#Review: The Sitting Swing by Irene Watson

Title: The Sitting Swing 
Author: Irene Watson
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Blurb: Named for a childhood swing the author remembers as being impossible to get moving because of the rose bushes directly behind it, Watson's memoir recounts her fearful, highly sheltered years growing up an only child to Ukrainian immigrants in 1940s Alberta, Canada. Watson writes from the hindsight of her 50s, living in a Quebec addiction-recovery facility, where she has checked herself in for 28 days, unsure whether she can stay married to a husband she considers as overbearing as her mother was to her. Gradually, Watson uncovers the childhood wounds leading to her personality crisis: until age six, she lived in a log cabin in the wilderness within a few feet of her prohibitive mother, who pined for her dead firstborn son. Watson was largely ignored by her farmer father, abused by cousins and neighbors, and unable at first to speak English at her schoolhouse or make friends. Denied expression and love within the family, she acted out and married a man who helped continue to make excuses for her lack of ambition. She undergoes a rigorous 12-step program and a systematic breaking down of her ego so that she can re-create herself. This is an earnest memoir, well structured, though the writing lacks rigorous urgency. 

Review: I honestly thought I would be reading this ‘preachy self-help book’ when I opened The Sitting Swing and read the first few paragraphs. Ugh, why am I reviewing this book again? Then I continued to read. Irene’s trip to Avalon and her experience with Gilles made me feel happy/mad/understanding. Then the telling of her story had me in tears for nights on end (really only 4 nights). I hated what had happened to her. I felt compassion for her. I understood her. I was at a loss for her. I wanted to gather little Irene and hold her to protect her from the world. Then I got mad. How dare Irene talk about the feelings I had growing up? How dare she put it on paper, and talk about it in her book. (Yes, I too have issues.) That’s when I truly knew that her book was extraordinary. There have been only a few books in my life that I wanted to throw down in disgust from hearing my own thoughts. This was one. There was so much depth of feeling in this book that I could see and feel myself in it. I am still working on my journey toward a better me and a new life script. I hope to one day gain the insight that Irene has shown us in her wonderful book. I feel so close to the author after reading this book. I feel calling her by her first name is acceptable and she is a friend I can trust. May we all find the trust of a friend. *** I would like to thank Business2Blogger for allowing me to have wonderful contact with this author. I would also like to thank the author for the chance to ‘meet’ her and accept her hand on my next stepping stone to life. This was a paid post, but the opinions are completely mine and were not affected by the compensation. 


Review: Gathering of the Waters by Bernice L. McFadden

Title: Gathering of Waters
Author: Bernice L. McFadden

Gathering of Waters is a deeply engrossing tale narrated by the town of Money, Mississippi–a site both significant and infamous in our collective story as a nation. Money is personified in this haunting story, which chronicles its troubled history following the arrival of the Hilson and Bryant families. Tass Hilson and Emmett Till were young and in love when Emmett was brutally murdered in 1955. Anxious to escape the town, Tass marries Maximillian May and relocates to Detroit. Forty years later, after the death of her husband, Tass returns to Money and fantasy takes flesh when Emmett Till’s spirit is finally released from the dank, dark waters of the Tallahatchie River. The two lovers are reunited, bringing the story to an enchanting and profound conclusion. Gathering of Waters mines the truth about Money, Mississippi, as well as the town’s families, and threads their history over decades. The bare-bones realism–both disturbing and riveting–combined with a magical realm in which ghosts have the final say, is reminiscent of Toni Morrison’s Beloved. Review: I’ve done a review before on a book of Ms. McFadden titled Glorious. The author wowed me with this book, and has done the same with Gathering of Waters. As you can tell from the description above, the book sounds WONDERFUL! But the book is so much more! The book is raw with emotion, life, and experience. Not only do you feel for the characters, you are transformed into the characters and experience everything that they do. I have said this on Twitter in regards to this book: Finished this book today:http://t.co/OIgaTl5P@queenazsa is an astounding heart wrenchingly wonderful master of prose! I mean this today as much as I meant it then. I am not sure there is enough praise that I can give this book. In regards to the publisher, Akashic Books, it is proof to the company’s worth to have Ms. McFadden as one of their authors. Since I am a book snob, and find typos in books (even by the ‘biggest’ of authors) I can honestly say that the editors at this house are worth their weight in gold. - See more at: http://miscramblings.us/category/book-review/#sthash.bImI1EDJ.dpuf