In this harrowing debut memoir on the darkness of addiction and finding recovery, Desiree-Anne uncovers her real voice to brilliantly write about things that were previously left unspoken. 

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CHANNILLO
We Don't Talk About It. Ever.
By Desiree-Anne Martin

Series Description:

Not in recent years has there been a book that so powerfully unpacks and interrogates the brutality of abuse, addiction, sex work, recovery, motherhood and mental health issues. While hard-hitting and shocking, it is also deeply inspiring, humorous and simply unputdownable.

In 1980s apartheid Cape Town, five-year-old Desiree-Anne is grappling with how she’s going to turn her tar baby doll’s skin into soft lily-white. She doesn’t know how to force her father to stop drinking or gambling or make her mother love her or get the boys and men to stop touching her in secret. 

As she grows up, she begins to understand the rules of living in her depressed family and fractured community.

"Was I in trouble? Were they going to finally make sense of everything that had been happening to me? But no one said a word. I soon learned that this was how it worked in my family. We Don’t Talk About It. Ever." 

In her teens, laden with the awkwardness of bushy, unruly hair and a body rounder than a Womble's, Desiree-Anne is forced to confront her ‘coloured identity crisis’. She turns to self-harm, disordered eating, the thrill of petty theft and escapism through books and acting. She also finds drugs and alcohol are the great anaesthetic to her unbearable pain which leads to a downward spiral into addiction. When she meets Darren, a heroin addict, her search for love descends into a hellishly self-destructive spiral as an intravenous heroin addict.

In this harrowing debut memoir on the darkness of addiction and finding recovery, Desiree-Anne uncovers her real voice to brilliantly write about things that were previously left unspoken. 

Category/Genre(s): Nonfiction
Updated: Weekly
Status: Ongoing



Author Bio For Desiree-Anne Martin:

Desiree-Anne Martin, born in 1976, in Cape Town, South Africa is an award-winning published author, poet and general word junkie.  

She is an addictions and general counsellor in private practice, a director of two companies, a lecturer on topics around addiction as well as running workshops for adolescents about boundaries, consent, high-risk behaviour, emotional regulation and identifying toxic relationships. She also graduated from the University of Cape Town in 2019 with a postgraduate diploma at the age of 43, is a wife, full-time mother to an 11-year-old and a three-year-old, and a part-time warrior-woman.  

She is a recovering addict with over 16 years of sobriety after having been enslaved to a multitude of addictions including an eating disorder, self-harm and, her rock bottom, an intravenous heroin addict. This led to a life of criminal activity and sex work. 

She dabbles in her own unpredictable mood disorder and is a vocal advocate for mental health issues as well as the destigmatization of this and other taboo issues.

She self-published a poetry book/ journal called believe more deeply. in April 2018. Her poetry has also been featured in print poetry anthologies and on poetry e-zines and websites. 

In June 2018, her short story about racial identification as a young girl called “Orange, White and Blue” was published in the Life Righting Collective’s anthology, This Is How It Is, published by Jacana.

In August 2018, she published her “searing, brutal and breathtaking” (Rehana Rossouw) memoir, We Don’t Talk About It. Ever. (published by MFBooks Jhb/ Jacana) which chronicles her life’s struggles which include childhood sexual abuse, family dysfunction, addiction, struggles in recovery, toxic relationships and mental health concerns. It is, however, ultimately a story of redemption and hope. 

In June 2020, her essay “No one Tells You.” which spoke to her shaky journey towards claiming her place as a fierce feminist was included in the anthology Living While Feminist, curated by Jen Thorpe (NB Publishers).

In July this year, she was awarded the national arts24/ Kwela Books Corona Fiction Competition, with her story of a young girl from the Cape Flats dealing with her father’s alcoholism during Lockdown called ‘Delirium’, beatin







Series Description:

Not in recent years has there been a book that so powerfully unpacks and interrogates the brutality of abuse, addiction, sex work, recovery, motherhood and mental health issues. While hard-hitting and shocking, it is also deeply inspiring, humorous and simply unputdownable.

In 1980s apartheid Cape Town, five-year-old Desiree-Anne is grappling with how she’s going to turn her tar baby doll’s skin into soft lily-white. She doesn’t know how to force her father to stop drinking or gambling or make her mother love her or get the boys and men to stop touching her in secret. 

As she grows up, she begins to understand the rules of living in her depressed family and fractured community.

"Was I in trouble? Were they going to finally make sense of everything that had been happening to me? But no one said a word. I soon learned that this was how it worked in my family. We Don’t Talk About It. Ever." 

In her teens, laden with the awkwardness of bushy, unruly hair and a body rounder than a Womble's, Desiree-Anne is forced to confront her ‘coloured identity crisis’. She turns to self-harm, disordered eating, the thrill of petty theft and escapism through books and acting. She also finds drugs and alcohol are the great anaesthetic to her unbearable pain which leads to a downward spiral into addiction. When she meets Darren, a heroin addict, her search for love descends into a hellishly self-destructive spiral as an intravenous heroin addict.

In this harrowing debut memoir on the darkness of addiction and finding recovery, Desiree-Anne uncovers her real voice to brilliantly write about things that were previously left unspoken. 

Category/Genre(s): Nonfiction
Updated: Weekly
Status: Ongoing


Author Bio For Desiree-Anne Martin:

Desiree-Anne Martin, born in 1976, in Cape Town, South Africa is an award-winning published author, poet and general word junkie.  

She is an addictions and general counsellor in private practice, a director of two companies, a lecturer on topics around addiction as well as running workshops for adolescents about boundaries, consent, high-risk behaviour, emotional regulation and identifying toxic relationships. She also graduated from the University of Cape Town in 2019 with a postgraduate diploma at the age of 43, is a wife, full-time mother to an 11-year-old and a three-year-old, and a part-time warrior-woman.  

She is a recovering addict with over 16 years of sobriety after having been enslaved to a multitude of addictions including an eating disorder, self-harm and, her rock bottom, an intravenous heroin addict. This led to a life of criminal activity and sex work. 

She dabbles in her own unpredictable mood disorder and is a vocal advocate for mental health issues as well as the destigmatization of this and other taboo issues.

She self-published a poetry book/ journal called believe more deeply. in April 2018. Her poetry has also been featured in print poetry anthologies and on poetry e-zines and websites. 

In June 2018, her short story about racial identification as a young girl called “Orange, White and Blue” was published in the Life Righting Collective’s anthology, This Is How It Is, published by Jacana.

In August 2018, she published her “searing, brutal and breathtaking” (Rehana Rossouw) memoir, We Don’t Talk About It. Ever. (published by MFBooks Jhb/ Jacana) which chronicles her life’s struggles which include childhood sexual abuse, family dysfunction, addiction, struggles in recovery, toxic relationships and mental health concerns. It is, however, ultimately a story of redemption and hope. 

In June 2020, her essay “No one Tells You.” which spoke to her shaky journey towards claiming her place as a fierce feminist was included in the anthology Living While Feminist, curated by Jen Thorpe (NB Publishers).

In July this year, she was awarded the national arts24/ Kwela Books Corona Fiction Competition, with her story of a young girl from the Cape Flats dealing with her father’s alcoholism during Lockdown called ‘Delirium’, beatin