An up-close-and-personal invitation to enter the deepest emotional spaces of a very special woman – one who has charmed and entertained us from early childhood, and who still bears the memories and scars of those (and other) formative experiences.
The author tells us her story through a series of candid essays, each profoundly touching, that span a wide spectrum including : a behind-the-scenes look at a childhood in the hands of the powerfully unfeeling TV and Movie industry, reins handed over freely by an emotionally-unavailable (and certainly mentally-unstable) father; the misogyny and horrors of her teenage encounter with the grotesque in the Canadian #Metoo movement; harrowing and traumatic birthing experiences in adulthood; and a medical history which continues to complicate and devastate her life in young motherhood.
The story begins, in many ways, with the author’s trauma, as, still grieving from the terrible loss of her much-loved mother, at eleven years old, already a child star, and a central figure in the family-TV-hit “Road to Avonlea”, she is abandoned to the grueling pace of her casting schedule and the chilling insensitivity of a director eager to capitalize on her unexpressed emotional torment.
As the author (still a child) must contend with the physical and emotional pain of a twisted spine through scoliosis, a deeply troubling (and certainly abusive) relationship with her father, and a suffocating tv and film history laced with dangerous and traumatizing experiences, she is cast as the central role in the maniacally-“delightful” Stratford theatre production of “Alice through the Looking Glass” (perhaps this reader’s least-loved childhood story), and falls victim to an unexpectedly crippling case of stage fright.
Perhaps in each of us, decisions and choices, fraught with emotion, must drive before they may be understood. In the author’s case, the act of rooting out, of uncovering, and of revealing, memories, underlying echoes and the thread through which they may be connected, is as therapeutic for her as it is illuminating for the reader.
A gorgeous and haunting read, I could not put this book down, – impossible not to feel both touched and somewhat privileged by the insights shared and the unmistakably intimate connection forged and most definitely, felt.