Huntingdale author’s memoir documents strength of human spirit GREG GLIDDON PROGRESS LEADER NOVEMBER
THE human spirit can be a remarkable thing and it is that will to keep on going that has saved Susan Berg.
At the age of just 15, Berg was the sole survivor of tragic family fishing trip accident on Port Phillip Bay.
The Huntingdale author last week launched her first novel, a memoir titled The Girl Who Lived, at Readings book store in Hawthorn.
Berg’s story recounts an incredible tale of abuse she received just for living, despite swimming for hours and finally getting to a deserted prison island which saved her life
“When I was 15 years old, I was receiving hundreds of letters every day. This was a sample — ‘You f---ing bitch! Your brother went in aid to help your parents and you left them for dead’,” Berg said.
On the fateful day in question, the weather was clear and conditions light.
“It was a crisp October afternoon, a perfect day for fishing. I’d been looking forward to the family outing all week,” Berg said.
“But our joyous day ended abruptly when, as the sun went down, our boat took on water and sank.
“I was separated from my parents and brother, I swam in the darkness for hours, overcoming the threat of hypothermia, shark attacks and quicksand mud.
“After crawling through pitch-black swamplands, I arrived at an old prison island; a place virtually void of human life.”
The bodies of Berg’s mother, father and brother were found the following morning.
“In just one night, my life had changed forever,” she said.
“In the next 12 months alone, I lost my grandmother, uncle and cousin, along with two kittens and a goldfish. Everything I loved, died.
“Before my sixteenth birthday, I’d been raped by a trusted family friend, introduced to drugs and preyed upon by a man who lured me into a seedy sexual world.”
But Susan’s spirit stayed with her and now aged 40, she’s ready to tell her story
“Life hasn’t all been bad,” she said.
“I’ve been abandoned by family and blessed with friends, devastated by death and enriched by love.
“I’ve embraced many challenges and faced my fears and this is the story of my life.”