With mental health issues being so prevelant in society I was very intrigued by the premise of this book. Let me tell you that as hard as it was I read it in one sitting - it grabbed hold and would not let go.
All Destiny wants is to get a job and try to have a semblance of a normal life. Instead she is burdened with the responsibilty of taking care of her mentally ill mother and trying to protect her younger sister Cassidy from the violent rages and outbursts that have become more common than not. Destiny's life has never been anything but that of a constant caregiver and mediator...especially since the incident at Crater Lake. She loves her mother, and even though she knows that this is not a normal family life she is willing to do what her father asks and help keep her mother in their home, for better or worse.
As this book unfolds you watch this family go on such a downward spiral that my heart was literally breaking. As much as I hated to turn to the next page for fear of what was going to happen next, I was compelled to do so in hopes that a ray of light would be found and something positive would happen to change some of the bad to good. At first I was unsure if this could really happen - how could both parents let their children go through this living hell? I then thought of my own life, and the lengths I may go to keep my family in tact. Love is a very powerful emotion, and nothing is more powerful than the love between a parent and their children. As Ms. Gregerson points out in her Author's Note, children that come from abusive families are even more loyal to their parents than children who don't. They seem to constantly be searching for a way to gain acceptance and love from the parent(s) who neglects or abuses them.
This book is a true eye opener, although it is fiction we can't turn a blind eye to the fact that there are families like this in every town in America. I am hopeful that this book will give some of these families the strength they need to get the help so desperately needed before it is too late and the children are damaged to a point of no return. It will hopefully also make people think closely about some people they know and maybe will give them the strength to intervene in situations they know are not healthy for the family involved. The author has done a true service by writing about an issue that should not be ignored.
Questions for the author:
What made you decide to write the story from the perspective of the oldest daughter?
Well, it was personal really. I was a parentified child, meaning that I was one of those kids who took care of my mother and my older sister when my family was spiraling out of control. I was the one who felt responsible to hold everything together because no one else would. And I believed that multitudes of people all around the world experience that same thing -- they become the savior of their families because no one else will. I wanted to shine a spotlight on that problem and what it does to a kid. And on another level, this is a cautionary tale: beware what you do to your children. When 5 children a day die in this country because their mother, a family member, or someone who knows their parent kills them, we're in deep trouble. We are allowing the ruin of our children and then we wonder why these kids can't learn in school or why they turn to crime, or why they're depressed. This book tells why, in some cases, our children are lost.
What was your inspiration for the story?
There were several things that inspired me. And in some sense, it was reaching critical mass and feeling that I had to say something about this problem. I tell everyone the story about meeting a man whose mother set their house on fire after locking him and his little brother in. There was Susan Smith and Andrea Yates. I thought they were anomalies, but I found out that they aren't. I started studying this issue and realized that 500 mothers a year kill their children. I started wondering what it would be like to live in a family like that. What if every day, your little sister's life was on the line and you couldn't do anything except be the one who stood between her and your mother? What if you knew your life was on the line and you had to live with one eye open so you could survive? These are the things I thought about, they're the questions that horrified me, as I wrote this book.
Do you have any books currently in the works?
I currently have one book in the works about a girl whose mother deserts her at the local grocery store, leaving the girl with her eccentric extended family and the question, "Why did she leave me?" I'm about a third through that and may get back to it soon. I also have another book finished about a girl in a trailer park who's the underdog and can't seem to find her way.
What hobbies do you enjoy?
Oh, I'm an odd one. I love to research. That is really relaxing to me. I pick a topic and then I search it out. I travel a little. We have a summer place on a beautiful glacier fed lake and I love going there. I hang with my daughters who are almost 18 and 21. They're my greatest joy. I read some, mostly nonfiction. I have a few favorite TV shows like CSI and Ugly Betty. Other than that, I just hang and try to find things to laugh at. The absurdity of life amuses me.
A copy of this book will be raffled of to a reader of the website at www.uponfurtherreview.org the first week in March. To enter, all you need to do is sign the guestbook under each book you are interested in winning....Continua