Cover Image: The Parrot's Perch

The Parrot's Perch

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Member Reviews

Memoir is one of my favourite genres of literature so it's always a thrill to find one that is as exceptional as this one.  

There are a few things a memoir needs in order for it to be outstanding - it's not enough just to have lived through an extraordinary period or event. The author also needs to have excellent writing skills, and an ability to bring us into their world - exactly the same way we expect those who write fiction to bring us into the worlds of their creation. 

Finally - and, most importantly, I think - is that the writer needs to have done their own therapy before they start writing. While writing is therapeutic, the contract between writer and reader is that the former will entertain the latter. The job of a reader is not to be the writer's therapist. As a memoirist, therefore, it's only possible to write from the necessary remove when you've done the work on yourself, and your own trauma. It’s only then that you can write your trauma without reliving it, and without subjecting your readers to secondary / vicarious trauma. 

And there’s plenty of trauma in Karen Keilt’s life. She writes about her early life in Brazil – her life of material privilege, but emotional deprivation, her marriage to a man she truly loved, and how that was ripped asunder by the corrupt regime ruling Brazil at the time.  The memories are sparked by an email from the UN in New York, inviting Karen to testify to the Brazilian National Truth Commission. The narrative flicks seamlessly between brief details of the hours she spent with an agent of the Commission, and Karen’s detailed memories of her childhood, through her young adulthood, and her marriage to Rick. 

Taken by authorities, in the middle of the night, to a prison where they were tortured mercilessly for weeks before being released and urged by everyone – including her husband – to put the experience behind her and just get on with her life. To this day, Karen has no idea why she and Rick were arrested and taken away. 

This is an excellent exposition of trauma, and how only addressing it can truly bring about any sort of healing or catharsis.
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There are truly no words to encapsulate the experience of reading The Parrot's Perch. I wish there was a local true crime book club I could suggest this as required reading to.
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Thank you NetGalley and BooksGoSocial for an eGalley in exchange for my honest review. 

I'll admit, the cover drew me in and I'm so glad that I did. What an honest and gut wrenching memoir.

Karen, a daughter of a Brazilian father and an American mother seemed to have it all. She had just gotten married to her American husband Rick after a whirlwind romance. Then, one night everything changes. Karen Keilt shares her story of being victim of abuse and false arrest by the Brazilian Police after they "find" cocaine in the house she shared with her first husband. After Karen is finally released from her captivity, all she wanted to do was talk about what happened, but everyone tells her to let it go. After her husband commits the final straw, Karen and her young son leave for the United States in hope of a better life away from the corrupt Brazilian government. 

Karen's memoir is based off her interview with a woman trying to bring justice to those in the Brazilian government that committed the heinous abuses against her, her husband, and many others. I highly recommend it. 

Trigger warnings: Police brutality, rape, physical abuse
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I was absolutely honoured to read this book, and to get a glimpse into Karen's story. I, like many others I'm sure, had no idea of the horror and terror that takes place inside Brazilian prison walls. I, naively, thought that Brazil was only what we see in magazines and on tv. I tried to imagine how I would feel if my country was this way. How would I feel knowing that Canada, my home and where my roots are, treated human beings so terribly? I cannot. I cannot imagine. I can only thank God that I live here.
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This was, by far, one of the hardest but also most compelling books I have ever read. The author describes in detail the brutalities that she suffered, making it both hard to put down and hard to continue. I found myself wanting desperately to get to the end in order to find out how her life turned out. I enjoy memoirs, biographies and true tales the most captivating stories to read. Even the ones that bring the tears. It is not for the faint of heart, but it is absolutely worth the read.
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A memoir that's almost too graphic and horrible to be believable. Keilt and her husband, an American, were held against their will, tortured, raped, physically and mentally abused for over a month by a sadistic and evil Brazilian government. Nearly left for dead they were finally allowed to leave after a large ransom was paid. Never fully understanding why they were abducted, Keilt is told not to ask questions, put it behind her and get on with her life.

So many secrets existed within Keilt's family and the government; secrets that she herself never learned the answers to. Was her father CIA? Was he involved in some way in her abduction? How did her brother play into it all? It must have been truly difficult not knowing who around her to trust.Keilt, thankfully, finds the strength to get on with her life, but her nightmares continued and her marriage suffered. She lived in constant fear and eventually moved to the U.S. with her son where she was able to live the life she always wanted.

Keilt's memoir begins with her relaying her story to an investigator who planned to use her accounts, and those of others who suffered under the Brazilian government, to bring those responsible to justice. Sadly, the government continues to be corrupt and to this day human rights abuses still take place.

Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this harrowing account of a true survivor.
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How do you rate and review someones life-story? Someones torture story? 

This non-fiction account of corruption, crime and human rights violations in Brazil is difficult to read about, but also shed some light on the - previously unknown to me - situation with these issues in Brazil. Coming from a very privileged background and belonging to the upper class, Karen Keilt does not seem like the person you would expect to be thrown into prison and treated very badly there. So that is the first shock, the second being the inhuman treatment of her and her husband there, and then comes the aftermath. I found that an interesting and just as important part of the story - the feelings of helplessness, fear and PTSD afterward, but also the fight for normality again, and the fight to change the system that enabled this. What I wished for was a bit more background information about the situation in Brazil at the time. Other than that, it is really difficult to say anything about this book - good or bad - because it would feel like rating Ms. Keilt's life. It is well-written and makes you feel things, that is for certain. And it is first powerful in its brutality and injustice, and then in its uplifting message of fighting back.
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I flew through "The Parrot's Perch" in two sittings. There are few books in my personal library that are more intense. This incredible memoir by Karen Keilt is about a woman who grew up in a life of opulence in lush Brazil in the '50s and '60s. She meets the love of her life and they get married shortly after she turns 23. They have a blissful few months as newlyweds before they are arrested in the middle of the night, and life as she knows it comes crashing down.

Knowing that this book is a true story kept my heart racing and flipping page after page. The experiences of Rick and Karen are harrowing and horrifying. And what you will find out through the book is that the terrors that befall these two still happen today.

The writing is clear, fast-paced, and heart-stopping. One thing I love about this book is how Karen so deftly demonstrates how trauma ripples through one's life and relationships.

The book asks: how do you recover from something that is worse than death?

This book was quite a ride, but overall I'm still giving it five stars. While this book may not be for everyone, she is excellent at communicating her experiences and bringing you into her world. To write a book like this, all I can think is: what an incredible weight to bear into fruition.

Thank you to NetGalley for my gift copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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This is a gritty book of a young privileged just-married couple who in 1976 are forcibly taken by the Brazilian security service and repeatedly raped and tortured for over 7 weeks.   The descriptions of that period are graphic.  The reception they received on release was almost as brutal; especially by the author's father who was a King among bullies.
The book is about trauma and having the strength to rebuild your life.  It does not shy away from the difficulties; Rick the husband went one way and the author another.  Karen Keilt is certainly one impressive person for what she has achieved.
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This story of the authors life is told in 2013 as she sits down then at the age of sixty, to testify at the Brazilian National Truth Commission at the UN in New York. Hoping to help convict those who did these horrible thing, but also to prevent them from happening again.
Wow this is a very intense recount of her life's story, focusing mainly on an incident she and her husband suffered in jail at the hands of the Brazilian police.
It takes us through her life of privilege, her relationships with family , and friends and how those relationships were probably an impetus for what happened to them.
This recounting, even at the age of sixty had the author very emotional as she retells of the awful torture the couple  received in the 45 days in jail, as they waited for someone to free them.
The author is a very strong individual, who was able to carry on with her life although never being able to erase what had happened.
The book was hard to put down, some parts very hard to read, but I wanted to find out how each stage of her life turned out.  This was really a remarkable story.
I would like to thank NetGalley and BooksGoSocial for the ARC of this book
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The Parrot's Perch is a stunning story of survival and redemption in the face of horrible brutality. My goal this year was to read more culturally diverse stories. There was no better place to start than with a memoir about a culture that I don't have much exposure to. I went into this read with very little background on what the story would be about and right from the start I felt connected with Karen.

Karen's story was one of an entirely sheltered young woman from an affluent family who thought her place in the world meant security and fairy tale happiness. She was raised in a family who held strongly to the societal mores of the time and Karen tried her best to live as the daughter and wife she was expected to be. Without any spoilers, she grew into adulthood, she became more aware of the less than savory characters in her family and social circle and unintentionally gets caught up in their legal messes. The brutality she faced at the hands of the government is outlined vividly and is so intense I found myself having to put the book down. Her strength through the initial ordeal and her subsequent attempts to live her life by her terms is inspiring.

If you're a fan of the National Geographic show 'Locked Up Abroad' then you will really enjoy this book.
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The author of this memoir is incredibly privileged, which puts some distance between the author and reader, but the writing is engaging and the way the story unfolds is gripping. I found I couldn't put this down! This memoir shows the impact of human rights violations on individuals' lives, particularly in terms of the devastation of those directly violated, as well as the lives of their loved ones who are indirectly impacted by this trauma. The broader backdrop of book is Brazilian politics in the 1960s through today, particularly the military dictatorship and the brutality of state security forces both under the dictatorship and in the transition period, which shows how these violations don't simply disappear once they're introduced to a system. This memoir also does a solid job in showcasing how the impacts of torture and its aftermath are gendered. We see the story entirely through the author, a woman, but she makes clear how the torture impacted her husband in terms of his gender. Finally, Kelit's experience is good starting point for considering how the less privileged fared under repressive military rule. To sum up, there's no better way to demonstrate how policy matters than in one person's life story.
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Firstly, I was drawn to this book by the beautiful cover. It’s stunning. 

This is a memoir about the author’s experiences of her rather privileged childhood in Brazil. What follows in part 2, is the point at which she was arrested and subsequently tortured for two months. 

This is a fascinating tale of strength and endurance against the odds. I liked the fact that the author was honest about her “faults” in the book. She doesn’t aim to present herself as a victim. 

This isn’t hugely different from other memoirs of this type which I have read, however, it was well written and I found myself hurrying along, wanting to find out what happened next.  I really enjoyed it. 
Thanks to Netgalley and she writes press for allowing me to review this.
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An honest and raw memorable read. Karen Keilts bravery and strength shines through in her memoir. This is a story that needs to be told.

Thank you to Netgalley for my copy.
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