Thursday, February 6, 2020

Groomed: Overcoming the Messages that Shaped Our Past and Limit Our Future by Elizabeth Melendez Fisher Good with Beth Jusino (TLC Book Tours)

Elizabeth Melendez Fisher Good is the cofounder of Selah Freedom, one of the nation’s leading anti-sex trafficking organizations.  Good teaches that sharing our secrets and personal stories with others can help people to heal from personal trauma.  She also feels that messages that children receive when thy are young groom them to live lives that are not their own. In Groomed, Good shares her personal story to explore the areas where women are often groomed:  for appearances, to be invisible, for judgement, to endure, or for financial fear.  She explores not only how that can lead women to be sex trafficked, but how it can affect those that are not sex trafficked into leading lives that are not fully their own. 

The book starts with “How Did I End Up Here” with the story of a child having a secret, one that is so deep that they can’t share it with others although it will change the direction of their life forever.  This hooked me into the book and I was intrigued by the rest of the book as well.  It gave me a lot to think about and I recognized myself in several parts of the book.  The first three chapters of the book focus on how we’ve all been groomed.  The next five chapters focus on the specifics of how we’ve been groom and the last three are how to make changes and the leave the life that is causing you harm.

In the groomed for appearance section, I recognized my Grandma.  She and other members of the family were constantly remarking on the appearances of all of the girls in my family, even ranking us on our appearance and weight.  I was the valedictorian of my class, but always felt unworthy as I am not a skinny beauty queen.  It was just this Thanksgiving while going through her old pictures, I found an envelope with clippings about me and the awards I had won in high school.  She had never told me she was proud of me, but was always criticizing my appearance.  It made me sad. I realize now that was how she was raised and how her entire focus in life was to make sure she was groomed for her appearance and looking good. It was her way to help me out and love me I think to criticize, although I wish it could have been different. I really thought the quotes below from the groomed for appearance section were very thoughtful, especially this week where the news is full of the appearance of Jennifer Lopez at 50 and how the Super Bowl performance represents “Empowered Women.”  I found this focus very sad and falling into the same trap for women.  I don’t remember talk last year about Adam Levine doing well and looking well on the stage at his age and how it represented “Empowered Men.”

“Study after study shows that children intuitively believe what adults tell them, even if those messages contradict what they see right in front of them.  Not only that, but children internalize those messages and carry them into adulthood.  When boys are routinely complimented as smart and girls are told their pretty, it affects what they seek in the future.”

“Girls who were groomed for appearances often become women who don’t know how to look beneath their own surfaces.”

“Focusing too much on appearances takes all our energy and focuses it on what other people see, leaving nothing left for who we really are.”

The groomed to be invisible section sadly made me think of my other Grandma.  She was groomed to be invisible, always in the background serving and never the focus of anyone.  Poor Grandma.  “But far too many women hover in the background because they believe this unhealthy message:  You’re here to serve, not to be recognized.  You don’t deserve anything more.”

While I recognized myself in many sections of the book, I realized I was groomed to endure.  I am the always busy person that is always helping people and never having time just for myself.  This was what my family needed from me when my parents divorced, I needed to keep everything together in both households.  This has continued on to adulthood where I am now the always busy person trying to figure out how I got here.  This book gave me a lot to think about and I particularly liked these quotes:

“Your friends and family know that you’re the dependable one, the reliable one, the one who will be there for anything, no questions asked.   Most of the time they take you for granted – not because they are trying to hurt you but because they can’t respect your boundaries if you’ve never established any.”

“You were groomed to believe you exist to care for others, but that’s left you without space for your own needs to be met.”

This book not only gave me an insight on how people become victims of sex-trafficking, but it also gave me insight into myself and how I was “groomed” by others into who I am these days for both the positive and the negative.  I think it’s a good book for all women to read.

A lot of what I liked about this book was Elizabeth Melendez Fisher Good's personal story and the story of the development of the Selah Freedom Foundation. Her candor was refreshing.

One more Favorite Quote: 
“If you find yourself stuck in an endless loop of resentment or angry feelings toward a person who hurt you years ago, you’re probably spending too much time on something that can’t be changed.”                                                 

Overall, Groomed is an important book that gives insight of how people become victims of sex-trafficking, but also into how we are all “groomed” in our lives.  It was a very thought-provoking book and one that I think all women should read.

Book Source:  Review Copy from Thomas Nelson as a part of the TLC Book Tour!  For more stops on this tour, check out this link.


  1. This book sounds interesting and valuable, especially for girls and women. Wonderful review, Laura.

  2. Thank-you! It is an inspiring book for women and girls.