. Anyone who has gone through similar experiences will find validation and hope; those who have not, will find a riveting story of suffering and transformation that offer a new perspective on incest. These books will also be useful for helping professionals, in deepening their understanding of incest, as the well as the process of recovery and healing.”
—Vicente Gannam, PhD (Toronto, Ontario)
Your books are incredible. I don’t know if you need me to tell you that or not, but they are. Remember, I’m a professional writer and even I can’t find anything to pick at. Oh sure, a word or two here and there, maybe a comma, but your story completely dwarfs any such mundane considerations. Your art has a stange effect on me too. There was a time when my cousin Judith considered herself a multiple, although she and her therapist decided it was extreme disassociation. Usually I can easily put “survivor art” into categories, but not yours. It’s this amazing combination of art and art therapy both, and it straddles and transcends the two. For me your pictures are inseparable from your words, and I want to do justice to that here in the Gallery. I don’t feel as if I’m putting this very well, and that’s rare for someone who considers herself an excellent communicator!
You’ll hear from me again very soon.
—Jean Cozier, (Chicago, Illinois)
“Gabriel Orion Marie’s first book, This White House, is not just for other victims of abuse or those involved with them.
It is very much for them, and powerfully so. Every professional in a field of therapeutic healing would benefit greatly in many ways, including the profound mentoring witness of Dr. A.
But all of us can find Heath, Hope, Meaning and Healing in her humble, open, sincere, and exquisite telling of her path, discovery, pain and the ultimate recovery that we all seek:
“I no longer fear death nor do I fear life. I just am and it is very good” is the silent cry within that each one of us wants to be able to proclaim and Gabriel Orion Marie has done so profoundly:”
“I am living my own impossible dream”
“I want you to have the dignity of participating in your own Resurrection.”
“I have rediscovered God in the Resurrection of theChild that I AM, a little ray from the Light of God that cannot be extinguished”
These are the deepest longings of all children and adults of all the forms of abuse that comes with living out our painful lives.
This is a book of Hope like none other, a must read for victims of any abuse and for anyone who deals with them, lives with them, or loves them. And it is a must read for the rest of us as well because we don’t always know we are dealing with, living with and loving one who has been through the horror that our new friend and author, Gabriel Orion Marie, so deeply shares with us.”
—Marie Emmanuelle, (Paris France)
“The life story of Gabriel Orion Marie is told with images from the inner world of a hurt and splintered child. With great courage, she shows us a world in which no child should ever have to live, but in which she had to survive. I admire and honor her strength for stepping into the world of the living and sharing this story with us.”
—Esther Veerman, (The Netherlands)
“Gabriel Orion Marie’s paintings have touched my soul. I encouraged her to follow her heart and give her paintings and story a place in the world where others may find encouragement and perhaps even hear the cry of their own souls in the mirror of her paintings.”
—Marilyn Van Derbur, (Author Miss America By Day)
“Gabriel Orion Marie brings you through the painful journey beginning with infant/child sexual abuse to discovering how to emerge sane to showing us the renewed possibility of living in a spectacular dawn. She is truly a brave woman who with the guidance of an angel has empowered herself and regained what those closest to her took away.”
—R. R. Sew (Naples, Florida)