Deborah Levison is shining the spotlight on abuse and the evils surrounding it. The Trumbull resident has written a story about a trauma that shocked her family.
“The story started in 2010, with a violent crime that rocked my family. We discovered a wooden crate, nailed tightly shut and hidden on our property north of Toronto,” said Levison, a native of Canada who moved here in 1996. “We weren’t prepared for the horrific contents of the crate.”
Levison has taken that shock to create The Crate: A Story of War, a Murder, and Justice, which was released June 19.
The finding was something they never thought would happen, she said. Her family was just plain freaked out.
“The discovery left my family reeling,” she said. “It was in all the headlines, my brother was a murder suspect, we had young kids to shield. But the worst part was that my elderly parents were traumatized. The discovery dredged up their terrible memories of their experiences in the Holocaust and forced them to confront violence yet again.”
In perhaps a way to heal through the ordeal, she began to write.
“In the book I talk about the seemingly limitless human capacity for evil … evil in the past, and evil in the present,” said Levison.
“Those first days after the discovery were filled with horror and anger and a huge sense of violation,” she said. “But once we identified the victim, and once we learned the horrible circumstances surrounding the crate, it hit me: everything we were feeling was nothing compared to what the victim’s family was going through. I realized I could give the victim a voice.”
Besides giving the victim a chance to “speak,” Levison said she is shining light on abuse.
“Women and men who have been abused now have global platforms like the #MeToo movement in which to be heard,” she said. “At the same time, I wanted to preserve my parents’ memories from the Holocaust. Fewer and fewer survivors remain, and the voices of denial are loud. I wanted to preserve my parents’ stories.”
Levison admits it took her “longer than it should have” to finish this story.
“I did two things wrong: first, I had a bad habit of editing and polishing as I went along, which slowed things down,” she said. “Second, I didn’t start with an outline.”
She had written several chapters with a general idea of what direction she wanted her story to take when an editor told her something.
“She likened writing a book to building a house: she said you have to frame the house before you can decorate the rooms,” said Levison. “All told, it took about a year and a half to two years.”
The Crate: A Story of War, a Murder, and Justice will also be available in audio format.
The book is available at the Barnes and Noble website, Fairfield University Bookstore or www.debbielevison.com.