A single mother of three juggles multiple roles as a wrestling mom and a survivor of cancer and an abusive marriage.
Northwestern University academic and veteran journalist Weldon (Everyman News: The Changing American Front Page, 2007, etc.) chronicles the challenging 25-year span after her divorce from her physically and emotionally abusive husband, who abandoned the family for a “better life for himself” in Amsterdam. The author writes of her husband’s torturous behavior with palpable notes of regret, anger, and shame; he began hitting her just four months after their wedding. In 1995, nine years later, Weldon obtained an order of protection, which thrust her husband out of the family home and spurred acrimonious divorce proceedings that granted her sole custody of three boys, then ages 6, 4, and 1. “I knew I could not make up for the father who left my sons,” writes the author, yet it was obvious even then that she would have to morph into supermom. With affable, heartfelt text, Weldon shares the intimate details of her trial-and-error parenting of three competitive wrestlers, each in varying stages of resentment over their father’s heartless disinterest in them. Compounding this difficult situation was a breast cancer diagnosis and court appearances in which the author sought thousands in back child support. Thankfully, the boys’ wrestling coach assisted her with the finer finessing of their sporting lives. While Weldon’s reality as a composed, collected warrior navigating the slings and arrows of single parenthood can sometimes materialize into overly defensive diatribes, it also defuses a groundswell of “political and polarizing” perceptions about working mothers. Her gracefully told memoir will surely embolden readers in similar situations to “maintain your dignity and your sanity, and raise children who contribute to the world while you do the same.”
Weldon pins life to the mat in this valiant, passionate, purposeful memoir.