Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Call Me Tuesday by Leigh Byrne (CBR-IV #50)

Cannonball Read IV: Book #50/52
Published: 2012
Pages: 328
Genre: Nonfiction

This book is supposedly a "fictionalized account of a true story", but is listed on Goodreads as nonfiction so I'm not sure EXACTLY what that means, but nonetheless, it's a compelling novel about child abuse. Tuesday (named after actress Tuesday Weld) endures horrific physical and psychological abuse at the hands of her mother after the death of her older sister. Her sister had polio and died after complications from the Hong Kong flu. 

Soon after her sister's death, Tuesday's mother receives a brain injury after a fall down the stairs. She's never the same after that and blames Tuesday for killing her other daughter. Tuesday has a few younger brothers who are treated normally, so she just assumes that her mother hates her. She is always being "punished", but never knows what she did to be in trouble. The physical abuse is horrific, but the mental abuse is awful as well. She is forced to stand facing the wall in the hallway whenever she is home. She is usually not fed dinner and if she is, her mother makes these disgusting concoctions to make her eat. She is not allowed to bathe and has to wear old, too small clothes to school so she gets made fun of. 

The most disgusting thing? Tuesday tells her friend in Jr. High and ends up running away. Social services makes a house call and completely believes her parents when they say everything is okay. No follow-up calls, just a few months with a counselor who apparently doesn't do any good. Her father is a spineless coward to tries to sneak Tuesday food and sends her to his mother's house every summer to get away, but ultimately he defends his wife. 

I did like the closure at the end with Tuesday's mom and dad, but I would have liked to see what her adult brothers thought of the abuse she endured as a child. They were treated normally while their sister was abused. Did they never try and intervene? Were they scared? Did they think it was normal because they were younger and grew up like that? 

This book was horrible and hard to read at times, but very interesting. I just wish I knew how much was actually based on the true story. I'd be pretty disappointed to find out that a bunch of things were sensationalized for the sake of a good story.


  1. Hi, I just ran across this today, and while I usually don't comment on reviews of my own book, I feel in this case you have some valid reasons for wanting more information.

    First of all, great review; your concept of the story is spot on. There is some confusion associated with the book because when I first released it I thought if you changed anything in a fact-based story, and recreated the dialogue, you had to call it fiction.

    Please know that all the abuse in the book, down to the last detail is absolutely true to the best of my memory. The locations and timelines have been altered and the names have been changed including how Tuesday (meaning me) got her name. The ending was not so much altered, as it was stopped at a point that left the reader with the impression of a happy outcome to Tuesday's turmoil. I felt the reader needed that after all the horrible abuse they had to wade through. The truth is that the story does not end where I chose to stop the book. Sadly, many more terrible events took place afterwards.

    I did not think it was necessary to go any further and reveal more embarrassing truths, but my readers have since told me otherwise. They need to know more, like the reactions of my brothers, as you mentioned in your review. I did not know how they felt then, but have since found out. I am working on a second book,"Dark Tuesday," due out around May of next year, in which I will explain the many bizarre ways my childhood abuse manifested itself in my adult life. This one will be classified simply as a memoir.

    Thank you so much for your interest in my story.

  2. Thank you so much for replying. I'm honored to have the author of a book I reviewed to comment on my blog! Thanks for clearing up some of the questions I had regarding how fictionalized the book actually was. It's a very powerful novel, especially after hearing that you didn't embellish on any of the major events.

    I look forward to reading your new memoir!