Who am I?
My life and work have been profoundly affected by the central circumstance of my existence: I was born into a very large military Catholic family in the United States of America. As a child surrounded by many others in the 60s, I wrote, performed, and directed family plays with my numerous brothers and sisters. Although I fell in love with a Canadian and moved to Canada, my family of origin still exerts considerable personal influence. My central struggle, coming from that place of chaos, order, and conformity, is to have the courage to live an authentic life based on my own experience of connectedness and individuality, to speak and be heard.
Why did Caitlin love this book?
The fact that this book is a memoir makes it more amazing than a work of fiction.
The writer, Jeannette Walls, has so much more at stake in this story because it’s about her family, her childhood, and her parents. Her life. I raced through the book, from the first page, with my mouth open in almost disbelief because the level of neglect that Jeannette’s parents floated around in was astounding.
The story of childhood should not be so suspenseful, but Jeannette tells her realities so casually; her experience was truly like a frog in a pot of warming water, so familiar to the narrator as to be almost unremarkable but so dangerous. The appalling nature of the stories and fables told to her by her parents, in relief, made me question my own family narrative. And then there’s the question of the choices her parents deliberately made.