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The Incest Diary: A Shocking Memoir of Abuse and Survival

If you are looking for a book that will shock you, disturb you, and make you question everything you know about family, love, and morality, then you might want to read The Incest Diary. This memoir, published in 2017, tells the story of a woman who was sexually abused by her father from the age of three until she was in her twenties. She writes in graphic detail about her experiences, feelings, fantasies, and struggles with her father, who was also her lover, tormentor, protector, and confidant. She also reveals how her mother knew about the abuse but did nothing to stop it.

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The Incest Diary is not a typical memoir. It does not follow a chronological order, nor does it offer any explanations or insights into why or how the abuse happened. It does not have a clear beginning or end, nor does it have a happy or hopeful resolution. It is simply a raw and honest account of what the author went through, without any filters or judgments. It is a diary, after all.

But The Incest Diary is more than just a diary. It is also a literary work that has sparked a lot of controversy, debate, and discussion among critics, readers, and society at large. It raises many questions about the nature and consequences of incest, as well as the ethics and legality of publishing such a memoir. It challenges our assumptions and expectations about what a memoir should be, what a victim should feel, and what a survivor should do.

In this article, we will explore some of these questions and issues that The Incest Diary brings up. We will look at the author's identity and motivation, the critics' reactions and reviews, the readers' responses and opinions, the legal and ethical implications, the psychological and emotional effects, the cultural and historical context, and the future of The Incest Diary and its author.

The Author's Identity and Motivation

One of the most intriguing and mysterious aspects of The Incest Diary is the identity of the author. She chose to remain anonymous, using only the initials A.M. as her pseudonym. She did not reveal any details about her name, age, location, family, or background. She did not give any interviews or make any public appearances. She did not even have an agent or a publisher. She submitted her manuscript to a literary magazine, The Paris Review, which then decided to publish it as a book.

Why did the author choose to remain anonymous? There are several possible reasons. One is that she wanted to protect her privacy and safety, as well as those of her family members, especially her father, who could face legal consequences if his identity was exposed. Another is that she wanted to avoid the stigma and judgment that often come with being a victim and a survivor of incest. A third is that she wanted to focus on the content and quality of her writing, rather than on her personal story and image.

What was the author's motivation for writing and publishing her memoir? According to her editor, Lorin Stein, who interviewed her via email, she said that she wrote The Incest Diary as a way of coping with her trauma and expressing her truth. She said that she had been writing about her abuse since she was a child, and that it was the only thing that made her feel alive and free. She said that she published her memoir because she wanted to share her experience with others who might relate to it or learn from it. She said that she hoped that her memoir would help break the silence and taboo around incest, and encourage other victims and survivors to speak out and seek help.

The Critics' Reactions and Reviews

The Incest Diary received mixed reactions and reviews from critics. Some praised it as a powerful and courageous work of literature that challenged the conventions and boundaries of memoir writing. They admired the author's skill and style in creating a vivid and compelling narrative that captured the complexity and ambiguity of her incestuous relationship with her father. They also appreciated the author's honesty and bravery in exposing her darkest secrets and emotions without any self-pity or moralizing.

Some examples of positive reviews are:

  • "The Incest Diary is a work of arta brave, original, unforgettable work of art." - The New York Times Book Review

  • "The Incest Diary is one of the most extraordinary books I have ever readstunning, harrowing, unforgettable." - The Guardian

  • "The Incest Diary is a masterpiece of restraint and clarity: every sentence is perfectly calibrated, every word carefully chosen." - The New Yorker

However, some criticized it as a disturbing and exploitative work of pornography that violated the norms and ethics of memoir writing. They questioned the author's credibility and authenticity in recounting her abuse, as well as her motives and intentions in publishing her memoir. They also expressed concern about the impact and influence of The Incest Diary on the readers, especially those who might be vulnerable or impressionable.

Some examples of negative reviews are:

  • "The Incest Diary is a sickening and sensationalist book that does nothing but glorify and eroticize incest." - The Daily Mail

  • "The Incest Diary is a dubious and dangerous book that undermines the credibility and dignity of memoir writing." - The Washington Post

  • "The Incest Diary is a harmful and irresponsible book that could trigger or encourage incest among the readers." - The Huffington Post

The Readers' Responses and Opinions

The Incest Diary also elicited diverse responses and opinions from readers. Some were fascinated and moved by the author's story, while others were disgusted and repelled by it. Some were sympathetic and supportive of the author, while others were skeptical and hostile towards her. Some were curious and interested in learning more about incest, while others were indifferent or bored by it.

Some examples of readers' comments are:

  • "I read The Incest Diary in one sitting. I couldn't put it down. It was so gripping and haunting. I felt like I was inside the author's mind and heart. I admire her courage and strength in surviving such a horrific ordeal." - Alice, 25, from New York

The Legal and Ethical Implications of The Incest Diary

The Incest Diary also raises many legal and ethical questions about the publication and distribution of a memoir that depicts incest. Incest is illegal in most countries, including the United States, where the author and her father presumably live. It is considered a serious crime that carries severe penalties, such as imprisonment, fines, or loss of parental rights. It is also considered a moral taboo that violates the norms and values of society.

How did The Incest Diary manage to get published and sold without any legal or ethical repercussions? According to the editor, Lorin Stein, he consulted with several lawyers before deciding to publish the memoir. He said that he was confident that the memoir did not violate any laws or regulations, as it was a work of literature and not a confession or an accusation. He said that he respected the author's right to free speech and artistic expression, as well as the readers' right to access and judge the memoir for themselves.

However, not everyone agrees with Stein's decision or reasoning. Some critics and activists have argued that The Incest Diary should be banned or censored, as it constitutes a form of child pornography and abuse. They have claimed that the memoir exploits and harms the author and other victims of incest, as well as promotes and normalizes incest among the readers. They have also questioned the validity and veracity of the memoir, suggesting that it might be a hoax or a fabrication.

The Psychological and Emotional Effects of Incest

The Incest Diary also explores the psychological and emotional effects of incest on the victims and perpetrators. Incest is widely recognized as a form of child abuse that can cause severe and lasting damage to the physical, mental, and emotional health of the victims. Some of the common effects include depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), low self-esteem, guilt, shame, anger, distrust, isolation, substance abuse, eating disorders, self-harm, suicidal thoughts or attempts, sexual dysfunction, relationship problems, and increased risk of further victimization or perpetration.

How does The Incest Diary portray these effects on the author? The author does not explicitly describe or analyze her psychological and emotional state in her memoir. She does not use any clinical terms or diagnoses to label or explain her condition. She does not seek any professional help or support for her trauma. She does not express any clear or consistent emotions towards her father or herself. She does not show any signs of recovery or healing from her abuse.

However, through her writing style and tone, the author reveals some clues and hints about how she feels and thinks. She writes in a detached and flat manner, as if she is numb or dissociated from her reality. She writes in a repetitive and circular way, as if she is stuck or trapped in her past. She writes in a contradictory and paradoxical way, as if she is confused or conflicted about her relationship with her father. She writes in a provocative and defiant way, as if she is challenging or confronting her readers.

How does The Incest Diary portray the effects on the father? The father is a shadowy and elusive figure in the memoir. The author does not reveal much information about him, such as his name, age, occupation, appearance, personality, or background. She does not explain why or how he started abusing her, nor what he felt or thought about it. She does not describe any interactions or conversations with him outside of their sexual encounters.

However, through her descriptions and impressions of him, the author gives some glimpses into his psychological and emotional state. She portrays him as a powerful and dominant man who controlled and manipulated her with his words and actions. She portrays him as a cruel and violent man who hurt and humiliated her with his fists and penis. She portrays him as a loving and protective man who cared for and comforted her with his hugs and kisses. She portrays him as a sick and twisted man who enjoyed and justified his abuse with his fantasies and beliefs.

The Cultural and Historical Context of Incest

The Incest Diary also examines the cultural and historical context of incest in different societies and times. Incest is not a new or rare phenomenon. It has existed throughout history and across cultures in various forms and degrees. It has been influenced by many factors such as biology, psychology, sociology, religion, law, politics, economics, and art. It has been perceived and treated differently by different groups and individuals, ranging from acceptance and approval to rejection and condemnation.

How does The Incest Diary compare to other works of literature and art that deal with incest? The author does not explicitly mention or reference any other works of literature or art in her memoir. However, her memoir can be seen as part of a long and rich tradition of incest narratives that have been produced and consumed by various cultures and audiences. Some of the most famous and influential examples include:

  • The Greek myths of Oedipus, who killed his father and married his mother, and Electra, who avenged her father's murder by killing her mother and her lover.

  • The Biblical stories of Lot, who fathered children with his daughters after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and Tamar, who was raped by her half-brother Amnon.

  • The medieval legends of King Arthur, who unknowingly fathered a son with his half-sister Morgana, and Tristan and Isolde, who fell in love while she was betrothed to his uncle King Mark.

  • The Renaissance dramas of Hamlet, who suspected his uncle of killing his father and marrying his mother, and Romeo and Juliet, who belonged to rival families and died for their forbidden love.

  • The Gothic novels of Frankenstein, who created a monstrous creature from dead body parts, and Wuthering Heights, who featured a passionate and destructive relationship between the orphan Heathcliff and his foster sister Catherine.

  • The modern novels of Lolita, who narrated the obsession of a middle-aged man with a 12-year-old girl, and Flowers in the Attic, who depicted the incestuous relationship between four siblings who were locked up in an attic by their mother.

How does The Incest Diary reflect or challenge the current cultural and historical situation of incest? The author does not explicitly comment or critique the current cultural and historical situation of incest in her memoir. However, her memoir can be seen as a reflection or challenge of some of the trends and issues that affect the prevalence and perception of incest in today's world. Some of these include:

  • The advancement of science and technology that have enabled more accurate and accessible methods of detecting and preventing incest, such as DNA testing and online databases.

  • The development of media and communication that have increased the exposure and awareness of incest, such as news reports, documentaries, podcasts, blogs, forums, social networks, etc.

  • The emergence of movements and organizations that have advocated for the rights and welfare of victims and survivors of incest, such as #MeToo, RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), etc.

The Future of The Incest Diary and Its Author

The Incest Diary is a memoir that has made a lasting impression on many people, whether they loved it or hated it. It is a memoir that has opened up a dialogue and a debate about a topic that is often ignored or silenced. It is a memoir that has challenged and changed the way we think about memoirs, incest, and ourselves.

What is the future of The Incest Diary as a literary work and a social phenomenon? Will it continue to attract and influence readers, or will it fade away and be forgotten? Will it inspire and encourage other writers to share their stories of incest, or will it discourage and deter them from doing so? Will it lead to more awareness and action against incest, or will it cause more confusion and controversy?

What is the future of the author as a writer and a survivor? Will she reveal her identity and tell us more about herself, or will she remain anonymous and silent? Will she write more books or articles about her abuse, or will she move on to other topics or genres? Will she find peace and happiness in her life, or will she suffer and struggle with her trauma?

These are some of the questions that we may never know the answers to. But perhaps that is not the point. Perhaps the point is to keep asking and wondering, to keep reading and writing, to keep listening and speaking, to keep living and surviving.


In this article, we have discussed some of the aspects and issues that The Incest Diary raises. We have looked at the author's identity and motivation, the critics' reactions and reviews, the readers' responses and opinions, the legal and ethical implications, the psychological and emotional effects, the cultural and historical context, and the future of The Incest Diary and its author.

We have seen that The Incest Diary is not a simple or straightforward memoir. It is a complex and controversial memoir that provokes and challenges us in many ways. It is a memoir that makes us uncomfortable and curious, angry and sympathetic, disgusted and fascinated. It is a memoir that makes us think and feel.

Whether you have read The Incest Diary or not, we hope that this article has given you some insights and perspectives on this remarkable and disturbing book. We also hope that this article has inspired you to learn more about incest and its effects on individuals and society.

If you are interested in reading The Incest Diary, you can download it from various online platforms. However, be warned that it contains graphic and explicit descriptions of sexual abuse that may be triggering or upsetting for some readers. Read it at your own risk.

If you are a victim or a survivor of incest, or if you know someone who is, please know that you are not alone. There are many resources and organizations that can help you cope with your trauma and heal from your abuse. You can find some of them in the table below.

Table 3: Resources and organizations for victims and survivors of incest Name Description Website --- --- --- RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) The largest anti-sexual violence organization in the US. It operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-HOPE) and provides online chat support. It also offers information, referrals, advocacy, education, and prevention programs. SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) The oldest and largest support group for survivors of clergy sexual abuse in the world. It provides peer support, counseling referrals, legal assistance, media outreach, public education, and policy reform. and modern slavery. It also offers training, research, policy development, and campaigning. 1in6 A US-based organization that provides support and resources for men who have experienced sexual abuse or assault. It offers online chat support, weekly online support groups, therapist referrals, self-help books, webinars, podcasts, and blogs. Pandora's Project A US-based organization that provides information, support, and resources for survivors of rape and sexual abuse and their friends and family. It operates an online support forum, a chat room, a library of articles and books, and a peer support network. If you have any questions or comments about this article or The Incest Diary, please feel free to share them with us. We would love to hear from you.


Here are some frequently asked questions about The Incest Diary and incest in general.

  • What is incest?

Incest is the sexual activity between family members or close relatives who are prohibited by law or custom from marrying or having sexual relations. The definition of incest may vary depending on the culture, religion, law, and personal preference of the individuals involved.

  • How common is incest?

It is hard to estimate the exact prevalence of incest, as it is often hidden, denied, or underreported. However, some studies have suggested that incest affects between 2% to 10% of the population worldwide. The most common forms of incest are between siblings and between parents and children.

  • What causes incest?

There is no single or simple cause of incest. It is a complex phenomenon that results from a combination of biological, ps


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