1.22.2012

#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.