BLACKBIRD, A Childhood Lost and Found by Jennifer Lauck, 2000. This is a New York Times Bestselling Memoir. I admit I don’t read memoir’s very often, but this one seems to flow like a nice novel. It’s not bogged down with family photos either, which distracts me from the story and makes tend to skip over the story itself.. Frank McCourt who wrote Angels’s Ashes and ‘Tis, both of which I loved reading, recommends the book.
After the Acknowledgments, before the first chapter starts there’s a page of a hospital’s patient Death Summary for the author’s 33 year old mother Janet Lauck’s health in 1971. She had a benign tumor removed in 1961, and her health went downhill from there with weakness, fatigue, cough, paraplegia, bladder infections, the return of the tumor, etc. Finally in October 1971 when the report was written with all these respiratory problems, she tried taking her own life with an overdose of pills, but died of respiratory arrest or arrhythmia. It’s such a pitiful life, yet she smoked up until the end of it.
So far the first chapter opens with Jennifer’s early childhood, taking care of a sick mother, who’s recovering from or dying of cancer. It seems she was surrounded by the love of her family, including her mother’s siblings and their children. I’ll let you know what I think of the book as I get farther along, but I will let you know the family moved from Carson City, Nevada to California for Jennifer’s mother’s health, where her mother eventually dies and her dad remarries. When her dad and stepmother go on their honeymoon the kids get sent to some wacko religious summer camp, and it looks like a lot of child abuse goes on there. Halfway though the book poor Jennifer is in a cabin awaiting her own first experience of sexual abuse on a mattress with dirty sheets surrounded by children’t clothing.
NOTE: This is NOT a happy little story folks! : ( Sorry to give so much away, suffice it to say if you were abused yourself you might not want to read this book, but it’s not as bad as I thought it would be, with graphic details of the physical abuse like a Jodie Piccult book. Does it have a happy ending? I’m not giving it away.