SEEING THE FOREST THROUGH THE TREES by Sylvia  Stone

SEEING THE FOREST THROUGH THE TREES

Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A memoir of survival and New-Age spirituality that encompasses three generations of a working-class Polish-American family.

After debut author Stone was born in Wisconsin during 1969’s “Summer of Love,” she was meant to be given up for adoption, but her mother changed her mind at the last minute. During her childhood, she says, her father was absent and her mother was undependable, so her most stable influences were her down-to-earth Polish immigrant grandparents. Although Zofie and Loosha had strictly raised their own children with an iron hand and a leather switch, according to Stone, they treated her with persistent affection during her turbulent childhood. She says that she saw her parents’ failings—including neglectful parenting and addiction—all too clearly, but she admired their free spirits, even as she suffered herself. She lost her virginity at 14, and she later felt the first stirrings of attraction to women, which would define her adult identity. Meanwhile, her mother, she says, stayed with an abusive boyfriend who almost killed her. As the author struggled to end what she saw as a family cycle of self-destruction, she was buoyed by a love of writing and music; she was also drawn to holistic spiritual practices, such as Reiki and meditation, which helped her gain self-awareness. Overall, Stone’s memoir is disarmingly chatty in tone; at one point, for instance, she follows up a description of an Arizona landmark with the sentence: “The entire story is quite interesting if you want to google it.” She also occasionally inserts real-time comments: “(A dove is cooing as I write this—how awesome!)” This makes for an intimate reading experience, as do her vivid descriptions of colorful figures in her life, such as Zofie, who once expressed her anger at Loosha by throwing her own false teeth at him. Occasionally, the narrative seems overly detailed, as in a long description of the legal problems that arose after Stone’s mother’s death. However, readers will remain engaged as she attempts to transcend the obstacles in her life.

A deeply personal and revealing book about one woman’s attempt to find family, identity, and spiritual peace.

Pub Date: May 14th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-982203-98-6
Page count: 154pp
Publisher: BalboaPress
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:




SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

FictionBASTARD OUT OF CAROLINA by Dorothy Allison
by Dorothy Allison
NonfictionTHE CLANCYS OF QUEENS by Tara Clancy
by Tara Clancy
NonfictionSELF-MADE WOMAN by Denise Chanterelle DuBois
by Denise Chanterelle DuBois