Sep 27, 2009

TSS: The Sitting Swing;

Finding Wisdom to know the Difference
Irene Watson

Available from Amazon, rating: 5 stars

Irene Watson's pretentious life could go no further until she faced her own past. Her inspiring memoir begins at the end, in a recovery center, where she has gone to understand a childhood fraught with abuse, guilt, and uncertainty.

Irene grew up in a family of Ukrainian immigrants to Canada. She was born after the death of their first child, a boy. That loss, mainly blamed on her mother, had a huge impact on the whole family. Irene's mother keeps her close, protected and safe, but the world she created for Irene is too small. Irene spends her days with her mother and abusive cousins. She learns English first when she starts school, and the lack of language knowledge adds to the separation between her and other kids. Being constantly controlled and corrected by her mother, Irene grows into a defiant, angry girl who can barely wait to leave home. Though she moves on with her life, it always feels like something's missing-or that something is out of place. Now, faced with a possible divorce, Irene comes to Avalon, a recovery center. Apparently, she has no addiction problems, and she is there just to catch the "Avalon jargon" all her friends are talking about, and which could maybe help her in her own job as therapist.

This is where the book begins. Here is one of my favorite paragraphs, that perfectly catches the "I don't have a problem" attitude:

Yes, things were off to a terrific start. My best course of action was becoming clearer all the time. Give them some things about me to play with, to feel that they could fix. Show how happy I was to have my problems resolved, and what a different person I could be at graduation. That way I wouldn’t be opening up to people like Gabby, or to people who would put cameras in my room. And along the way, I could make use of the retreat—open up, perhaps, and spend time in personal reflection. Then at graduation, maybe I really would be different. They could let me go, believing they’d made a difference, and I would leave, knowing I had made a difference on my own.

            But that’s not how it worked at all. p 4

Very soon the "miracle of Avalon " becomes apparent. Not only does she realize that there is a problem, but she also learns how to deal with the guilt, shame and abuse from her childhood. She re-writes her life script, breaks free from learned patterns of behavior and finds new confidence within herself.

The book is written in a extremely sincere and authentic voice. By telling her life story, Irene reminisces the roots of the dissatisfaction in her life. This book has definitely worked its magic on me. Not to go into details about my personal life-but there is my "aha!" moment within the pages of this wonderful book. It surely got me a lot to think about, and though I finished reading this book several days ago, it's still within my reach. I keep rereading particular places as they really opened my eyes to some things I'd never think existed in me. I'm really grateful to Irene for this book and her encouraging e-mails.

Isn't it wonderful when you can discuss the effect of the book on you with the author?

All information about Irene Watson and her book can be found at Irene's web page. The site is well worth a visit, among many other useful links you can read the first few pages and get a taste of Irene's writing.

***NOTE for serious readers!***
 Irene runs the Reader Views, a service for authors and readers that provides book reviews, author interviews, book publicity, editing services and literary awards. Check it out and read the requirements if you  are interested in becoming a book reviewer.

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