Prefaced by a medical report summarizing her mother's various hospitalizations, this heartbreaking memoir reconstructs the sad and turbulent events of Lauck's childhood, which was overshadowed by the illness and early death of her mother. In 1969, five-year-old Lauck stayed with her mother at their home in Carson City, Nev., preparing her mother's breakfast, helping her get dressed on good days and basking in the warmth of her mother's undivided attention while her older brother was at school and her father at work. When her mother's health continued to decline (among other things, she suffered from a duodenal ulcer and tumors), Lauck's father was advised to seek better care in California. The move was traumatic, for it separated Lauck from the only home she knew and from her caring, extended family. At her mother's urging, Lauck told no one at her school of her mother's illness, fearing the interference of social welfare authorities. After her mother died in 1971, when Lauck was seven, her father quickly remarried, bestowing on his children a classically evil stepmother, and leaving Lauck feeling powerless to complain about her new misery to her often absent father. Lauck's writing is utterly convincing, although the child narrator's innocent voice sometimes leaves the reader wondering how her father could have been so blind to his children's welfare or why their extended family did not step in sooner to help these unhappy children. Throughout, Lauck, who is now in her 30s, remains true to her child's eye and keeps the reader sympathetic and engaged. Fans of emotionally powerful books--or anyone who has lost a parent--will find this memoir very satisfying. Agent, Rita Rosenkranz. Author tour. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/2000 Release date: 10/01/2000 Genre: Nonfiction
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