Monday, December 14, 2020

American Daughter: A Memoir - Stephanie Thornton Plymale with Ellisa Wald

The most fascinating, captivating, gut wrenching, heart breaking tales are those that are true. Such as Stephanie Thornton Plymale's memoir - American Daughter.

Stephanie and her five siblings grew up in chaos - neglect, abuse, hunger, homelessness, extreme poverty and more. Their mother fought many demons - substance abuse, alcoholism and mental illness.

Despite the odds, Stephanie educated herself, got married, had children, ran a college and lived an enviable life. From the outside looking in, she was a success. But like that old saying goes - she was ' a duck. Calm on the surface, but always paddling like the dickens underneath."

It was not until she was in her fifties that Stephanie decided to try and find answers, reasons, cement her sketchy memories and finally ask her mother for truths This was a last chance as her mother was dying. 

What she found was not at all what she expected. She learned more about her family, discovered relatives and saw her mother in a different light as she grew to know her as a person with her own struggles and demons. Stephanie found answers, healing and reconciliation. And herself.

This is not an easy read, so gentle readers be forewarned. But it's a true read. I am sure that Stephanie's story will resonate with many readers - for what happened to her and perhaps themselves. Sadly, there are many children living the same childhood she did. 

It's impossible to judge someone's life. I applaud her honesty in sharing her life and her goal to "inspire others to share their stories, receive support and feel empowered by their ability to survive, forgive, heal, transcend and live the life of their dreams." 

This was a five star read for me. If you enjoyed North of Normal, Educated or The Glass Castle, you'll enjoy American Daughter.

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