When Shirley Painter’s first book was published, she was 83 years old. She was lucky to get that far: when she was four years old, she was so badly injured she was pronounced dead and taken to the morgue. The man who had beaten her almost to death was her father.
The Bean Patch is the story of how a young girl survived growing up in a volatile household in the 1920s and 1930s; how school, and later university, became her escape route from a family filled with secrets and violence.
It is also the story of how, as a mature woman and a mother herself, she came face to face with what happened to her as a child — how she found the strength to drag her terrible and long-buried memories into the light in order to move on.
Beautifully written, this is a disturbing, compelling and ultimately inspirational story.
Rights sold: Australia/New Zealand (HarperCollins Australia, Sept. 2002)