Sins of the Grandfather: The Little Girl in the Blue Dress by Bruna Slava addresses the issue of pedophilia in society, an issue that, while not as closeted as it once was, is still largely hidden, among both the abused and their families. For Slava’s character, Claire Marie, dealing with the abuse she endured from her grandfather as a child is a lifelong journey.
Claire Marie has a recurring nightmare that she has dubbed “The Little Girl in the Blue Dress,” a dream in which she unfailingly wakes from in terror, haunted by the little girl with the big secret, sexually accosted by a man with yellow fingers. Although she wishes that she could understand the dream, she knows in the back of her mind that she already does understand it: that she is the little girl in the blue dress and that the dream is a repressed memory. Tormented by other dreams and hallucinations, she knows the source of the trauma, but cannot piece together full memories of exactly what transpired, a slow process that is revealed to her only in disjointed memories.
Claire Marie silently deals with her pain until she must step forward to help someone else who is suffering as a result of pedophilia, unable to find the voice to speak about what happened to her for her own sake, finding the courage only on the behalf of another. Over time, Claire Marie’s voice becomes progressively stronger until she makes a very clear and important statement, leaving readers with an important message. Slava’s story is an artfully rendered tale of this kind of abuse, spanning many decades to show readers how little progress society has made towards punishing those who abuse children and speaking against pedophilia, which haunts the lives of those who suffered, whether their memories are vivid or repressed.