Publisher and Publication Date: She Writes Press. October 23, 2018.
Genre: Nonfiction. Memoir.
Source: I received a complimentary copy, but was not required to leave a positive review. Advanced reader paperback copy.
Rating: Recommend. Very good.
Audience: Abuse survivors and PTSD sufferers. Adult Children of Alcoholics. Women ages 25-75.
Mary Jo Doig is a life-writing enthusiast who has been coaching women to tell their truth for twenty years. She is a book reviewer, editor, and facilitator of women’s writing circles and legacy workshops. Her stories have been published in Inside and Out: Women’s Truths, Women’s Stories and Kitchen Table Stories. Patchwork is her first book.
Link @ Amazon
available in Kindle edition
Summary (provided by the publisher):
A wife and mother enjoying her career and life wants nothing more than to live out her days embraced by the deep roots of family, friends, and her community. Tightly wrapped in a life-long protective cocoon, she has no idea how wounded she is until one starless night following the death of a relative, she has a flashback that opens a dark passageway to her childhood and the horrific secrets buried deep inside her.
Part mystery and part inspirational memoir, Patchwork is the story of a woman striving to live a life full of love, only to endure tragedies with two of her children and struggles in her marriages. Like a needle stitching a quilt, Mary Jo’s memories unravel why she wished she were invisible and how stupid and different she felt in her early years.
Shattered by these revelations, overcome by depression, hopelessness, and a loss of trust in others, Mary Jo embarks on a healing journey through the underground of her life that ultimately leads to transformation.
Memoirs are written with a particular memory the author wants to share. For example, the specific time when a person lived through the Holocaust. Another example, the accident and recovery of a traumatic event. Patchwork is the entire life story of Mary Jo Doig. The book begins with her parents and how they met. The year is 1940. The book shares the childhood and young adult life of Doig. Her marriages and children. Her college and career. It is later in the book when the author has memories of abuse that surface. The book shifts to the counseling and hard work of recovery.
For me, the book seemed to be a part of Mary Jo Doig’s way of recovery. Writing out her life helped to work through or reconcile life. Similar to journal writing. It was a way to get the memories out of the mind and onto paper. For some readers, they may not appreciate the detailed/comprehensive description of Doig’s life. They want emphasis placed on the abuse and recovery work. I’m a reader who loves descriptive details, but at times I wanted Doig to move-along and get to the point of the book.
In the news, films, books, and other media sexual abuse is being discussed. I have several best girlfriends, many of them have began opening up to me about their abuse; and I have begun sharing my abuse story. At the least, the discussion about sexual abuse is a good thing, because people are becoming informed. I’ve heard several men remark, “oh, that’s not abuse, it’s inappropriate but not abuse.” Men and women have minimized abuse, not knowing the definition of what abuse is and that it is more than just inappropriate. A book like Patchwork helps readers understand the horror of abuse, the long term effects, and the hard work of recovery.
Patchwork is a sad story. Both in the abuse and Doig’s recovery work. Working towards recovery doesn’t mean current relationships stay the same. Life is not going to be in a neat package with a pretty bow. It took courage to work towards recovery and to tell her story.
Doig is the voice/narrator in the story. She is the viewpoint character. We read the conversations, but also her thoughts during that memory and current reflection.
For my Christian readers, this book is not a Christian book.