Author: Laura McHale Holland
Synopsis: When the mother of three little girls commits suicide, their father wants more than anything to keep his family together. He remarries in haste and tells his daughters his new wife is their mother. The youngest, Laura, believes her mother must have gone through a kind of magical transformation.
Reversible Skirt is written from Laura's perspective as a child sifting through remnants of her mother's existence and struggling to fit into a community where her family's strict rules are not the norm. When Laura's father dies, her stepmother grows increasingly abusive, which propels Laura and her sisters into a lasting alliance. Their father's wish that they stay together comes true, although not in the way he'd imagined.
My thoughts: Laura has done a great job in portraying her life as a child from a child's perspective. I could easily picture her and her sisters in different situations. Many times I wanted to grab their stepmom and just shake her 'til her teeth rattled! I could not believe some of the things she said to these little girls. There was a little physical abuse, but it was the mental/emotional abuse that was just horrendous! The stepmom actually told them that their real mom committed suicide because of them! How do you say that to children that are under 10 years old?? It seems like the step mom picked on each of the girls about different things, and then would be all sugar and cream when their dad or anyone else was around.
It wasn't just the stepmom though, but pretty much her entire family. Her father (their step grandpa) was also pretty mean to them, and the extended family didn't really accept the little girls at all. They did have some good times when their father was alive, but after he dies there homelife was rarely pleasant. I think it is amazing that they survived and thrived and were able to stay close after they left home.
This book pulled me in almost immediately. I really liked it that she wrote it from her perspective as a child and didn't write it as an "adult" sharing her memories. I commend her for growing up so wisely so as to recognize the circle of abuse and not perpetuate it.
~I received a complimentary ebook of Reversible Skirt from Author Blog Tours in exchange for my review.~
About the author: Laura McHale Holland is a writer, editor and occasional storyteller living in southern Sonoma County. Her award-winning memoir, Reversible Skirt, was recently released by Wordforest, and her short fiction has appeared in The Best of Every Day Fiction Three, as well as the 2009 and 2010 Vintage Voices anthologies. She has also been a feature writer for such local publications as NorthBay biz, the Noe Valley Voice, and the original San Francisco Examiner. She is posting new flash fiction weekly in 2011 at http://lauramchaleholland.com.
Reversible Skirt Publisher/Publication Date: Wordforest, March 2011
268 pages/1339 KB