A woman comes to terms with the disturbing events of her past.
“I used to say that the town was called Fleet,” Goodeye writes about her childhood home, “because people seemed to be fleeting away.” Fleeting is an apt word for many elements that make up her debut memoir: it describes the aforementioned town in the vast region of Alberta, Canada; the book’s slightly disconnected prose style; and the many chances at happiness in that author’s life that slipped away time and time again. The author, when she was 3, had her mother get sent away to a mental institution. Unfortunately, the therapies of the day failed to help her mother, and Goodeye lost her to suicide a few years later. After moving from a small farmhouse to a university and, eventually, a home with her husband and four sons, the author moved on with her life until tragedy struck again. Her husband’s sudden death put her in a downward spiral that eventually led her to Bob, an artist and craftsman who brought his world of “drugs, music, art, creativity, and no limits” to her quaint country life, and whom she later married. She writes that Bob’s free-wheeling lifestyle soon revealed deep mental issues that eventually led him to suicide, as well, leaving the author once again to regroup and rebuild. She immersed herself in aboriginal culture and the pursuit of a new degree in social work, which presented her with difficult challenges on the path to confronting her past. Goodeye fills the pages between tragic events with seemingly random encounters and small details that she says remind her of certain time periods: a man she met on the road with whom she later shared letters, a galvanized tub in which she used to bathe, and many other objects and fleeting experiences. This gives readers a series of impressions rather than a sustained narrative, and the moments are hit or miss, sometimes creating powerful, relatable effects and at others, simply confusing her timeline and detracting from the emotional, difficult story she attempts to tell.
Puzzling digressions overshadow this memoir’s powerful subject matter.