“Dear Sister,” by Michelle Horton Submitted photo

Michelle Horton will join the discussion of her just-released memoir, “Dear Sister: A memoir of secrets, sisterhood, and unbreakable bonds,” in the Finding Our Voices online book club. The 90-minute Finding Our Voices discussion of “Dear Sister” will be held via Zoom on at beginning at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 30. The discussion is free and open to the public. To sign up, visit bookclubs.com/clubs/23834/join/0c701b/ or contact McLean at hello@findingourvoices.net.

Michelle Horton Submitted photo

Horton’s memoir documents how blindness to domestic abuse led to her sister’s wrongful incarceration for killing her abuser. Her sister of the book title is Nikki Addimando, mom of two who killed her partner in self-defense in New York in 2017. He was a popular community gymnastics coach and the courts disregarded the years of torture she sustained at his hands, some of which he filmed and posted on porn sites, in sentencing her to a prison term of 19 years to life.

This injustice was featured in the documentary film “And So I Stayed” shown in the summer of 2022 at the Maine International Film Festival in Waterville along with two short Finding Our Voices movies by Matthew Siegel. The founder and CEO of Finding Our Voices, Patrisha McLean, as well as subjects of the short films Christine Buckley and Courtney Davis, joined the filmmakers of “And So I Stayed” for a post-screening panel discussion.

“Dear Sister” was described by Publisher’s Weekly as a “powerful testament to the tenacity of sisterly bonds, a scathing indictment of the legal landscape for abused women, and a wrenching exploration of the shame that allows abuse to remain hidden.” The New York Times lauded the “behind-the-scenes look at how a society, a legal system and a family failed a woman who had been sexually abused by a series of men starting when she was 5 years old.”

McLean said “This is an exquisitely written book that hits home because of how routine it is in Maine for women domestic abuse victims to be criminalized and male perpetrators to be gifted Get Out of Jail Free cards. Topics Michelle raises that I feel privileged to be able to discuss with her on April 30 are the role of family and friends when domestic abuse is suspected, the normalization of extreme porn, and the appalling ignorance around domestic abuse as well as misogyny among those charged with protecting victims, including lawyers, Guardian ad Litems, judges and juries.”

The Finding Our Voices online book club looks at life through the lens of domestic abuse with authors usually joining the discussion. Past guests include Sarah Perry with “After the Eclipse” about her mother’s murder in Bridgton, and Katherine Miles with “Trailed,” about the murder of a Unity College student while hiking the Appalachian Trail. The Finding Our Voices book club is hosted by the online site Bookclubs, “Building Community Through Books,” which was founded by Anna Ford of midcoast Maine.

Finding Our Voices is the Maine-based survivor-powered nonprofit breaking the silence of domestic abuse one community and conversation at a time. Its innovative public awareness projects apart from the book club include a radio show and poster campaign featuring the faces and voices of 45 Maine survivors. The group also provides financial assistance to empower women to Get Out and Stay Out, pro bono dental care, and online support groups. For more information, visit findingourvoices.net.

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