I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange honest review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The story is the memoir of the author's Mama, a true southern lady, well educated, with a passion for sterling silver and a tendency to shop at Dollar Stores. It is a comical, sometimes tragic story of this strong woman who conquered an addiction to alcohol that almost took her life and everything she had to rise again for second act.
I’m not sure where to start with this book. I was really excited to read it because the premise sounded a lot like my own experiences growing up, albeit a generation later.
This book is told in a lilting South Carolinian tone. There are some wacky stories demonstrating the eccentricities about the narrator’s mother that rang so true. The Dollar Store thing (God, my own mom, always with the dollar stores.), the passive aggressive planning of the family beach vacation, the incessant worrying over details (like the linens at the beach house) to an extent that makes a sane person want to take a Xanax for her.
Perhaps it’s because I am also the child of a southern alcoholic, who’s formative and teenage years were marked by own mother’s struggles that I had a hard time with the even, ‘aw shucks, Mama drank too much but then she stopped.’ tone that was taken. I feel like the narrator missed an opportunity to connect with her audience. Other than recounting scorched meals and the fact that her parents divorced after 30+ years of marriage, the destructive nature of her mother’s alcoholism is largely glossed over. The same goes for her mother’s depression, other than mentioning that her mother suffered from it there’s no mention of how it affected the narrator’s life.
Based on the timeline in the memoir I suspect that the author is of my mother’s generation, making her mother of my grandmother’s generation. I understand the reticence that is found in southern culture, especially older southerners. I recognize that this is the tribute of a loving daughter to a mother, who despite her imperfections, was a warm, caring, loving and extraordinary individual. Unfortunately the reticence to tell the really hard stories causes this book to fall a little flat.