ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

Monday, 25 July 2011

Book review, In the Mirror, a memoir of shattered secrets, by Ann Carbine Best


I have waited it seems a very long time to read the memoir, In the Mirror, by fellow blogger Ann Carbine Best. I was delighted when it was in the mail when I returned from my overseas trip. It was great company while I tried to get my land legs again.

A memoir has to be cleverly written or it becomes just a recount which can be quite boring. Ann’s memoir is anything but boring! She has used her vast arsenal of writerly talents to compile a riveting story of her life. It is the generous use of dialogue which sets this memoir apart, drawing the reader in. I felt like I was going through the journey with Ann, (and offering her advice along the way.)

And what a difficult journey it is. For a married woman with four children to find out her husband really preferred men must have been painful beyond imagining. I’m sure many women reading In the Mirror would be yelling at Ann: Give him the boot! Don’t put up with it! But Ann is not just any woman; she is a woman of remarkable strength and purpose. She had married for life, she was protective of her children, she was not going to give up easily. Even her husband Larry said on breaking the news: ‘You probably want to leave me.’ Ann replied: ‘No. I don’t want to leave you. You’re my husband. The children love you.’ (p.23). And so Larry stayed, but wasn’t prepared to give up men. The marriage continued for seven years after Ann found out her husband had cheated on her. Seven turbulent years.

I was surprised at the extend of intervention from the Mormon church of which Ann and Larry were both members. It must have been helpful for Ann to have the men of the church to call on in her times of distress, but I didn’t always feel the advice they gave was in Ann’s best interests, but maybe that’s just independent me speaking.

For such a tale of woe, Ann is never woeful. She takes many blows, but receives them with grace. The reader can’t help becoming emotionally involved. I was very angry at some of the complications of her ex-husband’s gay life, how it affected the children, how it made a difficult situation even more difficult. I was angry at Ann’s financial struggle, especially after Jen’s car accident and resultant brain damage, while her ex-husband was in a position to help her but chose not to for selfish reasons.

Then I was surprised when Ann chose to marry again, this time to a man obviously addicted to alcohol, going against the advice of the church. But was it the financial pressure and her need to see her children secure that was behind this decision? Once again Ann and her family are put through years of turmoil until the inevitable happens and Tom is no longer with them.

Throughout Ann’s struggle, it is obvious she retains feelings for her ex-husband and that she regrets the breakdown of a marriage which she believed would last into eternity. In the Mormon marriage ceremony the bride and groom stand ‘in front of mirrors with mirrors behind them that reflected their endless images, symbolic of eternal marriage’ (p.197). This is where I think the title In the Mirror originates. But sadly even though Larry and Ann’s images were reflected in the mirror on their wedding day, their marriage was not to be for eternity.

For a great memoir which is a celebration of the resiliency of the human spirit, read Ann Carbine Best’s In the Mirror. I eagerly await her next memoir. Hear me Ann??


http://widopublishing.com/ourtitles.aspx
Available Kindle and Nook for $3.99




19 comments:

  1. I read your review earlier on 'Reading at Dawn'. I'm sorry, I didn't realise it was you that had written it. I still think it's a great review :)

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  2. Hi Denise, welcome back from your grand adventures.

    Hi Ann...I can't wait to read your book. I was reminded in this post of a few of my own struggles even though they are not a mirror image of yours. We all need heroes and I think you just became mine.

    Wendy S. Marcus is visiting me today.

    Nancy
    N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium

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  3. Oh my gosh, Denise. And you read my memoir and then wrote this while trying to overcome a wicked virus! Thank you SO much!! And I, like your other followers, am anxiously awaiting details of a trip that I hope was awesome. I know you'll have great pictures to post. But meanwhile, just get well!
    Ann Best, Author of In the Memoir, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

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  4. I have her book and will be reading it soon.

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  5. It is one of the most powerful memoirs I have ever read. I'm not much of a memoir reader but this one really touched me. Great review.

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  6. Denise: I just put up a new post. You (and Roland Yeomans) are featured on it.
    Ann Best, Author of In the Memoir, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

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  7. I like your take on this fine book!

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  8. What a great review. Ann is such an inspiring person.

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  9. Fantastic review Denise. ANN is certainly a remarkable woman. Heroic come to mind for me....

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  10. After connecting with Ann and reading all the reviews, I want to read her memoir, hope to get it soon.

    Thanks for posting, Denise. Hope you're feeling better?

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  11. Hi,

    Lovely review, emphasising Ann's terrible journey through absolute hell.

    best
    F

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  12. Great review Denise! I hadn't known that about the Mormon marriage service. If only I could read even faster, get rid of some of the books off my TBR pile - I want this book!

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  13. I've enjoyed Ann's blog for a long time, and really admired her as an individual -- I think she's just inspiring. Definitely looking forward to reading her story.

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  14. I loved Ann's memoir and was so impressed with her courage and strength!

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  15. ...I keep hearing of Ann's work, her unforgettable memoir. Okay...it's time. I'm buying ;)

    EL

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  16. I'm so glad some of you have been inspired to buy Ann's book. You won't regret it!

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  17. Hi Denise! I've read so much about this book and it's on my list already. I can't wait to read it. Thank you for an honest review :)

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  18. Hi Len Great to see you. I'm glad you thought my review was honest. I told it like it is for me.

    Denise

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