My Father’s House: A Memoir of Incest and Healing
Harper & Row, 1987
In this book about her early life, Sylvia Fraser tells of the tributes paid at her father’s funeral. He was a man of proper and regular habits–a Christian man “who didn’t smoke or drink . . . who helped with the grocery shopping, who never took the Lord’s name in vain.” A polite and neighborly man, Mr. Fraser “kept his snow shoveled, his leaves raked, and his bills paid.” He also sexually molested his daughter Sylvia from age four to twelve, threatening her first with the loss of her toys (he’d throw them into the furnace), then with killing her cat, then with sending her away to an orphanage–all this if she were to disclose their secret, a secret that not only divided him, but also split his daughter into two persons, the ordinary good girl and the evil daughter who submitted to her father’s wishes. For almost forty years she successfully repressed the memory of the evil daughter, till it finally emerged in deep psychoanalysis.