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As 'Childhood Abuse Awareness Month' Draws to a Close, Author of Shocking New Memoir Asks: "What Happens when April Is Over?"

From Shirlee Scribner, ‘Untangle: You Can't Save Others Until You Save Yourself’ is the heartbreakingly honest tale of one woman’s rise from the ashes, and her desperate quest to save her brother from the devastation of abuse.


Celebration, FL -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/24/2014 -- At just ten years of age, Shirlee Scribner stood at the gates of hell, and witnessed a moment that would sear into her soul and reverberate through her life, and the lives of those she loved. That moment is the focal point of her new memoir, ‘Untangle’, and the implications of the event seem to leap from the pages, rippling through time with their ferocity and power.

Living with a parent who was an alcoholic shook Scribner to her core, but it was the blow to her mother’s pregnant belly that ended up being the turning point in her young life. Her brother, Dallas, was born with severe mental impairment and many years later, she would learn of the horrific and brutal way their mother ‘parented’ him after Scribner left home – with beatings, isolation and terrorization. It was then that Scribner decided – she would save her brother, and she would give him the peace and love that he had never been allowed to have at home.

Truly inspiring and boldly written, ‘Untangle’ is a memoir that rings with truth; illuminating the bonds of love, the ravages of addiction, and one woman’s unshakable strength of spirit.


When she was ten years old, Shirlee Scribner witnessed her father kick her mother's pregnant belly, a life-changing blow that sent her mother to the emergency room and caused her youngest brother Dallas to suffer severe mental impairment at birth. Afterward, Scribner and her six siblings were sent into the cold arms of foster care, until at last they were reunited with their mother, who had remarried. And that's when a new and horrifying chapter of violence began.

Once the victim of their father’s alcohol-fueled rages, their mother terrorized Dallas, regularly beating him, refusing to send him to school, and isolating him from the rest of the family.

Meanwhile, Scribner already an adult by then was struggling to make a stable life for herself out of the chaos of her childhood. She eventually fulfilled her dream of earning a college degree, embarked on a successful career, and, in spite of the alienation and neglect that had formed her emotional landscape, found strength and support with her husband Blake. So when, in his thirties, Dallas finally gave voice to the brutality he had endured his entire life, Scribner heard his cry for help and fought to give her brother a better life.

Untangle is a lyrical and compelling account of the ways in which we triumph over the pain of the past. At times shocking in its detail, Scribner offers a rare and dignified account of how someone with mental disabilities, whose life was profoundly shaped by abuse, broke free from its legacy. Ultimately, Untangle is a testament to the human spirit, and our capacity to show love, strength, and courage, both to ourselves and to each other, even in the face of utter cruelty.

Scribner actively campaigns for better access and treatment of persons with disabilities, and educates on matters of addiction and its relationship with abuse.

“We do not put enough focus on child abuse in this country,” says Scribner. “Of course, ‘Child Abuse Awareness Month’ is wonderful but children need our help now and they need our help in the future too. You can’t put a time limit on that kind of attention – it needs to be ongoing. My hope is that those who read ‘Untangle’ – even if they are reaching their darkest point, they will see that there is light, and there is always, always hope. I am a living example of that.”

Since it’s publication, the book has attracted attention from readers who felt inspired and moved by Shirlee Scribner’s courage and perseverance.

“Shirlee Scribner's autobiographical story of her abusive childhood and fight to save her disabled brother will have you rapidly turning pages to find out what happens next. Shirlee tells her story without bitterness and hatred, but still manages to induce tears when recounting near-starvation, mental abuse, and neglect at the hands of her parents. The story becomes even more compelling when it turns to her mentally challenged brother and the abuse he suffers far into adulthood. Her struggles with Social Services and the court system are both fascinating and disheartening, but ultimately uplifting due to Shirlee's love for her family and faith in God,” wrote Brian Jones.

Calling it “an amazing journey of grace and faith” amsummer wrote: “It is hard to believe people survive what horrible things are done to them and become beacons for all of us to follow. This is a perfect book for a book club.”

“Untangle was a wonderful and inspiring book that shows that "good really can overcome evil". I was truly awed by the author's spirit and strength and how she overcame such horrible adversity in her life. Through it all she never gave up the fight to save her brother and never dwelt on hating those who had so abused him. A very powerful book that will tear at your heartstrings,” wrote Jean Jubb.

For more information about Shirlee Scribner and ‘Untangle’, please visit the official website.

‘Untangle: You Can’t Save Others Until You Save Yourself’ is available now: http://amzn.to/1r0Dd1O.

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/shirleescribnerauthor?ref=br_tf

About Shirlee Scribner
Shirlee Scribner spent twenty years as a project manager, space planner, and interior designer of hospitals, medical office buildings, and corporate HMO offices, and through her work she created hospital environments that felt more homey than institutional. She implemented Americans with Disabilities regulations in her work, providing available access and special accommodations to the disabled. Though she has since left the interior design industry, Shirlee has continued her generous work in hospitals and women’s centers. In Concord, California, Shirlee spent several years on the Board of Trustees and Board of Directors of the Mt. Diablo Hospital Foundation, where she helped to raise money for heart and cancer patients. In Mather, California, Shirlee created the Mather Hospital Veteran’s Hospital Volunteer Visitation Program. And in Livermore, California, Shirlee spent two years donating her time designing a beautiful Christian sanctuary called Shepherd’s Gate, a safe haven for homeless mothers and children. In her free time, Shirlee loves hiking, biking, and playing tennis. At times she can be found piloting yachts on the San Francisco Bay, flying Cessna airplanes, and enjoying book clubs. She has one son, Scott, his wife, Iwona, a software engineer, and a grandson, Dillon, and she is happily married to her husband, Blake.