Paperback: 274 pages
Publisher: Apprentice House (July 1, 2016)
Christine Hale grew up amid abuse, depression, dysfunction, alienation, and isolation—her mother’s, but also because her view was the lens that controlled the family—her own, her father’s and her two sisters’. She became a writer, a prodigal daughter, a single parent, a Buddhist disciple, and, late in midlife, a newlywed. In this non-linear memoir, she meditates upon the broken path she’s traveled: two divorces, an abandoned career, too much solitude, an unconventional and transformative relationship with a female spiritual teacher, and two children lost to young adulthood but recovered, in part, through an odd ritual of repeated tattooing.
I am a lover of both nonfiction and memoirs always learning new things and seeing the world through other people's eyes so therefore I was delighted to have the opportunity to read and review this book that is until halfway through I realized this book is not for me.
“Driving home alone after dropping B (her son) off at his dad’s, I can’t fail to notice how J (her daughter) is right, again: we never do anything together...and I keep on making mistakes I cannot fix”
The book is set up in four different parts yet as a reader I could not decipher what the difference between them actually is. The prose is written in small segments jumping around randomly throughout Christine’s life, yet it is easy to follow. Topics consisted predominantly of her children, ex-husbands, Buddhist retreats, also her parents and childhood. Most topics are vague with scant details that is except for her childhood and her parents, which she goes into considerable detail about.
“I put my father’s shoes and a few other items of street clothing I knew he’d never need again into the cupboard on his side of a tiled, sparsely-furnished room that appeared clean but stank in the urine/cleaning solvent/diseased flesh way every nursing home does. I sat on the bed he lay in...having delivered him like a parcel to the holding pen for the dying.”
I dislike giving negative reviews it leaves me feeling distraught and lousy but not being honest about how I feel regarding the book is even worse. As a reader, I looked forward to learning about Buddhism but I didn’t. The blurb states of her decades-long journey to acceptance and insight and I relish learning how I might better my life from others yet the only insight I obtained is the author’s unhappiness. It is as if this book was a way for Christine to purge all of the negative experiences that had happened to her including the mistakes she’s made in life. Therefore, if as a reader, you are looking for a positive reading experience, this book may not be for you. I found very little positive narration. Truthfully, since finishing the book I still have little idea the message Christine is attempting to deliver to her readers.
“Thank you, TLC Book Tours, for allowing me to give an honest review”
Christine Hale’s prose has appeared in Hippocampus, Arts & Letters, Prime Number, Shadowgraph, and The Sun, among other literary journals. Her debut novel Basil’s Dream (Livingston Press 2009) received honorable mention in the 2010 Library of Virginia Literary Awards. Hale has been a finalist for the Glimmer Train Short Story Award for New Writers and the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award. Presently, she teaches in the Antioch University-Los Angeles Low-Residency MFA Program as well as the Great Smokies Writing Program. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina.
Christine Hale’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Savvy Verse and Wit – author guest post:
Dreaming Big – author Q&A:
A Book A Week – author guest post: