Though its details are painful, this story of overcoming childhood abuse is inspiring.
In Deliver Us from Evil, Ron Corcoran uses the events of his painful childhood to convey the healing power of faith and the importance of spiritual redemption. This book is a journey through the mind of a victim of abuse, his loss of innocence, and his eventual acceptance of his past.
The volume is divided into two distinct halves. The first half, titled “The Gates of Hell,” details the abuse Corcoran endured from the age of four until he was nineteen. The autobiography starts with the author as a child, in the midst of a terrible act of physical violence at the hands of his mother. From there, the story shifts to focus on years of abuse from family members and friends alike.
This abuse came in many forms. Corcoran shares deeply personal experiences of crushing acts of physical, verbal, mental, emotional, and sexual violence. His mother, using religion as a crutch for the severe mistreatment of her son, spiritually abused him by constantly telling him he was a sinner and was going to hell for eternity.
Within this half of the book, Corcoran also plants the seeds of his search to understand why this abuse occurred and whether there is a path for him to forgive those who have hurt him. He presents this possibility as a rejoicing moment, wherein he must accept the past before he can move on to his future. That leads into the second and most important segment, called “Damascus Road,” which covers Corcoran’s spiritual awakening and healing.
Corcoran developed a deep mistrust of God and spent years trying to rebuild his faith. That work makes up the true meat of the book. The author describes feeling lost and isolated, accounts that are troubling and sad, yet he is also able to perfectly depict his spiritual rediscovery and personal redemption in a way that truly inspires.
While the subject matter is quite sensitive, Corcoran presents it deftly. The specific experiences he shares include minute, yet important, painful details. The passages are written with an obvious passion, which hammers home the importance of his story. The author’s peaceful and welcoming voice helps to present a central theme that is vital and heartwarming despite the terrible roots from which it grew. Each person’s spiritual journey is unique, but Corcoran’s ability to survive and flourish through God and faith results in a truly heroic tale.
Deliver Us from Evil, although detailing experiences of a sensitive nature, is a book that will be enjoyed by anyone interested in others’ faith journeys, especially those who love to see children overcome deep odds.
– RON WATSON, Foreword Clarion Reviews
Out of extraordinary suffering, a Canadian man discovers spiritual redemption in this memoir.
Corcoran (The Bishop or the King, 2013, etc.) was one of 13 children largely raised in Sydney, Nova Scotia. He writes that his mother regularly beat him savagely and forbade him to play at school. He also says that he was denied not only affection, but also basics such as food and didn’t even know his own birthday. His siblings, he notes, were ostentatiously favored by his mother, and he often suffered at their hands. For years, he was also victimized by a sexual predator. When it came time for him to start a life of his own, he discovered that he was wholly unprepared for independence. He decided to join the Canadian military and spent three years in Germany until he was reassigned to a base in Ottawa, Ontario. There, he married a young woman who later cheated on him with one of his best friends, he says. Gripped by despair, he contemplated suicide; instead, he rediscovered his Christian faith and began attending services, finding comfort and strength. However, he asserts that a charismatic church leader manipulated him into marrying a woman who was addled by severe psychological problems. After 14 years, he left the marriage … sought help in therapy, and married a woman he truly loved. Overall, Corcoran writes with great clarity and emotional candor and unflinchingly shares a life that was marred by trauma. However, his memoir is not a woeful lament but a celebration of redemption, composed thoughtfully and showing a profound sense of gratitude. The author’s viewpoint is decidedly religious, but he never proselytizes, and as a result, this book should appeal even to those readers who don’t share his deep religious commitments. In the end, it is remarkable that such an affecting account of childhood abuse could manage to be just as inspiring as it is shocking.
A touching, meditative account of pain and spiritual transcendence.