Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Book Review: The Reversible Skirt

Laura McHale Holland has written a poignant memoir about her childhood. "Reversible Skirt" tells the story of how Laura and her two sisters survived years of emotional and physical abuse after their mother committed suicide. This book is a heart-wrenching account of a family gone terribly wrong. The author is sharing her story with the hope that readers will be reminded of the depth and complexity of children. No matter how things appear to an outside observer, one never knows what the child is really experiencing at home.

About The Author
Laura McHale Holland is a writer, editor and occasional storyteller living in southern Sonoma County, California. She currently heads the editorial department of a trade publication covering the electronic payments industry. She belongs to Redwood Writers and the Storytelling Association of California.

A Sad Story
One evening, Laura and her sisters come home from a neighborhood Halloween party and find their mother hanging from the rafters of the basement ceiling. This is the beginning of a long, tragic saga for the young girls.
The older two sisters are sent off to a Catholic orphanage and little Laura is taken in by her maternal grandparents. In a desperate attempt to keep the family together, their father marries a mean, cruel woman and tells the children that this is their mother.
Things get worse...much worse. When the girls are still in their pre-teen years, their father becomes ill and dies. The wicked stepmother continues to be a "mommy" to the girls so that she can collect social security benefits and not have to get a job.
Laura Holland describes many experiences that took place in her childhood home that were frightening, humiliating and painful. The good news is that the girls survived and went on to live the normal lives that they dreamed about as children.

My Thoughts
Ms. Holland has done an excellent job relating the difficult emotions and thoughts that she experienced as a child. It must have been very difficult to relive the devastating pain that she experienced at the hands of the adults in her early life.
This book was very hard for me to read. I know that I should not stick my head in the sand because there are many children in the world who are suffering the same kind of abuse that Laura endured for so many years. The author wrote the book to make a plea for good people to be alert to bad situations. She also acknowledged that her father was doing what he thought was best for the family at the time. Her stepmother was abandoned as a child and was abused by her caregivers. So...history repeats itself.
I can't say that you will enjoy reading this book, but I can say that you will gain insight and understanding into the plight of abused children.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from the book's publicist to read and review.

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