Our Little Secret – Book Review

A father is supposed to protect and love his child, right? But what if the person you love most betrays you? How would you feel?

Our Little Secret is an autobiography of Duncan Fairhurst who was raped and sexually abused by his father.

In this poignant memoir, Fairhurst bares his soul to the world of his tormented chilhood…the years of sexual abuse which started when he was just four years old.

Fairhurst’s father began sexually abusing him for as long as he could remember. He did not  know what was wrong other than he didn’t like it. But deep inside he was full of rage and fear.

His father told him that it was an act of love and covered the abuse by showering Fairhurst with gifts and money – a gesture he mistook as an act of love from a father to a child.

He recalled the “bathroom episodes”, where the sexual abuse began and how the “episodes” gradually moved to little Fairhurst’s bedroom and even in a moving vehicle. The abuses ceased after Fairhurst reached puberty; but the damage – too extensive and severe – was already done. The years of abuse and neglect brought him to the path of drugs before he finally decided to change his life around.

Fairhurst suffered from psychological illness and fell into a deep depression and self-denials. The retaliation in Fairhurst drove him to substance abuse. Drugs provide him the temporary relief from pain he failed to obtain from the people whom he loved the most.

Over the years, he became wilder and out of control. He moved out from his parent’s house and the drug addiction got worse. He also had a narrow brush with the law when he was caught in possession of a substantial amount of drugs whilst celebrating his 21st birthday. But he refused to seek counseling to overcome his hatred for his father. Amidst his myriad of drug’s abuses, Fairhurst fell in love with a middle-class girl. Love propelled him out of the evil cycle of drug dependency.

Once he overcame the drug addiction, Fairhurst turned to education – went to university – to better his life. He became a teacher after graduating and has been teaching since.

Years later, in a chance encounter in 2004, he came upon his father in the street, cluthing the hand of a little boy. Fairhurst pulled enough courage and with support from friends, deciced to lodge a police report against his father.

Fairhurst writes this memoir with crude honesty. The sexual abuse is depicted in a language that will make you cringe in digust. Even in his hallucinations – as a result of substance abuse – seemed real. People might perceive his drug’s dependency as a sign of weakness. For me, he is just trying to to survive the ordeal independently.

The message from Fairhurst is simple; love and deducation will help chase the demon from your past. It is through these essential elements that Fairhurst finds peace with his bleak childhood and rid himself of his nightmares.

I wouldn’t comment much on Fairhurst’s writing style as this book is a memoir. It is unfair to compare him with other established writers as his is an autobiography as opposed to a fiction. However, to be completely honest, I find his writing – mediocre.

Nevertheless, Fairhurst’s courage to pen his story in a form of a book is exemplary. I am deeply moved and humbled by his sheer determination to share his experience. A lesson taught by the book is: no crime goes unpunished and love will eventually conquer all. It is very cliche – I know – but if you are looking for a dosage of humility, courage and motivation, this is the book to read.

Title: Our Little Secret

Author: Duncan Fairhurst

Price: RM60.00 (Times, KLCC)

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (293 Pages)

ISBN: 9780340935224

Genre: Autobiography          


19 thoughts on “Our Little Secret – Book Review

  1. I know a certain guy who went through sexual abuse by his father when he was small. He grew up afraid of intimacy of either sex. However, he turns out to be a brilliant businessman though devoid of feelings. I love the guy despite his inability to love.

    I am sure you do dear…emotional and compassionate people like us tend to love them! Selamat berpuasa. See ya soon

  2. Salam sis Elviza:

    Thank you for the preview. The subject is interesting. I’ve read a few biography of several criminals in USA and I find that most of them had been abused either physically or sexually.

    I read a book( The Innocent Man) by John Grisham recently about men wrongly accused and sent to Death Row, due to poor job done by Police, DA and defence lawyer. How years in jail and death row cracked a man’s sanity. And how these innocent few fight back for their lives.

    At present a few more pages of The Road to Mecca by Muhammad Asad( a Jew born and bred in Poland , read the Torah, mixed with Christians and saw a void in their lives. Travelled to the Middle East while the Zionist movement were pushing for the Israeli state and he was against it. He later roamed the Arab lain and became friends with many prominent Arab rulers and ulama among them Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, Sayyid Ahmad of the Sanusi Order in Libya, Umar al-Mukhtar the Lion of the desert who continued the Sanusi resistance against Italy invasion, with Riza Shah of Iran,the once soldier in Iran Army who rose to power due to his bravery fighting the Russians, Sheikh Amantallah of Afghanistan, etc. After going back to Europe several years later he and his wife Elsa converted to Islam in Berlin and finally moved back to Medina. After several years in Saudi Arabia, he went to pakistan and joined the govt and was appointed as pakistan representative to the UN….will continue to finish this book first).

    I find this book engaging and you could feel how and what made his become a Muslim.And his observations of the Arabs and Muslim in general, how he saw we changed( and another group trying to keep the way of Islam alive) and his worries that the Muslims are becoming like the West( gaining lots of material wealth but loosing their spirit void.)
    This is the best book I’ve ever read so far. And this is written in the 50’s!

    Dear TA,

    What is the ISBN of the book please? ASAP please?

  3. sounds fascinating…
    I got the book you gave me. Are you lending it or giving it to me?
    I just started the first paragraph, sounds like another adventurous book! 🙂

    BTW: you just got tagged by me, you can get the things you have to do from my blog.


    Of course its yours to keep sweetheart, told ya I’d get it for you. And the tag thing, just scroll down my old post. I had done it! Muahahahahaaha…

  4. I tak berapa rajin baca buku lah nowadays… asyik sibuk blogging! 😉

    Selamat berpuasa to you and family!


    Salam ramadhan to you and your family too. Tapi betullah, blogging nih time consuming kan? Sebab tu lah buku2 I sekarang lambat habis (alasan!).

  5. Sounds like a good book to read. Im now reading Princess Sultana’s Circle.

    Wishing u and family Selamat Berpuasa.

    Dear Farina,

    Selamat berpuasa to you and husband too. Take care friend. You must be missing the local food. Sian dia…

  6. Hi Elviza

    Nice review.

    Have a Blessed Ramadan – to you and all your Muslim readers.

    Dear Passer By,

    Thank you, thank you, thank you … (bowing out humbly)

  7. Salam Elviza:

    The ISBN 983-9154-12-5

    Salam TA,

    Got it. Called them. Really intrigued with the review – found it on the net. I heard he translated the Quran as well. Do you have a copy of tht? If in the affirmative, what do you think about it? Thanks TA. Selamat berbuka puasa dan berteraweh… he he he!

  8. As usual, there Sis. A well-written piece. I’m intrigued by these sort of stories, Sis, why do people have to go through this sort of pain? There’s plenty that have been written by daughters who had incestuos relations with their fathers, but this is the first of the “homo” kind.

    Now, gotta check out that book DokTA is reading too!

    Salaam and Selamat Berpuasa Ramadhan Mubarrak……..

    Brother, your One More Day by Mitch Albom is now sitting in the car. Just in case you decide to pop in front of me, I could give it to you straight! Still feel bad about not being able to give it to you. So just you know, the CD by TT DJ is now playing continuosly in my car. Excellent deep rich voice that woman has.

    I got the ISBN from TA and insyallah will get the book shortly. But I have 5 more to be read, they just sit there on the shelf staring forlornly at me. What can I do? I have to work, be a wife, be a mother, be a daughter, be a daughter in law, be a friend, all at the same time. But, I am grateful… Take care Brother! Peace!

  9. Sis Elviza:

    I don’t have the Quran translation by Muhammad Asad. I’ll ask my friend if he got it.

    You like TT DJ? Yes, that lady sure have a good voice and knows how to sing. She might ot come close to Hetty Koes Endang, but I think she is much much better than the present crops of singer Indonesia had.

    ps- now me and kerp dok gila dengar lagu Siam( yg selalu promo kat local TV tu…)

    Brother TA,

    Eh, post lah YouTube tuh dalam blog you!

  10. Elviza,
    Nice review. Like you I wouldnt bother much about the writing style since it is a memoir. To be able to feel how he felt through the ordeal is good enough. There are many sex abuse stories happening around us even in small towns like my Pasir Mas. The drug scourge is the primary cause.
    How about doing a review on The Measure of A Man by Sydney Poitier?

    Dear Silhoute,

    Oh…I finished Measure of a Man during a holiday. So, lepas balek tuh otak dah lembab sikit nak buat review. I didnt jot down my thoughts about the book at that time. Why don’t you give it a try?

    True, drugs addiction is rife in Pasir Mas and other districts in Kelantan. Probably because they are close to the borders kot. I don’t know. Thanks for the support my friend.

  11. Yes! That’s book that I’ve been missing all along…Sidney Poiter.. Gotta get it next time. Thanks for mentioning it (again.) Aah, too much to do, to little time, eh? Elv, don’t worry about that MA book. I’ll see you after Raya and pick it up… Err, if you can review it for me, will you? I mean the SP book…


    Okay… I’d give it a review soon…

  12. Hi Elviza

    Good review, sis. I have to keep this book in mind. I find it so hard to complete a book these days. I guess I have not really settled yet in my new surroundings to feel relaxed with a book.

    It is sad to hear that some children have to go through such an ordeal. The person whom they thought they could trust, betrays them. That leaves a deep scar which sometimes never heals. Fairhurst’s case sounds like one of those rare ones where love conquered all.

    Dear Jac,

    Some of them would probably never breath their ordeal to another soul out of shame. What Fairhurst does is, of course, examplary. Take care dear…

  13. I really love horror stories as I have finished 44 Cemetery Rd. Good Compilation of horror stories. The very Malaysian version of Russell Lee’s “True Singapore Ghost Stories’. Most of them are cook-ups of coz.

    Since I am trying to keep my love at bay for you, I am wishing you ‘salam berbuka Puasa’. Soory if I perceived that u r a Moslem…..

    Dear Harrison,

    I know! Tunku Halim’s latest book is awesome isn’t it? My fave is the one that this guy went to the cemetery with another friend to ask for nombor ekor. Only to find out that everytime he wins, he ll age more than the rest. Spooooookyyyyy…

    Oh don’t say that, you’d break my heart! On the other hand, you are right, I am a muslim despite the confusing name!

    Take care Harrison…

  14. Just finished reading your book.

    What a truly amazing book of encouragement.
    Well done you are the strongest person that I know.

    Dear Rochelle,

    You mean the writer? Of course he is. Thanks for dropping by.

  15. Hi Kak Elviza, great review.
    Have u ever read ‘A Child Called It’?
    I remeber reading it when i was 11.
    Truth to be told, i dont know how i managed to finish it. The story was gruesome! Especially for a girl in that age, and even now it still is.
    But i remember the book was passed around in my class, almost all of my classmates read it. It was THE topic back then. The other book that were passed around was Chinese Cinderella. Both very tragic stories. And unfortunately are non-fictions. Reality does bite!

    Hello Kea, thanks. And no, I havent read both of the books you mentioned. However, I spotted the latter book, I think, at my in-law’s place. Better look it up. True, the reason why I think we should all read fictions as well as non-fictions is to learn the lessons of life. Do drop by again Kea. What are you reading now?

  16. I firt spotted this book in W H Smith´s , i thought at first the book would be rubbish. but it gave me a really good insight to what Duncan Fairhurst´s life was like. I really feel sorry for a person who had to go through all that. I could not believe that Duncan tried to kill himself. I also can´t believe that his mother did not notice what was going on. It was a very dramatic story to read. I wouldn´t normally read books like that as i have never had an experience like that in my life. When i was younger , i would say that i had a brilliant life compred to what this young inoccent boy had . The book made me sick in some ways. I couldn´t accept that a father of a young boy could do this to his own flesh and blood. Duncan Fairhurst was a brave young boy.
    No Child should ever have to go through what Duncan went through. Duncan Fairhurst wrote the book in such Dramatic words, showing us all true feelings. If i was to rate this book out of 10 i would say 9 out of 10. I am a very fussy person when it comes to reading books , but this sounds very sad , but i loved really the book. Duncan is a great author and if he put his mind to it , he could put all these sad emotions into a fiction book based on someone else. As a big book reader , i know a good book and a talented author and Duncan Fairhurst is one of them. I would like it if Duncan kept on writing more stories as his gripping words would drag my imagination away into a diffrent world.
    I am also glad to here that Duncan is now happily married and hi father isn´t near him.

    Duncan Fairhurst is a goo author and i would love himto keep writing more books. So if your reading this Duncan, YOUR A STAR!!!!!

    Fraser McKinlay

  17. I have just starting reading this story about Duncan Fairhurst’s life and it is so horribly sad. I have only made it to page 27 and I don’t think I can read any-more and I don’t know who to give this book to?, who would it help.

    I just want to say that I am so sorry for Duncan for having to have gone through this absolute torment and what absolute hell for a little boy.

    I have a little boy who is 7 1/2 and I would have to kill someone if they did anything like this to my boy. Little children are so trusting and innocent and feel so much with their loving hearts and to have it squashed and stepped on by an adult; is the worst thing that could happen (especially an adult who you should deem it safe to be with), any adult actually.

    I wish Duncan all the love that he can get in life.


  18. ive just finished this book i couldn’t put it down your amazing and wish you every luck !!

    sabrina XxX

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