“If you ever write a story about our family, just make sure I’m dead” -Mom
Missing the Mark: A Target Child Speaks by Keith Hoerner is filled with vignettes about Keith’s life, focusing on the physical abuse he received from his mother and his recovery from alcoholism.
For instance, one short clip discusses how Keith’s Catholic mother turned to him and wondered why the Pope did not allow birth control, making it clear that if she was allowed birth control, that some of her children would never have been born.
Throughout the abuse, Keith yearned for his mother’s love while bearing her physical abuse. . . which probably was part of the cause of his alcoholism. Being over 5 years sober when the book was published this past March, Keith is able to face his love and hatred for his mother, and for his father, who did nothing to protect Keith from the abuse.
Some aspects of this book reminded me of Falling Leaves: The Story of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter. Both Keith and Adeline (from Falling Leaves) do anything they can in order to please and gain the love of their mothers, even withstanding physical/verbal abuse. They also both are a little naive, believing that someday those mothers would show how much they love and care about them, even though it is clear that the mothers have psychological issues and are unstable.
I think that Missing the Mark was written in order for Keith to heal and be able to move on. The book focused less on the actual instances that Keith experienced and more on his fight back, even when it was mainly his mind rebelling.
It also is amazing to me, and to Keith, that his other siblings really did not grasp what had been going on. Did they not notice it? Were they downplaying it in their minds? It’s unbelievable that they just didn’t seem to notice that Keith was a “target child” (the target of the abuse) while they were not.
Missing the Mark is a moving story about Keith’s struggle to find value in himself. I personally would have preferred a little more about the actual daily life of Keith and his mother, but Keith is an honest and open storyteller.
I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Thanks for reading,