Review: Breaking Through The Wall, Audrey Freudberg

The benefits of art have been well-known for some time now. Art can help to stimulate the imagination; reduce stress, anxiety and depression; and it can also help you to process trauma. In Breaking Through The Wall, writer and artist Audrey Freudberg has used art as part of her healing process after she was sexually assaulted by a minister she trusted in 1990.
After her ordeal Freudberg turned to drawing and writing to help her cope with her pain, and the result is Breaking Through the Wall.

“I have something to say,” Freudberg writes. “I have a story to tell through words and pictures.” Breaking Through The Wall is a collection of drawings representing Freudberg’s emotional journey over the years, accompanied by narrative of how she was feeling at the time. There’s no chronological order to Freudberg’s account because, as she says herself, the healing process doesn’t follow a chronological pattern. The drawings cover the emotions that she felt following her assault, details of the therapies she tried to aid her recovery, and how she found peace and calm in nature and her surroundings.

Breaking Through The Wall is a deeply personal account of Freudberg’s own experiences. The drawings are relatively simple but nonetheless incredibly affecting, especially when combined with the moving narrative which gives the reader an insight into how she was feeling at various points in time. Though there are a few pages where the handwritten annotations are difficult to read, this doesn’t detract overall from the piece and the drawings and accompanied typed text still convey Freudberg’s emotions. What’s particularly affective is the use of colour, more prominent when illustrating the more positive days Freudberg experienced, for example when she moved to a new apartment and finally found a safe space to feel comfortable in.

A thought-provoking and incredibly honest book, Breaking Through The Wall is an inspiring story of one woman’s journey following sexual assault. In opening up about her own experience, Freudberg will surely help others who have experienced trauma by demonstrating that though it takes time, healing is possible. Though it’s not an easy read at times, it is an essential one and Breaking Through The Wall gives an emotional insight into the recovery process and proves just how powerful art can be.

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