Artist Chamed's Debut Memoir Recounts Horrors of Italian 'Madhouse'

TAMPA, FL--(Marketwire - Dec 9, 2011) - Italian artist Chamed shares a heart-rending tale of adolescence spent committed to a psychiatric hospital 30 years ago in "My Heart Stopped Beating: A True Story," (

In this debut memoir, Chamed -- who identifies herself only by the single name -- recounts her childhood as a beloved daddy's girl stricken with polio as a toddler. By 14, she has learned again to walk and talk and is asserting her independence when an accident claims her parents' lives.

Taken in by her kind uncle and jealous aunt, Chamed is subject to humiliation and physical abuse before the aunt has her committed to an institution where even more abuse is heaped upon her. Hers is a cautionary tale of the horrors that can exist when authority figures are allowed unchecked power over children.

"It's a painful yet necessary document(ation)" of what can happen to a child left in the care of a cruel foster parent and an institution, writes reviewer Ophelia Autumn. "Moreover Chamed teaches us courage and shows us that with the love she received, she was able to get out of the hell she was in."

The author says she wrote "My Heart Stopped Beating" from her diaries and memory, according to Paperback Writer, a blog featuring author interviews.

"I wish that all the past pains -- the moral poverty that poisons my life and will, and all the things that I still think about, particularly the internment in the asylum -- disappear from my head," Chamed told Paperback Writer. "My memories sometimes make me feel very lonely even in the moments when I don't expect to be lonely at all."

About Chamed

Chamed lives in Tuscany and works as a canvas and porcelain painter, frequently traveling abroad. Her memoir, written in Italian, was translated by Beniamino Soressi.

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Ginny Grimsley