In this excerpt from her book, Wavewalker: Breaking Free, Suzanne Heywood recounts the misery of her unconventional childhood. A three-year sailing adventure ended up being nearly a decade trapped on her parents’ boat — which Heywood remembers here with a brooding resentment. This edited extract gives a full picture of her remarkable story.

My parents always claimed our time on Wavewalker was wonderful and told me I’d had a privileged upbringing. But this oft-repeated mantra conceals a much darker story. What I found, when I mustered enough courage to look back, was that many parts of my childhood were worse than I’d been willing to admit.