How would you be affected if your mother died giving your life? And how would such a loss affect your children? These questions are the foundation of many issues raised by the author in her search for the missing pieces of a grandmother who in 1905 died giving the author's mother life. It was a tragedy that seemed to affect multiple generations, the voids in identity and ill-spent guilt flowing from the stream of blood that kept mother from daughter, and then from granddaughter. But it was a search well-spent.
The Reverend Roger Mohr, First Unitarian Universalist Church of Detroit, may have said it best. "Often the tapestry of family history does not seem to offer us the sort of clarity about who we have become, and why. And sometimes the narrative tells us a story about ourselves that we do not wish to accept."
Nancy Owen Nelson's search resulted in raising more questions about herself, even as it answered questions about her mysterious grandmother. Nonetheless, in the end her journey toward discovery was one of startling self-awareness and connection. No matter whether you feel connected or lost in family, you will be unable to avoid the heartfelt pleasure and pain that comes from the author's brave attempt to connect three generations of Southern women.
I really liked listening to the story of Nancy's search for details about her great-grandmother's life, whose death so impacted her mother's life by her the giant, unspoken void it left but was never talked of. It is a sad, but true, reality that in many cases the young only care about their parents as people and wonder about their lives only after they have passed. The search and its impact on her life was very interesting and I enjoyed those parts of the book.
What I did not care for, so much, is Nancy's political and obvious agenda throughout the book. As a female family 'breadwinner', I think Nancy is missing the point that the traditional family is important in a child's life. Whether it is mom or dad that stays at home, it is important that someone in the immediate family take the time and that the family makes the necessary monetary sacrifice, if necessary, to nurture the couple's children. I am a college educated, certificate holder in my professional field. My husband had no interest in the business world. As such, we made a personal family decision for him to not work when we had children. I could just as easily have been a stay at home mom if my husband were to make more money than me or not want to be a stay at home dad. The point, I believe, is that one of the child's parents be at home, not who it is. In my mind, Nancy Owen Nelson is missing the point of being a woman and a parent and the importance of parental presence in a child's life.
A woman's worth is not defined by the professional position she holds or how many degrees she has attained but by the impact she has on society and future generations. What greater impact can she have but by raising responsible, productive, well adjusted children to lead in the next generation? Children cannot be influenced in a positive way by parents who are absent from the family more than they are home. This leaves the child's value system up for influence by teachers, coaches, and often clergy who have their own agendas to fulfill.
I loved listening to Lee Ann Howlett narrate this audiobook. She nailed the tone for the story Nancy Owen Nelson was telling and the emotional impact it had on her life.
I received this audiobook for free from Audiobook Boom! in exchange for an honest review.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I thought this book was really interesting, and I think that most people who research family history will enjoy this. I found that I related to the author's desire not to lose her name, as this is something I struggled with when I got married - feeling I was losing my identity. The author searches for information about her grandmother, Nannie B., who died giving birth and was never mentioned again. In her search for her grandmother, she learns more about herself. I listened to the Audible version and enjoyed the narration. The narrator was engaging and kept me interested.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Would you try another book from Nancy Owen Nelson and/or Lee Ann Howlett?
No, I don't think so. The narration was okay. She didn't have a lot to work with.
Would you be willing to try another book from Nancy Owen Nelson? Why or why not?
No. I didn't hate this book by any means, but was glad when I made it to the end. It was a bit like listening to someone else describe their dream. I like my own dreams, but find detailed descriptions of anyone else's dream a bore. There were good parts to this book, such as her own history but as soon as it got the least bit interesting, it jumped to another timeline. I also found the suppositions of what her mother and grandmother were feeling and why they were feeling that way a big stretch of reality.
Did the narration match the pace of the story?
What else would you have wanted to know about Nancy Owen Nelson’s life?
I appreciate her feelings of near obsession to right a perceived wrong but it just seems so trivial to an outsider.
Any additional comments?
I enjoy researching my family's ancestry and was hoping to get some tips on how to do that. No such luck and I really tried to be interested in this because I could feel how important it was to the author. Alas, I fell short.
"This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBlast dot com."
1 of 1 people found this review helpful