Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Review: Who Do You Think You Are? A Memoir

I was ready for a memoir when I was contacted to read Who Do You Think You Are? by Alyse Myers, but I don't know if I was ready for this powerful and heart wrenching tale of a young child and the struggles she faced growing up.

Soon after Alyse Myers’s mother dies, Alyse and her two sisters are in her apartment, deciding what to keep and what to get rid of. Her greedy sisters are trying to get anything of value that they can get their hands on, but the only thing that Alyse really wants is a wooden box that has been sitting in the back of her mother’s closet since Alyse was young. Once her mother had said about the box “You can have it when I’m dead. In fact, it will be my present to you.” Alyse takes the box, but doesn’t open it right away.

Alyse grew up in 1960’s Queens. Her parents are constantly fighting, shouting, swearing and throwing hateful words towards each other. From the very beginning of this memoir, you can see that resentment and hatred that Alyse’s mother held towards Alyse. She was constantly put down and berated. These things, along with some major chain smoking by both of her parents, were a regular part of every day life for Alyse. Her two younger sisters, though, seemed to be treated with less severity than Alyse.

Alyse’s father would disappear for days or weeks at a time, and when she asked her mother when he would be coming home, the response was “If you ask me one more time, I’ll get the strap.”

This book grabbed me from the very beginning. It is very fact paced and easy to read, the writing pulls you right in. I felt for this young girl as she struggled through life with her mother, and I felt for the adult who tried to come to terms with her childhood. I cringed and shook my head in disbelief and some of the things that this child had been through, but am impressed by and respect the strong woman she has become.

Alyse finally opens the box she took from her mother’s house after years of letting it sit in the closet. She opens it with her own daughter, now old enough to understand. It is a truly touching experience these two share, and one that will help them get to know the woman Alyse’s mother had been before.

I recommend this book because it shows that the spirit can overcome both physical and psychological abuse. This book is so touching and heart-wrenching, it will stay with you long after you put it down.

Read more about Alyse at www.alysemyers.com, including news clips about the book (and an interview from The View!!), and an excerpt from the book!!

Thank you to Julie for sending me this book!!!

1 comment:

bermudaonion said...

I love memoirs and would really like to read this one!