I have a book to share with you that is actually a memoir by Joan Heartwell called Hamster Island.
Heartwell chronicles her heroic (and often hilarious) determination to live an unremarkable life as a member of a poor, super-dysfunctional family that includes a mostly absent father, a religious fanatic mother, a kleptomaniac grandmother, and two special needs siblings, all residing more or less in the middle of a parking lot. The story moves from Heartwell’s lively coming of age in the sixties to her role as caretaker for both siblings after her parents’ deaths, at which time she must resort to extraordinary measures to locate the midpoint between their needs and her own.
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Gosh, this poor woman went thru a lot in her life! I don't think she had much of a childhood. She had a workaholic father, a mother who was a fanatic Catholic, a grandmother who cussed a lot and stole, a brother who was retarded and a younger sister who was mentally ill.
Even after she got older and realized just how retarded her brother was, things weren't easy. She met a man and got married but that didn't turn out so well. She left that man and moved to New Mexico and lived with another man and had a son. But still, her sister continued to be a problem for her.
I always thought I had a bad life, but I guess there are people out there who have it even worse than I do. I am glad that towards the end of her life she finally found some peace. Isn't that the way it goes, though? It's hard to imagine that you have to get old and almost on your way out before you find peace?
It's a great story to read if for nothing else than to know you have a better life than someone else. She does tell her story in dark humor and once you get the vibe of how she tells the story, you will see she has that survivor's edge about her. We should all be so lucky!
Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from yours.