Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Book Review: Pieces of my Mother. A Memoir by Melissa Cistaro/Memoir/NETGALLEY ARC/Published in 2015

Hello dear Readers,

Below, my book review of Pieces of my Mother. A Memoir, by Melissa Cistaro. 

Title: Pieces of my Mother. A Memoir 
Genre: Memoir
Author: Melissa Cistaro 
Publisher: Sourcebooks (May 5, 2015)
Language: English
Hardcover: 320 pages

Book Description

This provocative, poignant memoir of a daughter whose mother left her behind by choice begs the question: Are we destined to make the same mistakes as our parents?
One summer, Melissa Cistaro's mother drove off without explanation Devastated, Melissa and her brothers were left to pick up the pieces, always tormented by the thought: Why did their mother abandon them?
Thirty-five years later, with children of her own, Melissa finds herself in Olympia, Washington, as her mother is dying. After decades of hiding her painful memories, she has just days to find out what happened that summer and confront the fear she could do the same to her kids. But Melissa never expects to stumble across a cache of letters her mother wrote to her but never sent, which could hold the answers she seeks.
Haunting yet ultimately uplifting, Pieces of My Mother chronicles one woman's quest to discover what drives a mother to walk away from the children she loves. Alternating between Melissa's tumultuous coming-of-age and her mother's final days, this captivating memoir reveals how our parents' choices impact our own and how we can survive those to forge our own paths.

My thoughts
*I gave 5/5 stars on Goodreads

Reading this book was a heartbreaking experience for me. It was really sad. I never read a book like this before. When I read the description, I never imagined it was going to be as painful as it was. I haven’t experienced the same situation as Melissa, however, I live far away from my family, in another country. There are situations that I haven’t solved or give the appropriate closure. Situations that are hard to confront. There are times when I find myself thinking: “what if something bad happens to any of them and I cannot be there on time to say goodbye?”. In different ways, we all are constantly looking for answers, especially to the hardest situations we go through in life.

I want to thank Melissa for writing such an honest book. I cannot imagine how hard it was for her to open her heart and show us not only her vulnerability, fears, insecurities, sadness, mistakes, self doubt and imperfections but also those of her mother, grandmother, father and brothers, her entire family. When a writer has the bravery to pour out her heart and show us who he/she really is, it makes the story more believable. Credibility, especially in Memoirs, is always well appreciate it. Melissa’s writing style is beautiful, well executed. I think it is what holds the entire story together. She shows us what happened and how hard it was to grow up without a mother and all her fears on parenting her own children but also, a hope for a better future, that sense of hope it was always present for me in the book.

Told from Melissa’s Point of View, Pieces of my Mother is the story of Melissa and her mother. Going back and forth between the past, when Melissa’s mother left the house, and what it was like for Melissa and her brothers to grow up motherless, and the present, when Melissa’s mother is dying and she goes to Olympia to stay with her in her last days, where Melissa finds a series of letters her mother wrote throughout the years to her and her brothers but never sent and how she hopes these letters would contain the answers to all the questions she has had for so many years. The search for that something that would give her some sort of closure.

This book gave me a sense of Self-Examination. It made me think what the impact of having so much “unsaid”  in life can have on people around you, especially the ones you love. Family, friends. It also helps us to understand that our situations in life may be different but we all deal with the consequences of our decisions. We all face doubt. We all at some point in our lives try to avoid the same mistakes our parents or brothers made or are making. It teaches us that we always have to try to understand why people do what they do or why the make the decisions they make and not to judge them because at the end, there is always a story behind the why’s. For some people is harder to open up about their lives and explain why, like I feel is the case of Melissa’s mother but that doesn't make her a bad person. It makes her human.

Pieces of My Mother, a book that will be in my mind for more years to come. All the lessons I learned that I will keep in my heart. Forgiveness, love and learn from our mistakes.

Thank you NetGalley and Sourcebooks for sending the ARC copy, in exchange for an honest review.

My Favorite Quote

"When I think of Bella, I know it is no mistake that I have a daughter to teach me about the things I still need to learn."


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