There are some stories so important they transcend the test of time and generational pathology to deliver a message that all those who read are stronger having done so. I am referring to stories such as “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker and “Waiting to Exhale” by Terry McMillan. Joining those ranks of American literature is “Shattered Mirrors; Broken in Plain Sight”. Like the predecessors mentioned above the story challenges social paradigms in an effort to inspire the reader to challenge their circumstances and examine their self worth; however, unlike the fictional works of art that have help paint the literary tapestry of so many, Karl Allen Griggs continues the mural with this true story of his own life.
“Shattered Mirrors; Broken in Plain Sight”, by Karl Allen Griggs is a epic story of triumph through the depths of adversity, dealing with the harsh realities of topics such as domestic violence, codependent relationships, sexual abuse, rape, suicide, addiction and homosexuality. Griggs, the author and main character, relives in graphic detail his journey through life dealing with each one of these topics in isolation as a child growing up in Detroit Michigan. With each chapter the reader is transported to a place of emotional purgatory that will make even the strongest reminisce on situations in their past and question their own resilience. Griggs delivers a heartfelt performance as both prosecutor and defendant as he cross-examines his past demanding that the adults in his life take responsibility for their investment in his misery. He states “Many times in my life I have tried to figure out what had I done to deserve this special attention and touch from so many men? When did I send out the special invitation to give away my trust? When did I post the flyer that my innocence was for sale for anyone to help themselves? When was the public service announcement circulated granting VIP access to my personal places? When was the liquidation sale declared on my happiness? When would God start listening to me? All my questions started with when; however, the when was not really a secret. I was there each time my worth was negotiated. The when was the night I became afraid of the dark. It was the night my prayers changed and I asked God to take me in my sleep so I would not have to see another day. It was the last night I was able to sleep in peace. It was the night the moon could no longer light my dark. It was the first night I had been taught to fear the footsteps in the hall. It was the first time I had been forced to please a man. It was the first night I was startled out of my sleep to find my step-father standing over my bed. It was the last night I trusted my mother.
The unapologetic roller coaster of experiences are seasoned with profound life lessons taught to Griggs by his grandmothers, who not knowing the abuse he faced, gave him the strength to pick up the pieces of his life, forgive his abusers, and take responsibility for his future. Now almost 20 years since the start of his journey, Griggs tells his story of victory reliving each moment of abuse and taking the bandages off of unhealed wounds, offering the reader the life lessons that changed his life and allowed him to move from the childhood and life of despair to a life of limitless possibilities.