Friday, April 17, 2009
Friday Favorites is hosted by Lori at Lori's Reading Corner. She says "Every Friday I'm going to post my "Friday Favorites". Each week it might be something different. It could be your favorite author (new or old), your favorite genre, your favorite character or your favorite series. There are many possibilities!"
My Friday Favorite for today is "When Katie Wakes ~ A Memoir by Connie May Fowler.
This is the memoir of author Connie May Fowler. She tells the story of her traumatic childhood, which is followed by an abusive relationship as a young woman, and the dog that stayed by her side and helped her emotionally and physically cope with what she was going through.
Connie grew up in a very dysfunctional family. Her mother was a mean and manipulative woman. She verbally and physically abused Connie and her sister Deidre;
"We were, she screamed, fat whores. We made her life miserable.
We were all she had. She hated us. She loved us. We were angels
or devils. Sluts or saints. There were no gray tones in our
house. Only the extremes of the wretched." (page 70)
She and Deidre knew how to hide their bruises, what excuses to give when they missed school. They became masters of disguise.
As a young woman, Connie lives with a man who she thinks will take good care of her...a man who is exactly like her mother.
"Maybe that's why last night, when I asked him if he wanted
something to eat, he rabbit-kicked me from his throne
in front of the TV, hitting me square in the stomach, knocking
me onto the pine floor, and then kicking me repeatedly as
I crawled toward the kitchen, a safe place because I can
latch its door from the inside. His blows were rhythmic.
One, two, three - kick! One, two three - kick! We must have
looked like a sadistic version of Fred and Ginger." (page 6)
Connie adopts a black Labrador puppy whom she names "Kateland", Katie for short.
"I hold Katie closer, shut my eyes, and listen to the surf. In its infinite whisper, I find only comfort.
With Katie by my side, I rise to my feet and gaze out at the horizon. For the first time in years, I feel as though I can breathe". (page 256)
This memoir, as difficult and disturbing as it was to read, has left an imprint on me forever. After checking this book out at the library the first time that I read it, I bought a copy of my own. Upon returning the book to the library, I told the librarian that there needed to be a warning tag on this book. You will cry, laugh, cry some more, curl up in the fetal position and rock yourself to sleep (ok, maybe not that, but you will WANT to). So many mixed emotions while reading this! Bless Connie for being able to write this horrific story and share it with others.
Connie is now happily married. She and her husband are the cofounders of the Connie May Fowler Women With Wings Foundation, a non profit organization dedicated to aiding women and children in need.
If you read her story, you will never ever forget it.