A Private Family Matter

A Memoir

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This is a story about how I was saved by love, at a time when most people considered me beyond rescue.

So begins Victor Rivas Rivers in this powerful chronicle of his escape from the war zone of domestic violence -- too often regarded as a "private family matter" -- and his journey toward independence, recovery, and renewal.

In A Private Family Matter, Victor recalls his days as an angry youth living under the rule and wrath of his father. A Cuban immigrant, Victor's dad was nicknamed El Ciclón for his tempestuous temperament, which led him not only to beat his wife but to abuse -- and eventually kidnap -- his own children. How Victor managed to seek help for his family and criminal punishment for his father, overcome his demons and learn to love himself, and share his experience with other victims and survivors of domestic abuse is at the heart of this profound and affecting memoir.
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Book Details:
  • Atria Books | 
  • 384 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743487894 | 
  • April 2006
List Price $18.99

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1:sancti spíritus (1955-1957)

The multitude of palm trees of various forms, the highest and most beautiful I have ever met with, and an infinity of great and green trees; the birds in rich plumage and the verdure of the fields; render this country, most serene princes, of such marvellous beauty that it surpasses all others in charms and graces as the day doth the night in lustre. I have been so overwhelmed at the sight of so much beauty that I have not known how to relate it.

-- Christopher Columbus, on Cuba,

to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, 1492

Olga Angelica Lopez Ibarra was born prematurely... see more

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Reading Group Guide

Reading Guide
A Private Family Matter
By Victor Rivas Rivers
Introduction:
"This is a story about how I was saved by love at a time when most people considered me beyond rescue," begins Victor Rivas Rivers in this powerful chronicle of how he escaped the war zone of domestic violence--too often regarded as a "private family matter"-- and went on to become a good man, a film star, and a prominent activist.
The Cuban-born author begins by recalling when he was kidnapped, along with three of his siblings, by his own father, who abandoned Victor's pregnant mother and took the children on a cross-country hell-ride that nearly ended in a fatal collision. This journey of survival portrays with riveting detail how, instead of becoming a madman like his father, Victor was saved by a band of mortal angels. Miraculously, seven families stepped forward, along with teachers and coaches, to empower him on his road from gang member to class president, through harrowing and hilarious football adventures at Florida State and with the Miami Dolphins, to overcoming the Hollywood odds and becoming a champion for all those impacted by domestic violence.
Though at times Victor's odyssey is heartbreaking and disturbing, A Private Family Matter is ultimately a triumphant testament to humanity, courage, and love. Profound and poignant, it is a compelling memoir with a cause. Victor Rivers's way of thanking all the angels and advocates who made a see more

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