A Florida innkeeper recounts her rebound from a difficult childhood in New Jersey to success as an adult in this debut memoir.
Treworgy lived an idyllic life in the New Jersey suburbs until her father started drinking heavily and her mother was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Her father’s alcoholism eventually broke up the family, despite attempts at reconciliation. Treworgy moved around with her mother and brother and struggled in school, but she showed grit, holding a series of childhood jobs to help support the family. As an adult, she continued to work hard, waitressing and launching a musical career leading a local band at lounges and resorts. Following a divorce and her mother’s agonizing death, Treworgy landed a position with a big insurance company and moonlighted as a model. Later, she sold and invested in real estate, eventually losing everything when the market tanked. Unfazed, she moved to Florida and bought beach property with the dream of someday starting an inn. Meeting her next husband via a personal ad, Treworgy helped save his boat yard from bankruptcy. The couple built their own yacht to cruise the Eastern Seaboard, then sold the boatyard and developed their Florida oceanfront inn and spa, which they still own. Though her amateurish writing is laced with dangling modifiers (“After catching our breath, the men carefully maneuvered the refrigerator into the living room”) and clichés (“a maturity beyond his years”), Treworgy has produced an energetic, strangely appealing homage to steady toil in the familiar American tradition of Horatio Alger and Ben Franklin. Industriousness and moxie conquer all: “I was not about to let anyone stand in the way of my goals,” Treworgy writes. With her love of exclamation points and frequent asides about answered prayers and ghostly visits from deceased pets and relatives, her prose reads a bit like a loopy letter from a slightly ditzy but designing and determined niece. She overaccentuates the positive while understating the negative. Her father’s alcoholism and sexual advances need more explanation, as does her apparent forgiveness, indicated by a slightly creepy musical tribute she gave him in his old age that “popped almost all the buttons on his pajamas!”
This modern tale about hard work and faith surmounting all hurdles should inspire readers who believe in the “persistence and prayer” that the author advocates to overcome setbacks.