Monday, 9 June 2014


My Author of the week is Jenny Hayworth. I have to be honest I couldn't bring myself to review her book due to my own personal demons, but I think her life story is something that many readers who are "normal" will learn a lot from.

Jenny Hayworth grew up experiencing harrowing abuse not only from her paternal grandfather but a stranger and then an elder in the congregation (church) her family associated with. The church abuse went on for six years. Jenny told no one due to fear of God and feeling like she was a participant and not a victim even though she was only 11 years old when the abuse started and the perpetrator was in his 60's. 

It was not until her eldest two children were abused by a member of the church and she confronted her own sexual abuse revealing this to two elders that she was shocked to discover that if there had not been two adult witnesses to her childhood abuse then she could not be believed and she was counselled to be quiet otherwise she could be disfellowshipped (excommunicated) for gossip and slander.

She commenced a journey of healing for herself and her children that involved leaving the congregation she had grown up in, being shunned by all family and friends for doing so and having to remake her life and identity without her childhood faith or any support. 

It was a six year period of healing that is inspirational to read and although it led to her losing all she had ever known she gained more than she could have imagined.
Amazon link:


Jenny Hayworth (1965-) was born in England, emigrating in 1968 with her parents to Australia when she was only 2 years old, and then moving to New Zealand at the age of 9 years. She returned to Australia in 1997 and has lived there ever since. 

Her first book, a memoir, Inside/Outside was published in January 2014 by Createspace. She lives with her husband, who is also a writer, in a blended family with 3 of their teenage sons still living at home and 3 adult children living away from home, now making their own way in the world. She also shares her space with 2 dogs, 2 cats and 4 chooks, and proudly shows off her permaculture food forest and perennial garden she has created in her backyard. 

Jenny completed her Bachelor of Science, majoring in Psychology in 2010, and currently works with prisoners. She was in the cult-like religion known as Jehovah's Witnesses for over 30 years, after her parent's joined when she was only 5 years old. After she left, she was announced as "dissassociated" and was treated as if dead by her mother and all her friends who remained in the faith. She is well equipped to offer support and share her story with others who have experienced shunning and estrangement from their families due to religious fundamentalism. She is an advocate for those who have experienced child abuse and are trying to recover as adults, and also has a passionate interest in advocating and supporting refugees.


Twitter:  JennyHayworth1


Foreward Clarion Review - "What keeps the pages of Hayworth’s life story turning is her honesty, tenacity, and sheer will to survive through an astounding number of setbacks. Inside/Outside proves the resilience of the human spirit and shows that the cycle of abuse can indeed be broken"


Kirkus Review - "A harrowing memoir of one woman’s struggle to cope with sexual abuse and depression while living in—and eventually leaving—the Jehovah’s Witnesses"


Readers Favorite - "The book is an inspiring story for those who are going through traumatic times…