Monday, October 3, 2011

Review: Moonlight on Linoleum

Moonlight on Linoleum
Author: Terry Helwig
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Expected Publication Date: October 4, 2011
ARC: 220 pages
Source: won on

My Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from Terry Helwig and her five sisters were raised by their charismatic, troubled, and very young mother, Carola, who struggled with loneliness and infidelity. Because of their stepfather’s roving job in the oil fields, the family moved frequently from town to town in the American West. The girls were often separated and left behind with relatives, never knowing what their unstable mother would do next. Yet, even in the face of adversity, Terry found beauty in the small moments: resting in the boughs of her favorite oak tree, savoring the freedom she found on her grandparents’ farm, and gleefully discovering the joys of dating and dancing.
Despite the hardships and the limitations of age, Terry rose above her circumstances to become an excellent and faithful caregiver to her five siblings. She finds power in bonding with her sisters, and they manage to thrive in the face of constant upheaval and uncertainty. A moving and motivating portrait of love and perseverance, Moonlight on Linoleum is a poignant tribute to the bonds of family and the tenacity of love.

My Thoughts: Reading the synopsis of this book, I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know if it would be a memoir with Terry complaining about her childhood or one that was constantly putting a positive spin on things. Fortunately, Terry Helwig does neither. She presents her story: a daughter who is the caregiver with a troubled mother as the matriarch of the family. Hearing Terry tell her story is incredible, not only because of what happened, but how she writes about it. She does it with feeling, but it's neither whining or uplifting. She presents the events as they happened, as she remembers it. She does so with such fluidity that it almost seems as if this is a police report. There is little feeling there, but there is a complete picture of what happened. I loved that Terry didn't turn it into a pity party. I did feel bad, but Terry did not make me feel that way. She leaves it up to the reader to decide whether the situations were sad or not. 

Terry Helwig's writing is superb and she tells her story with such clarity. Reading about her experience left me so grateful for my family and the way that I was raised. It would have been so easy for Terry to abandon her sisters to start her own life, but she made sure that they always kept in touch and were a part of each other's lives. If you enjoy memoirs such as The Glass Castle, then you will love this book. It's a moving story about a young girl's life and the bond between sisters, even when seperated by thousands of miles.

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