Sunday Book Review – What Did I Do? – Chuck Jackson – #Memoir

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Book reviews by D.G. Kaye


My Sunday Book Review today is on Chuck Jackson’s – What Did I Do?  As a memoir writer, I was curious to read Chuck’s book, especially since he dangled weekly carrots on his blog by sharing chapters. Well, good strategy I say to Chuck, because we all know once we get hooked on a book, we don’t want to have to wait a week to read the next chapter!


Chuck takes us back to his childhood where he grew up moving around a lot as his father was active in military. And Chuck’s story takes us into a familiar world where his parents seemed to have a lot to learn about parenting. The emotional abuse Chuck endured by both his parents and the physical abuse from his father’s hand left Chuck wondering what on earth he had done to deserve such treatment.





All Chuck ever wanted was to please his parents and have them love him. What Did I Do? is his recollection of the abuse he received from both his parents. When he saw love and happiness in other families, he wondered why not his? His self-esteem was shattered when they told him he was undeserving to be their son. Convinced it was his fault, he hid the physical beatings until the severity began to be noticed outside the home.

In writing this book, Chuck came out of the darkness to expound on the stigma attached to child abuse. He admitted to the effects of shame, anger, guilt, and depression he and so many others experience. He tells the story of survival where he felt invisible. Experience his desperation for a warm touch and a kind word of praise. Follow Chuck’s story and help answer the question, What Did I Do?

“Wow! What a read—and what a story. This book is so well written, it reads more like a novel. It’s a page turner all right. This story is hard to take only because of the abuse described…” Andrew Joyce, the author of the best-selling novel Redemption


My 5 Star Review:


Jackson takes us back in time into his childhood where he was adopted by his parents at 14 months old. Where one would think adoptive parents would feel so blessed to have a child, this story isn’t one of them. The author opens his heart in his telling without whining or complaining of what he endured, but instead questions – What Did I Do? As we learn about the emotional neglect he suffered along with the physical attacks from his father, the author steals our heart and has us wanting to reach out and just hug the boy.

We get a good look at emotionally bankrupt parents who carry their own demons, which gives us a hint at how they project their own unhappiness in their lives on to poor Bobby (author’ name in the book). This void of love Bobby exists in doesn’t sour his desire to want his parents to love and appreciate him, but rather, disturbs him through life as to why they couldn’t give him any affection. Eventually, Bobby runs away from home with fears that the beatings won’t stop despite the apologies that sometimes come after a consequent attack.

The story gives us insight into not only what the child had to live with growing up and into adulthood, but has us shaking our heads at what on earth went wrong in his parents’ life to make them so self-absorbed and uncaring.

I would highly recommend this book to parents to have a look at what abuse can do to a child through Jackson’s eyes and words, as well as for anyone who has been abused to be inspired by how Jackson handled his life and still came out as a compassionate good person without falling victim to his upbringing and continuing the trend of abuse. #Recommended

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D.G. Kaye

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  1. Wow, Debby, thanks for your review. Chuck’s story sounds like one that would tug at my heartstrings and make me both sad and angry at the same time. It is so difficult for a child, who should be treasured, to be subjected to abuse. “What did I do?” is a fantastic title for the book and one that will resonate with many readers who suffered abuse as children, I’m sure. Most feel it is their fault and find it difficult to develop feelings of self-worth and of being lovable.

    1. You’ve said a mouthful Norah. And the title is perfect for the book and where Chuck sprinkled in the title throughout the book was so impactful. <3

    2. Hi Norah,
      Thank you for your comments. Child abuse is something we should be aware of and do something when you witness it. All the years I was abused, no one said or did anything; at least to my knowledge. It wasn’t until I was a teen and the physical abuse was so severe that someone noticed and helped. You are correct, we feel it is our fault. Even as an adult, I still wanted their acceptance and felt something was the matter with me when I didn’t receive it. STOP CHILD ABUSE. Thank you.

  2. This sounds very sad, Debby. It reminds me of the song Luca by Suzanne Vega:

    1. It is sad Robbie, but well written and lots of messages. And I know that song you share. Agreed! 🙂 x

    2. Thank you, Robbie. Child abuse is sad and it is horrid when it is ignored. I agree this song is very valid. HUGS

  3. probably should be compulsory reading for all would be parents?

    1. HI Jaye/Anita. Absolutely should be! <3

    2. Thank you for dropping by and leaving a comment. Unfortunately, child abuse is still in the shadows. Even today, thousands of children are abused and go unprotected.

  4. Ooh, another one I’ll have to read. Thanks for this, Debby. x

    1. Pleasure Stevie. It read beautifully. <3

    2. Thank you, Stevie, for your comments.

  5. This sort of treatment of children breaks my heart. I’m glad Chuck eventually got through it and agree with you, Deb–anyone parenting who doesn’t put kids first should read this.

    1. Thanks Jacqui. Absolutely!

    2. Hi Jacqui, thank you for your comments. Child abuse didn’t begin with or end with my generation. It runs unrestrained today. Never ignore or fail to get involved. You will save a child’s life.

  6. Thanks for such great recommendation, Debby. It sounds like an important read.Congratulations to Chuck.

    1. Welcome Olga. It was a great read, albeit sad. 🙂 x

    2. Thank you, Olga, for your comments and support.

  7. I’ve also been tantalized by Chuck’s blog posts about his life and writings and his sharing of his story. I’m so happy for him that you read, reviewed, and can recommend his book, Debby. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you Diana <3

    2. Thank you, Diana, for your comments and support. I will be tantalizing my followers again with my third book “Guilt – My Companion”. Watch for it starting soon.

  8. Emotional alienation scars a child permanently but combined with physical and verbal abuse, what else can a helpless child do than find refuge elsewhere! It is heartening to read that Jackson could rise above all this and share his childhood traumas. Deb, your review reveals the intensity of this memoir. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks Balroop. I’m glad my review could convey the essence of Chuck’s story. 🙂 x

    2. Hi Balroop,
      Thank you for leaving a beautiful comment. You are correct that emotional and physical child abuse leaves the individual scared for life. I thought I had overcome the low self-esteem, etc. but writing this book, brought it all back and it was a healing process.

  9. Hi Debbie,
    To be recognized by another author and especially someone who has as many books, fans, and followers as you do is a compliment at the highest level. Thank you for your support and the beautiful review. HUGS 😎

    1. Aw shucks Chuck, I’m touched. I was thrilled to include your book in my Sunday reviews. I know it was a sad story, but it was a pleasure to read your writing. I look forward to getting to all of your books. Hugs to you. 🙂 <3

  10. Great review Debby. Chuck’s book would rip open all the horrors I buried and experienced as a child from similarily abusive parents. I feel Chuck’s pain just from reading the blurb. I hope this writing gave him the courage to bury his pain. Hugs to you both! <3

    1. Thanks so much Colleen for sharing some of your own heartache too. It’s really sad how the last generation of parents really didn’t know how to parent, and I say this from the many, many, many, articles I’ve read, and books too. Let’s hope when people like Chuck can share their stories that someone else can learn from it. <3 Hugs back! xoxo

    2. Hi Colleen,
      Thank you, for stopping by and leaving a supportive comment. It took years to overcome the effects of my child abuse (if I ever have). Writing this book healed so much pain and gave me an avenue to forgive my parents. HUGS

  11. Debby, thank you so much for sharing Chuck’s book with us. I’m deeply moved by his story and the title of the book must sum up what all children feel in a similar situation. It must be an incredible hardship to write about his experiences and I hope it has been cathartic and offered some form of healing for him. This is a review that will stay with me.

    1. Thanks Annika. And yes, the title was so appropriate for Chuck’s book because every child does wonder that. And according to Chuck, writing this book was so cathartic as I can well imagine! <3

      1. Hi Annika,
        Thank you for your warm comments. I will admit I healed some of those hidden scares when I wrote this book and the next. Both were difficult and often emotionally draining to write. What we can all learn is child abuse has not slowed down. If we witness it, never ignore but get involved. You may save a life. HUGS

  12. Oh, my goodness! I’m intrigued and yes, this is such an important topic and unfortunately, always relevant. I have a sample on my kindle that I will now get to pronto. Chuck is brave, courageous and a shining example of overcoming the devastation of childhood abuse. Parents should be put in jail for abuse like this. Thanks so much for sharing your review Deb, and shining a light on Chuck’s important work.

    1. Agreed on all counts Lis. Glad my review helped pique your interest. I have no doubts you’ll enjoy the book, as sad as it is. <3

    2. Hi Lisa,
      Thank you for your thoughtful comments. At the time, I don’t think my parents knew about the damage they were doing. But then, I don’t think they cared either. Child abuse at any level is horrid and should never be ignored. If you witness it, don’t look the other way. I survived but some children don’t. HUGS

  13. Thanks for this review, Debby. As you so well know, it must be hard to write a memoir like this. Not only emotionally, but also compellingly without too much complaining or hindsight remarks. It sounds like Chuck did a fantastic job writing this book. I like how you use the term “emotionally bankrupt parents” by the way.

    1. Thanks Liesbet. Yes, Chuck did a great job evoking everything he felt without sounding like complaint. Signs of some good writing! 🙂 x

    2. Hi Liesbet,
      What a nice surprise, and thank you for your warm comments. As Debby did, I carried baggage for years and suffered. Writing this book and the next was my way of finally closing the door on that part of my life. I agree, “emotionally bankrupt parents” was a polite way of describing my parents. I have forgiven them, but I still can’t speak of them kindly. What I want people to take from my book is to help stop child abuse. If you see it, don’t ignore it. Get involved and save a child.

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