Daley-Ward is a writer I have been longing to read since I began to explore contemporary poetry and fiction. She has often been cited as an inspiration so I jumped at the chance to read and review her newest release.
In The Terrible, Daley-Ward recounts her coming-of-age experience; the trials, tribulations and mistakes, using the ‘terrible’ to identify the deepest, darkest part of herself which sought utter destruction and self-preservation, simultaneously.
“They are not ours, the stars, and never have been.”
Her story explores growing up as a ‘have-not’ – the absent father, absent mother because she is always working and the grandmother and grandfather in lieu of parents. The poverty, the filth, the rules and the difficulty at school. The promise you always deserved more than this but with no way to reach it.
Yet, the narrative soon illustrates the dangers of ‘having’ – the addiction to drugs, money, sex and the houses of strangers. Daley-Ward’s story is not for the faint-hearted. It is a brutally honest and visceral documentation of what growth from girl to woman was like for her.
“There will be love”
Despite the loss, blood, pain and struggle to survive, however, The Terrible ends as it began (on the dedication to Little Roo) with hope and magic. Telling this story was part of the healing – a fact we should all be bearing in mind, we too should be sharing our stories in order to heal; in order to remember that even if terrible things do happen, there will be love at the end of it all.