Donald McLean was twelve years old when his older sister’s favorite teacher Charlie Schoeler asked if he wanted to go to the beach. Within a month Mr. Schoeler began molesting him. It was an act that would be repeated many times in the next three and a half years.
Despite this, Mr. McLean’s approach to having been molested as a child is very different from the accounts we all hear from other victims. He not only grew up strong and (astoundingly) normal, but he maintained a curiosity about his molester that enabled him not just to see him as the sick and destructive person he was, but to appreciate the disease that lay behind the horror; even to establish an adult relationship with Charlie, who had become by then the drunken, disturbed, powerless figure who had always lain behind the artificial mask of power.
Mr. McLean takes the reader through the initial years, when he was subject to Charlie’s whims, through the time when the teen-aged boy began to grasp the insidiousness of what was happening. That understanding was what allowed him to escape, to become a well adjusted, full-grown man, one who has been happily married for 25 years.
But the effects of the years between twelve and fifteen had a great impact on Don’s life. It took him until his mid-20s before he started putting his life back together. He spent a number of years as a drug dealer, had difficult relationships with girlfriends and most of the other people in his life. He was even largely cut off from his large and close family for some time. Children who endure the kind of sickness that Charlie Schoeler brought are often warped for all time.
But this is what is so different about Donald McLean and his life. He was able to break from Charlie and assert a level of power and independence, to lead an extremely satisfying life. He is able to see Charlie through clear and even sympathetic eyes.
This is called “A Fictionalized Memoir.” Names have been changed, some characters have been merged. But Don is real and Charlie Schoeler was real. The acts in this book happened as described. That Mr. McLean presents it without rage and with understanding makes this volume unique.