Altared Boy takes us on a journey through much of the life of a sexually abused altar boy. It is a stark journey laid bare in a delicate and non-graphic manner. Through ongoing flashbacks, which sometimes detonate into his daily life with unfortunate consequences, LCdr Lewis guides us through his pilgrimage through an emotional minefield. His belief that, though you may never be free of the scars you hide, you by no means need to surrender to them, guides his and the readers' voyage. A disturbing but eventually encouraging experience will leave the reader exhausted but exhilarated. A must-read for those who suffered abuse as young children. A tragic but ultimately heartening and restorative account.
The 'tickle game' progressed beyond tickles. He locked the doors to prevent our encounters from being interrupted or discovered. I had no avenue of retreat. This time, however, as I entered the vestry to do my duty as an altar boy, I noticed that he had blocked out the little glass window in the door with brown paper. My heart began to beat faster. Even as a child, I recognized the signs that indicated an escalation. My stomach ached as only those trapped in an inescapable abyss could understand. My hopes rested on the expectation that it would be over quickly, not on the chance it wouldn't occur.
Nancy O’Grady wrote:
"The writing is excellent; the plan of unravelling it through flashbacks is brilliant, but that is not where the real punch hits. The real punch is in 42 years of marriage, five kids and a granddaughter. It is the Lieutenant-Commander staring defiantly at his nemesis. It is the slow struggle of an overcoming spirit. He is the triumphant, relatable, flawed, and damaged man, a classic underdog story. His story chronicles the face of the ‘overcomer’ and becomes a template for turning surviving into thriving. Altared Boy is a gift for all still trapped in the prison of their abuser. Go ahead: unwrap it!"
"David Lewis uses flashbacks to weave chapters of his life together in an exceptionally readable and compelling way. David’s ability to connect past trauma to later life choices and the soundtrack of his adult life will leave the reader with no doubt about the scope of abuse by priests or the deep trauma that inevitably follows the victims for the rest of their lives. His storytelling is riveting. You are there. You hear it, and you see it. You must acknowledge it. You must process it."