The book Nine Generations of Gianna by Loraine Hayes was not what I expected when I started reading a book about healing ancestral traumas. It was refreshing to read this story from the lens of fiction. I still find so much pertinent information about ancestral healing peppered through the story.
There were some graphic scenes in the book. The author was careful not to be too explicit. However, if you have an imagination like mine, there were still parts I wish I could erase from my mind. But in this context somehow, it felt like a healing experience. It might have been like visiting a trauma to release it once and for all. However, if you feel imagining scenes of violence or abuse will not serve you, it may not be the right book for you. That’s okay, too!
There is a content warning in the book, it says:
*Content Warning: This novel explores themes of psychology, mental health, and generational trauma and contains depictions of sexual violence, child abuse, domestic abuse, murder, pedophilia, crude language, and references to addiction. Please read with care.
This book is about a teenager who has experienced trauma in her own life and begins to hear the voice of one of her ancestors in her head. Of course, as many of us would, she tries to shut out that voice. But if she was successful in that, the story wouldn’t exist, would it? So of course she ends up having conversations and full experiences with her ancestors that take her on a wild healing journey.
You visit nine generations of Gianna’s family while also seeing some of her daily life and processing the experience with her grandmother as well as her therapist. It’s really eye-opening. Each generation of course has its own cultural context. But the patterns of pain and abuse are woven throughout. The author does an incredible job of simplifying how this is no one’s fault. Everyone is just doing the best they can. She shows us different sides of characters that we would instinctually like to villainize and say they are evil or a bad mother. But the trick is, then she shows us how they got that way and even gets us to love them.
It’s hard not to draw parallels between people who have hurt us in our lives, and consider how they might have gotten that way. Perhaps they also deserve our love?
Fast-Paced Action in Nine Generations of Gianna
The author weaves this tale together so masterfully! Even though I was in Berlin meeting up with old friends, I found myself sneaking in a few pages here and there while waiting for trams or buses. I stayed up late trying to see what would happen next, and in the morning instead of my usual meditation, I had to find out what happened with Gianna! I was fully sucked in. (Not proud of that but it’s true.) Although I am an avid reader, it’s rarely this intense! There was something special about this story, that felt like it was important to my soul.
The first chapter was the slowest for me. So if you only read the sample, you will miss out on the action! But even it had me intrigued. It was an up close and personal account of a therapy session between Gianna and Nicole. It showed me what therapy could be like if you had a therapist you connect with and could trust, which is something I honestly did not have a good experience with myself!
Why I Love This Book So Much
There are many reasons this book stands out to me. One is that it provides an honest and up-close experience of therapy that feels supportive and helpful. I’ve never read anything that goes into so much detail about what good therapy really can be like. Then there are the more spiritual aspects. I liked how the author made hearing ancestors’ voices, interacting with spirits, and time traveling, all seem normal enough to be real, but not so normal to talk about it with just anyone. I found it intriguing how the author handled this topic. While it’s not in alignment with all of my spiritual beliefs, it makes for a great read!
In addition to loving the storyline and content, there was something special about the way this story was delivered. I can’t explain all that happened to me as I read the book, but I know I cried a few times. I felt healing was happening within me as I related to Gianna. There were times when I felt like my heart was going to burst. I sat with my pain and really felt it until it was released.
Healing through Fiction
Some parts of the book confirmed for me that the work I have been doing on myself and my ancestral line is important. This bit really stood out to me, which is part of a conversation between Gianna and her therapist, Nicole.
“But…where does it end? If…if everyone keeps getting damaged by bad things that the people before them do, and then they do bad things to others, what chance is there for the world to become a better place?”
“People have the innate capacity to heal, to change, and to become better people. But not everyone can do that. But the strongest and bravest ones who can, they are the ones who can break the cycle of abuse and trauma.”
I believe this is true. And many of the people I meet are doing this work. We are breaking the cycles of abuse and trauma so that future generations can experience a higher level of consciousness. This is also a confirmation for me that we really are making the world a better place.
While this book is written like an easy breezy beach read, there is knowledge and wisdom woven into the story. It felt like an activation and a healing. While I will say it is not written for the art of writing, it speaks to the soul. I really recommend it and I am looking forward to reading more by Loraine Hayes.