My Memoir


Editorial Reviews

“Mandy Smith’s riveting account sheds new light on our understanding of the whole trajectory of childhood sexual abuse. With unflinching courage and candor, the author documents every aspect of this crime, from the grooming that takes place beforehand, the travesty of the abuse itself, the all too frequent family abandonment of the victim who ‘tells,’ and the tragic legacy of emotional damage it leaves in its wake. And despite the horrors, this is a tale full of humanity, told by someone who chooses to love life however she can.”

—Sheila Munro, author of Lives of Mothers and Daughters: Growing up with Alice Munro

“A woman’s voice breaking the silence, telling her secrets, makes a powerful sound. And that’s just what we hear in Smith’s truth-telling memoir, Secrets in Big Sky Country. Smith provides compelling witness to the violence―and its tragic after-effects―that too many girls suffer. Smith, in her important memoir, sheds light on what can only be called crimes against humanity.”

—Sue William Silverman, author of Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You

“Mandy Smith’s compelling, courageous, and ever-engaging voice will awaken you to the vulnerability of children, amaze you at the way even the most abused find keys to nurture inner strength, and have you reinvesting in helping to guarantee all children receive the care and correct behavior they deserve from adults.”

—Sheila Bender, Founder of

“Smith’s courageous account of childhood sexual abuse demonstrates not only the prevalence of this universal crime, but the resilience of a young girl to survive and become a warrior in the fight to eradicate the problem.”

—Marilyn Van Derbur, author of Miss America By Day

“Harrowing and heartbreaking, Smith’s story brings to light the problem of childhood sexual abuse that is still happening across the globe today. Finding her voice as an adult, and becoming an advocate for prevention and awareness, will surely help others.”

—Kristie Kernal OAASIS, Education and Outreach Director OAASIS: Oregon Abuse Advocates & Survivors in Service (Oregon Abuse Advocates & Survivors in Service)

“Mandy Smith tells her truth and accomplishes much of her life’s work with this story. Secrets in Big Sky Country is both disturbing and engaging.”

—Monica Myklebust, MD

Secrets in Big Sky Country is a compelling memoir on the consequences of familial sexual abuse. Mandy Smith writes honestly about her experience with a clear voice, revealing painful memories of a prevalent universal crime that crosses lines of race, religion, and socio-economic status. When the author of this book was a child, there was little support for children who were being sexually abused. Even though Mandy told some of the adults in her life about the abuse, her pleas for help were ignored and swept under a rug of secrecy. Mandy made the decision to share her story about abuse and the ways it damaged and shaped her life. In doing so, she lets other victims know they are not alone; that the tunnel they are caught in has an escape and there is hope at the other end.”

—Ruth L. Ewers, MS, Social Worker, Writer