I’m not a fan of the memoir. All that disclosure. All that self-absorbed recall. In this age of tell-all and tell it well, my tastes seem woefully out of step.

When it comes to reading for pleasure (and what other kind of reading is there, really?), I want my books full of characters and tone, and a plot that offers discovery, even a painfully beautiful reckoning. I don’t go for the light stuff (too often) but I don’t want real life – the memoir -- to intrude on my mental adventure.

So it is with great surprise that I find myself immersed in Telling, A Memoir of Rape and Recovery by Patricia Weaver Francisco.

It is painful and searing and so beautifully written that I read it in almost one sitting. I only put the book down so I could step away to breathe. When the book was published in 1999, it was hailed as sad and wise, with writing both lyrical and electrifying.

Days before I turned the first page, I circled the book with apprehension, afraid to dive into such sorrow. But in just the first chapter, I was clinging to a life raft of pain, my knuckles worn and grateful. Weaver Francisco said she wrote this book for “the men and women who are friends and spouses and fathers and sisters of rape survivors. It's a terribly difficult position to be in. Most of us have no idea what happens to a woman afterward, what to expect or what a survivor might need. We don't even know what questions to ask.”

I still don’t know. But I feel closer to the conversation now. With Telling, a heavy door has opened just enough to offer a slice of thin light.