Monday, May 6, 2013

Booklist Review Two Thousand Minnows

From Booklist
Leigh grew up in a poor, unstable, peripatetic family that traveled back and forth between California and West Virginia while pursuing one failed enterprise after another, trying to hold together through the father's drinking and occasional violence. She captures the fear of children who live with physical abuse, the strategies for keeping peace, and the plotting of escape routes once a fight breaks out. In this searing memoir, Leigh recalls that when she was eight years old, her pregnant mother left to give birth to a fourth child but returned three weeks later with no baby. Told that the baby died, Leigh is haunted by the conviction that her sister is actually alive. The family separated for a while--each of the children farmed out to relatives--and later reunited, but a breach continued, as though something was missing. As she comes of age, Leigh painfully realizes that her family has kept secrets and told lies, but she also learns to respect her mother's decision as well as her own right to know the truth. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Publisher Weekly Review Two Thousand Minnows

From Publishers Weekly
About three-quarters into this labored memoir of a difficult childhood, a preteen Leigh looks around the rundown cinderblock house she, her parents and two younger siblings are about to rent. It's the latest in a series of way stations on her dysfunctional family's fruitless cross-country forays between California and West Virginia. "I want to close my eyes until I turn eighteen," she writes. It's no wonder. In her first book, television producer Leigh, the oldest child of an adored mother and violent, alcoholic father, chronicles the years of abuse, near poverty and shameful secrets that fueled her longing to escape. In an early scene, Sandra's father terrorizes her mother until she flees from the house into a cold night without coat or shoes. A few months later, Sandra's mother goes to the hospital to have her fourth child, but returns alone; the baby died, her mother reports, "And I don't ever want to talk about it again." As Leigh and her family continue to search for better luck and a stable life during the late 1960s and early '70s, Sandra focuses on the missing child, and, believing she has another sibling, pursues the question until-as an adult-she makes contact with her sister. Like many stories of survival, Leigh's includes some powerful moments, and she is a sympathetic narrator. Though this long volume lacks the depth and insight of others in the genre (Angela's Ashes and The Liar's Club come to mind), it's likely to offer welcome comfort to readers who endured childhood traumas themselves.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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