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WORDS AND IMAGES : Confronting the Abuse of Our Children : A book by a Ventura County clinical psychologist shows young victims of sexual violence that there are adults who can help.

August 19, 1993|FRANCES HALPERN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

In many cases where sexual abuse and rape of children is dealt with in fiction, the gruesome facts are exploited and described in horrifying detail. Nancy Taylor Rosenberg's "Mitigating Circumstances" and "A Great Deliverance," the quite extraordinary book by Elizabeth George, are examples of how novelists present the subject. And then the movie-makers rush to put these stories on the screen in a way that will appeal not so much to our sense of outrage but to our apparent (well, some of us) fascination with ugly violence. But then a small publisher brings out a book that avoids the exploitation, and manages to convey to all who read it that we must do more to confront, understand and stop whenever possible this abuse of our children. Reanne Singer's "The Storm's Crossing" is a novel written for young adults about 11-year-old Maggie's triumph over a terrible secret, and her realization that her daddy is wrong in his insistence that his kind of love for her is normal between a father and daughter.

Singer is a clinical psychologist who works with victims of molestation and abuse at Ventura County Juvenile Hall and the Colston Youth Center. The Ventura County resident also has a private practice. She placed Maggie in a traditional suburban family (mother, father, little sister) because molestation occurs in such families.

"After treating one particular 7-year-old I began putting down on paper my own feelings and realized I had to write a book which would show these children they can turn to adults who will help them," Singer said. "And Maggie became so real to me, I hated to finish the book."

Deaconess Press of Minneapolis, the publisher of "Storm's Crossing," was Singer's 100th submission. Many publishers agreed the book was well-written and necessary, but they didn't think it would sell a lot of copies. This is her first novel, available at Adventures For Kids and other bookstores. Singer has completed two more young adult manuscripts that she is submitting for publication about how children react to adoption and divorce. The publication of "Storm Crossing" is a tale of dedication and determination. The book deserves your attention.

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Swedish director Ingmar Bergman's love of classical music is evident in his film "To Joy," a Classic Cinema presentation that will screen at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Thousand Oaks Library, 1401 E. Janss Road. A donation of $2 will be requested at the door.

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The English mystery novelist Dorothy Sayers, creator of Lord Peter Wimsey, once said: "There certainly does seem a possibility that the detective story will come to an end, simply because the public will have learnt all the tricks." Ah, but writers continue to challenge us with new plot twists, and the genre continues to enjoy a huge success. Specialty bookshops such as Mysteries to Die For carry thousands of mystery and detective titles and host authors we can meet and chat with. At 1 p.m. Sunday, Dianne Pugh, author of "Cold Call," and Rochelle Krich, whose latest novel is "Fair Game," will be at the bookshop at 2940 Thousand Oaks Blvd. in Thousand Oaks.

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Singer Frankie Laine, still performing at age 80, will sign his autobiography "That Lucky Old Son," published by Pathfinder Press of Ventura, at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Ventura Bookstore, 522 E. Main St.

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