It is said that a family who lives with an alcoholic lives with a hippopotamus in the living room. Everybody notices the hippopotamus, that forces the members of the family to adapt to certain circumstances, but everybody tries to deny its existence through silence. This book addresses what happens to children who grow up in the shadow of alcoholism, work addiction, extreme religiosity, incest or violence. The family members of someone suffering from one of these end up becoming co-dependent; each family member suffer through co-dependency of the abuse, and pass on this handicap to the next generation.What do you do with these experiences, that nobody wants to talk about? And how do you become a functioning adult, if you as a child had to conform to the hippopotamus?I feel odd rating this book, because I don't think it's possible to get the full effect of it, if it's not personally relevant, and therefore it doesn't feel fair to rate it down, just because I couldn't relate. Therefore this semi-average rating.I had it recommended to me because I have a couple of very close friends who grew up suffering from some sort of co-dependency, and I could definitely recognize them in the personality traits Tommy describes a co-dependent person as having. However, no matter how much I'd like to, I can't force them to relive their lost childhood, until and unless they feel ready to do so themselves.