“I have been amazing with the response to this book,” stated author Marianne Curtis. “I knew people would be touched by it, but I was not prepared for the ripple effect.”
Rae of Hope: Stories from Survivors contains almost two dozen stories written by real survivors of bullying from Canada, the US and United Kingdom. It also includes a significant resource section that focuses on nearly every type of bullying imaginable.
Jake Epp Library in Steinbach hosted the official local launch with about two dozen people in attendance. Several contributors bravely stood up and shared their stories for the first time.
“It was a very emotional night; three of the writers stood up and there was not a dry eye in the room. It was amazing to see what was happening to people as other’s opened up and bravely spoke for the first time,” Curtis added. “It is a subject everyone seems to connect with in one way or another, unfortunately.”
Some of the contributors are well known locally including Evan Wiens, and Candace Maxymovich. There are even stories from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia, including one by Leah Parsons, the mother of Rehteah Parsons.
“Rehteah’s story was the hardest to tell but I was determined to include it because her story and name inspired this project,” Curtis explained. “However, a publication ban would not allow me to print her name in the book. Even though it was in her own words, I could not print Leah’s daughter’s name, and it made me sick to my stomach. I vow to print a new edition when and if the ban is ever lifted.”
While the ramifications of releasing such a book are unpredictable, reaction across Canada has been felt. In Saskatchewan, Jenna Nickie, who shared her son’s story in the book, received a surprise phone call from the province’s Minister of Education.
“The province say Breck’s story in the local paper after the book came out, and they called me the next day to set up a meeting,” Nickie stated. “I have been trying to get someone to hear me, and finally they are paying attention.”
Curtis is already working on followup volumes and plans on tackling the subjects of domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual violence.
“People are already sending me their stories for upcoming books; now that people know it is okay to share, they want the world to know what they’ve experienced, especially if it can help save a life,” Curtis concluded.
Rae of Hope: Stories from Survivors is available locally at several businesses and can be purchased online from the author’s website mariannecurtisauthor.wix.com/mariannecurtis or through Amazon, Barnes and Nobel, Kobo and other online bookstores.