Synopsis: Irene Watson’s pretentious life could go no further until she faced her own past. Her poignant and inspiring memoir begins at the end, in a recovery center, where she has gone to understand a childhood fraught with abuse, guilt, and uncertainty. Her powerful story is a testament that it’s never too late to change your life, never too late to heal.
The Sitting Swing was a rope swing, hung from a tree next to the tiny cottage her Russian immigrant father built by hand from hand-milled logs and mud in Northern Canada in the early 20th century. Any motion at all would smash the child into a vigorous rose bush. It was a sitting swing in a family not given to play, in a childhood stretched between two very different cultures.
Irene was born into a tight Ukrainian-speaking community and a family struggling with guilt, shame, and grief over the death of a first-born child—a son. The old world immigrant culture placed much of the blame for Irene’s brother’s death on her mother, causing her to hold her next child close to home, segregated from the new culture, victim to the blunt aggression of male cousins, and scornful townspeople.
The Sitting Swing shows us how guilt, fear and ignorance are borne by our children. Two distinct parts of the book look at an abusive child rearing and the process of recovery that takes place years later. On many levels this is a classic immigrant story showing us that change, growth, forgiveness, and recovery are possible. It is also a heart warming healing story and a testament to the strength and courage of the human spirit.
I honestly thought I would be reading this ‘preachy self-help book’ when I opened The Sitting Swing and read the first few paragraphs. Ugh, why am I reviewing this book again? Then I continued to read. Irene’s trip to Avalon and her experience with Gilles made me feel happy/mad/understanding. Then the telling of her story had me in tears for nights on end (really only 4 nights). I hated what had happened to her. I felt compassion for her. I understood her. I was at a loss for her. I wanted to gather little Irene and hold her to protect her from the world. Then I got mad.
How dare Irene talk about the feelings I had growing up? How dare she put it on paper, and talk about it in her book. (Yes, I too have issues.) That’s when I truly knew that her book was extraordinary. There have been only a few books in my life that I wanted to throw down in disgust from hearing my own thoughts. This was one. There was so much depth of feeling in this book that I could see and feel myself in it.
I am still working on my journey toward a better me and a new life script. I hope to one day gain the insight that Irene has shown us in her wonderful book. I feel so close to the author after reading this book. I feel calling her by her first name is acceptable and she is a friend I can trust. May we all find the trust of a friend.
I would like to thank Business2Blogger for allowing me to have wonderful contact with this author. I would also like to thank the author for the chance to ‘meet’ her and accept her hand on my next stepping stone to life. This was a paid post, but the opinions are completely mine and were not affected by the compensation.