Reviews for I cried to dream again : trafficking, murder, and deliverance : a memoir

Library Journal
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At age 17, Kruzan murdered the pimp who had forced her into sex work and abused her between the ages of 11 and 16. With information about her abuse inadmissible at her trial, she was sentenced to life in prison. A 2009 Human Rights Watch video brought attention to her case, and she was released after serving 19 years and seven months in prison. She now works as an advocate for survivors like her, and her efforts have paid off. Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) has introduced a bill in Congress known as Sara's Law that would allow federal judges to impose reduced sentencing for survivors of juvenile sex trafficking, abuse, and assault who commit crimes against their abusers.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Kruzan powerfully chronicles the story of how she killed the man who abused and trafficked her during her teen years. A testament to both the capricious nature of the American criminal justice system and the power of hope, Kruzan’s book, co-written by Thomas, is a harrowing and eye-opening account of how easily things can go wrong. Because the author’s story is not unique, it’s that much more heartbreaking. Raised by an abusive single mother in decrepit houses and consistently dangerous circumstances, Kruzan describes her life in unflinching but compassionate detail. Having established at the beginning of the text that she killed a man, who called himself GG, we’re swiftly taken back to the makeshift bedroom of a little girl who only ever wanted to make her mother smile and who could be easily won over with ice cream. The narrative moves fast, giving readers a palpable sense of Kruzan’s helplessness to stop what was happening as she was swept up in physical and sexual abuse and groomed by GG to be a trafficked child. By the time she was 16, she writes, “my biggest wish would be to be rescued from him and everything he had introduced me to.” Before the age of 18, Kruzan was convicted of murder and sent to prison for life without parole. Commendably, amid the many dark parts of the book, the author takes time to highlight, with gratitude, the bright spots. Despite all the people who did her wrong, she is diligent about naming the many people who offered assistance, including teachers, neighbors, friends, and friends’ families. Later, Kruzan writes poignantly about the tenderness and sisterhood she discovered in prison. Overwhelmingly, she notes, her fellow incarcerated women were kind and thoughtful, often victims of the same system that caused the author so many years of suffering. A must-read for parents, civil servants, and activists. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Publishers Weekly
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Activist Kruzan debuts with a stirring account of her harrowing experience as a victim of child sex trafficking. Raised in a low-income neighborhood with an abusive mother, Kruzan was particularly vulnerable when in the late 1980s, at age 11, she met a man named GG while walking home from school. “It was his gentleness... that captured me,” she writes. As she recounts in unflinching scenes, GG began to groom her for the sex trade, molesting her for months before lending her to his “clients.” The abuse went on for years until 16-year-old Kruzan shot and killed GG—an act of self-defense that led to her sentence, as a juvenile, to life without parole by a judge who refused to hear her story. After nearly 20 years in prison, Kruzan was released thanks to activists who tirelessly campaigned for her freedom, and from then on devoted her life to fighting for sex trafficking victims, most notably helping pass a law that protects them from “disproportionate sentencing as a result of crimes against our abusers.” Writing with power and clarity, she asserts “the most important requirement for preventing the sexual exploitation of... victims of trafficking is empathy.” Her testimony rings out as a searing critique of a broken criminal justice system and a galvanizing call to end the violence it permits. (May)


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Kruzan powerfully chronicles the story of how she killed the man who abused and trafficked her during her teen years.A testament to both the capricious nature of the American criminal justice system and the power of hope, Kruzans book, co-written by Thomas, is a harrowing and eye-opening account of how easily things can go wrong. Because the authors story is not unique, its that much more heartbreaking. Raised by an abusive single mother in decrepit houses and consistently dangerous circumstances, Kruzan describes her life in unflinching but compassionate detail. Having established at the beginning of the text that she killed a man, who called himself GG, were swiftly taken back to the makeshift bedroom of a little girl who only ever wanted to make her mother smile and who could be easily won over with ice cream. The narrative moves fast, giving readers a palpable sense of Kruzans helplessness to stop what was happening as she was swept up in physical and sexual abuse and groomed by GG to be a trafficked child. By the time she was 16, she writes, my biggest wish would be to be rescued from him and everything he had introduced me to. Before the age of 18, Kruzan was convicted of murder and sent to prison for life without parole. Commendably, amid the many dark parts of the book, the author takes time to highlight, with gratitude, the bright spots. Despite all the people who did her wrong, she is diligent about naming the many people who offered assistance, including teachers, neighbors, friends, and friends families. Later, Kruzan writes poignantly about the tenderness and sisterhood she discovered in prison. Overwhelmingly, she notes, her fellow incarcerated women were kind and thoughtful, often victims of the same system that caused the author so many years of suffering.A must-read for parents, civil servants, and activists. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

In her courageous and unforgettable memoir, activist Kruzan shares the harrowing story of her young life. Kruzan grew up in poverty in California, abused by her single mother and the men in her mother’s orbit. As a preteen, she was assaulted and groomed by a man named GG, who became Kruzan’s pimp and trafficked her into her teen years. On a fateful day, at age 16, Kruzan shot and killed GG, and later was sentenced to life without parole. Kruzan had to adjust her perspective for survival in prison. Years passed before the unthinkable happened: Human Rights Watch invested in her case. Activist groups used Kruzan’s story to shine a light on the injustices faced by sex-trafficking victims, especially minors, as well as to speak out against juvenile offenders being sentenced to life without parole. Released after almost two decades behind bars, Kruzan encountered a new set of social, emotional, and logistical challenges when reentering society. Now she's an advocate for young people who face similar struggles, a fighter who fights with a hopeful, loving spirit. That spirit is captured on every page of this memoir that's as brave and brilliant as its author.

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