Wednesday, October 7, 2009

~Book Review - Who Do You Think You Are by Alyse Myers~

Alyse Myers' story takes place in Queens, NY where she was born and raised along with her 2 sisters. She is the eldest of the three. She was also the target of her mother's wrath. Alyse's parents did not get along, and she and her sisters witnessed many screaming matches between their parents which usually ended by their dad leaving and slamming the door behind him, only for him to return later and ring the doorbell over and over again and yell to be let in. Alyse's mom would yell back, telling him to go away. The three girls would huddle in their room, trying to block out the sounds of their fighting. Alyse slept with a radio under her pillow...her radio was her salvation.

Alyse loved her dad and she was his favorite, further irritating Alyse's mother. Her childhood was an uncertain one, never knowing how her mother was going to react to certain situations. This memoir got its name by a phrase that was spoken to Alyse by her mother all of the time...."Who Do You Think You Are?" Alyse was constantly being accused by her mother of thinking that she was better than everyone else. Determined not to let her mother drag her down, Alyse applied and was accepted at a school for the gifted in Manhattan. She started working part-time jobs, and got her own apartment. She invited her mother to come see her new place, informing her beforehand that she would not be allowed to smoke in the apartment. Her mother did not come.

"My mother married my father when she was nineteen and was a widow at thirty-three. She told me that he was the only man she had ever been with, both before they married and after he died. Even when I was a child, I knew that theirs was a complicated marriage. I wanted to believe they were destined to be together, that their bitter fights had to do with his illness and her inability to cope with it. I didn't want to believe that my parents -- childhood sweethearts -- could end up hating each other with a passion that still frightens and saddens me to this day."

My Thoughts: I could relate to this story on a personal level, as my mom and Alyce's mom are a lot alike. My mom never threw me out of the house, but she was extremely crabby and rude to me growing up. She smoked constantly. She had an unhappy marriage. I was a Daddy's Girl. Alyse's descriptions of her childhood are raw and real. I hurt for her each time she was berated or called nasty names by her mom. I so admire Alyse for her strength and courage to share her story with us. Her memoir will stay with me a very long time.

Five Stars
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone (May 6, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1416543058


Lisa said...

What a great and honest review! I love how you are so open with your feelings about how you saw some of your own life in the book.

Great job, Missy!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Great review Missy. I liked this book too, and also could relate to parts :(

Midlife Roadtripper said...

Oh, the header picture is very cool.

I, too, like how you put the personal twist on the review. The goal of many writers is to connect with their reader. Seems this author did that.

Hope you are doing well.

Blodeuedd said...

Hi Missy,
Great review. Sounds like a good book, emotional one too

Darlene said...

This sounds like such a good book. There are many parts I can see relating to already - like being my dad's favorite and having that trouble my relationship with my mother. Nice review Missy, I'll have to check further into this one.


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