Born to a deranged immigrant mother and an indifferent father, Madia fights long and continuous abuse in her Chicago home. To break free from her past demons and heal, Madia—least loved of five children—narrates a lifetime of nerve-wracking experiences where she dealt with ill-timed deaths, sexual abuse, neglect, and perverted parental perspectives, while holding on to the love of Kuma, her kind godmother. This love truly saves her.
Fisher delivers a heartrending biographical fiction based on the life of his mother. Using Madia's emotional evolution through the graphic, disturbing episodes with her dysfunctional family, Fisher raises the much-needed awareness of the consequences of child abuse. The chapters not only highlight Madia's struggles against her hostile mother but also address important social issues that scar Madia's life. These include her mother's opinions of patriarchy, dowry, fair skin obsession, and gender bias; Madia's body-image issues; and her highly criticized marriage to a Serbian Orthodox. It's a relief that the spontaneous flow of the story balances the bad sides of Madia's life with the good by including a host of heartwarming characters like Kuma, Ken, Jack, and Vicky, who genuinely care about her.
The main theme that love can save a life is portrayed through Madia's happy moments with Kuma, her friends, and her children. These moments shape Madia's confidence. Her gradual decisions to take control of her life and to bond with little Mikey, a child born of marital rape, make her a strong protagonist. The strongest pull of this story is Madia's innocent and conversational tone that will not just appeal to the general audience but also will inspire similar abuse victims to reconstruct their lives. This is a terrifying odyssey of a wounded phoenix.