Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Book Review: Who Do You Think You Are? by Alyse Myers

Who Do You Think You Are? by Alyse Myers

Published by Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster

Rating: 4 stars

This book is Alyse Myers' memoir about the difficult relationship she had with her mother and how that has affected her life in both negative and positive ways. Her parents had an unhappy marriage which further exacerbated the situation, until her father passed away when she was only eleven years old. From them on, Alyse felt like she was on her own because she was 'daddy's little girl' and couldn't relate to her sisters and certainly not to her mother. Alyse was unfairly treated for years and forced to suffer her mother's constant criticism, such as calling her a snob and asking her, "Who do you think you are?" all of the time. Finally one day when she had saved up enough money, she finally moved out and started to forge her own life and identity away from the clutches of her overbearing mother. It was only after the birth of Alyse's own daughter that she finally was able to see her mother for more than her past behavior.

Surprisingly enough, despite the emotionally charged subject matter, this book didn't leave me feeling overwhelmed. Of course, I was outraged at times by Ms. Myers' mother's appalling behavior, but as she was telling her stories, Ms. Myers' maturity and growth was apparent. There was almost a detachment between what she had experienced and where she is now because of how well her life has turned out. I could sense the forgiveness in her words and the path towards reconciliation beginning to develop.

Thankfully, this book is not bogged down by too much detail or unneccesary information. I enjoyed its conciseness and Ms. Myers' ability to hone in on the most salient and relevant chapters in her life that helped provide me with the complete picture, no more and no less.

My favorite part of the book is once Ms. Myers has a daughter of her own. She deeply feared that history would repeat itself and she would have a similar relationship with her daughter as the one she'd had with her mother. However, it was probably for the best that she did have a daughter because she was able to right the wrongs of the past and pave the way towards a better future for her family. I would have liked to have read a little more though about her relationship with her daughter and perhaps her daughter's reactions to what she went through as a child.

It took courage to come out and admit that she hadn't felt the love for her mother that society views as a prerequisite and frowns upon negative mother-daughter relationships. I'm glad that Ms. Myers overcame her tumultuous relationship with her mother and gained enough insight from it to raise a daughter of her own and to have a strong relationship with her.

Ms. Myers recently appeared on The View - to watch a clip scroll down this webpage!

BIG THANKS to Julie of FSB Associates for my review copy


bermudaonion said...

I'm not sure why, but I love books like that.

Cathy said...

Nice review. I agree with you that it takes courage to put yourself out there esepecially if it does not jive with society's expectations of what should be.

Missy B. said...

I can't wait to read this book...it is on my wish list. Thanks for the great review!

Belle said...

This sounds like an interesting memoir. What a difficult relationship Myers had with her mother!

Becca said...

This sounds good. I love memoirs! I probably read more memoirs than any other genre. I just love these kinds of stories. Thanks for the review!