A debut memoir details the many psychic wounds the author incurred in her relationships.
Adams (a pen name) decided to embark on this book when, unhappy in her work, she met an astrologist who told her she had not yet fulfilled her life’s purpose and that writing her story would be a therapeutic exercise and also help others. She begins with a sudden traumatic memory of being raped by an older neighbor boy when she was about 5 years old. A sense of being “marked emotionally” followed her throughout her childhood, especially with her mentally ill mother in and out of psychiatric wards. The aloofness and negativity she experienced from her mother drove her to seek affirmation elsewhere, especially from Mr. Santini, her eighth-grade science teacher, with whom she had a yearslong emotional affair. Although Mr. Santini called her his “number one” and repeatedly stated that he’d like to do “you-know-what” with her, their relationship never became physical. Nevertheless, Adams feels “robbed of my youthful years.…I placed myself in a fantasy world and didn’t enjoy the normal activities of someone my own age.” She bravely documents how a “snowball of poor choices” led to multiple broken romantic relationships in her 20s, including one with a dentist who impregnated her, and expresses frustration with herself at how long she often took to break free of unhealthy bonds. Crucially, although she tells meticulous stories of how various people—such as her brother’s ex-wife, Terri —left her emotionally scarred, Adams never comes across here as bitter or a victim. Instead, she speaks of the opportunities these people gave her to face up to her anger and develop newfound self-respect. Looking back from her current situation of being happily married and reconnected with her family, she can see that although “I had dysfunction in my genes and a lot of baggage that I carried with me,” she has remained a caring person with no regrets. Ultimately, this earnest and stirring account offers an overall sense of progression and healing.
An inspirational story of moving past emotional trauma and realizing that “life is solely what you make of it.”