Review – DON’T CALL ME MOTHER

I wrote this review for www.BookPleasures.com and decided it is an important enough book to share with visitors to my own blog.

DON’T CALL ME MOTHER (New Edition)

Linda Joy Myers

She Writes Press, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-938314-02-5

 A friend once told me, “Your mother is your first best friend.” This is irrevocably true, even if she becomes your worst enemy. What Linda Joy Myers found and shares is a darker truth: Even the worst mother stays with you, though she has tried hard to shake you loose and you have tried to shake loose from her.

DON’T CALL ME MOTHER wheedles its way inside the reader’s heart and brain, but the details are no more important that the reason this author wrote this story. It is a memoir and therefore a journey for the writer. The most painful image that emerges is a train leaving the station with a mother who is glad to leave a child behind; and the most hopeful image is a girl with her mother on a train heading toward the future. These conflicting ideas haunt the life of “little Linda” as she is shifted around in a landscape of relatives. After realizing her grandmother, her rescuer, also is abusive, Linda found strength within herself through music (a rewarding form of self-discipline), religion (later, a broader sense of spirituality), and periodic visits with what seemed like warm, welcoming, extended family. Her sense of her own future shining on the horizon, cutting through a fog of despair, kept her going toward a positive resolution. She expected her mother to change.

It wasn’t until she was a mature adult that Myers seriously sought ways to free herself from the destructive emotional clutches of three generations of women, possibly more, who were rejecting and abandoning their daughters, a behavior she finally learned was due to manic-depressive disorder. She turned to writing. All of these short chapters are vivid recollections, fragments of a bigger story. They are written in the present tense. As she pursues additional information over several years, the memories become linked in a panoramic narrative that starts before her time. It’s not a pretty picture, and without her intervention, it could end badly.

Thus Myers’ account of her healing amounts to more than her personal story; it’s a demonstration, for the author is a psychotherapist who gravitated into the field by a desire to help people, to break the tradition of abuse in her lineage. As she explains in her epilogue, there were many therapies she leaned on along the way, but writing became central. With a colleague she established that writing has a positive impact on the immune system. She developed memoir-writing professionally, as a therapeutic technique, and founded the National Association of Memoir Writers. She now guides others through workshops, teleseminars, and blogs.

Myers shows that it is the process that matters, the miles of track, peeling off layers of confusion through contacts with the demons of her past. 

FOR TIPS ON MEMOIR WRITING, GO TO memoriesandmemoirs.com where you will find out what other tools are available to you.

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