Hiding Out

A Story of Family, Secrecy, and Devotion

Tina Alexis Allen Taal: Engels


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Two lives, forever bound together by secrets

Tina Alexis Allen, the youngest of thirteen in a devout Catholic family, had what appeared to be a privileged and normal childhood: She grew up in a fancy house with a pool in the suburbs outside of Washington, D.C. Her family was deeply entrenched in their faith, gathering together for lively dinners and festive holidays. She was a high school basketball star, winning a full scholarship to college. She was beautiful, cared for, and, to those who didn't know the whole story, happy.

But as with many families, appearance and truth are often far apart. Tina's life, and the lives of her mother and twelve siblings, was dominated by Sir John, her charming but formidable father--an English orphan, ex-soldier, and Catholic servant so diligent that he had been knighted by the pope. With a hot temper, an obvious disdain for his wife, and a devotion to drinking that rivaled his devotion to God, Sir John kept his family, ever watchful and fearful of the volcano in their midst, on edge.

As Tina grew into a smart-mouthed teenager, she began to trade in the commodity of secrets, keeping her lesbian identity, her romances with older women, and a deeper secret shame concealed in her heart. It was not until Sir John brought Tina into his successful Catholic travel agency as a protégé that she learned he was even more expert than she in the complicated work of secret keeping.

Together, father and daughter create a private world--reveling in their true identities, pushing the boundaries, and living parallel double lives. But what begins as a tender confession of truth and trust quickly spirals into booze-soaked nights of sex, drugs, and lies. And, as Tina dives ever deeper into her father's life, she discovers a deeply conflicted man whose commitment to his faith has led him into another secret world. This one, she will never know.

Hiding Out is a memoir of a father and daughter who fight like hell to create an honest relationship. It is also an astonishing story of self-discovery, the family ties that bind, the shame that binds even tighter, and the power of the truth to set us free. Hiding Out shows us that real life does always have the edge on fiction.

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