The Art of Mending (Berg)

As adults we often question our childhood memories, no matter how clear they are in our minds, they will never be the same as an adult memory…can they be trusted? Abuse is quite easily misconstrued in the eyes of a child. Often abused children seek approval and play into the abuse because any attention is better than none at all. As a child you don’t understand what actions signify love and which hate. In this book 2 siblings are faced with a scary confession by their “odd” sister of abuse at the hands of their mother. They go through varying stages of denial and confusion. The father even almost tells the main character before he passes away at the hospital, but decides to keep it a secret into his grave. In the end to me this book is about a few main themes: 1) trusting childhood memories and how they are different for all parties involved, call it “perspective” if you will or even “selective restructuring”; 2) family “norms” are in no way consistent between families; families in fact are like an entire organism with separate organisms living within it; 3) not all children are treated equally…and sometimes this is good and sometimes very bad; 4) losing a child can make you crazy and keeping it a secret makes that a guarantee…families shouldn’t have secrets; 5) at some point in time as an adult, you realize that even though you may have turned out ok, you may not be able to trust your parents with your own children….because that is intermixing those organisms and what worked with one, what gets overlooked with one, may not fly by the radar with the next. Some of these ideas are of course generational; others are lasting truths. This book was an eye-opening portrait of a family, which was relatively normal even in the eyes of most of the members but mostly because they refused to see.

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