Saturday, June 27, 2009

Review: Who Do You Think You Are? by Alyse Meyers

Who Do You Think You Are?
Author: Alyse Meyers
Published: May 6th 2008 by Simon & Schuster

Synopsis from Goodreads ( I cut and paste this together to shorten it):
We are transported back in time to the 1960s, to a working-class neighborhood in Queens, New York. It is not a happy home. Alyse's parents are young and good-looking, but they constantly veer between their mutual attraction and contempt. Alyse, on the other hand, yearns for more in life, including the right to escape. After a childhood of harrowing fights, abject cruelty, and endless uncertainty, Alyse adamantly rejects everything about her mother's life, provoking her mother's infuriated demand, "Who do you think you are?" A heart-wrenching and ultimately uplifting portrait of a mother and daughter, Who Do You Think You Are? explores the profound and poignant revelations that often come to light only after a parent has died.Her story's power lies in its simplicity and the emotions it conjures up in the reader. No matter what your relationship with own mother is like, this book will stay with you long after you put it down.

My thoughts:

This book made me sad. I had such a hard time being sympathetic to Alyse's mother at anytime during this book. Even when I knew this woman was dying, even after getting a peak into her early days when she loved with abandon. What I took away from this book is the knowledge that children are resilient. We, as children, have a way of hating our parents with such ferocity, but we also love them with great loyalty no matter what they might have done to us. In the end, Alyse was able to forgive her mother for her abusive ways and she made peace with that part of her life. I can not stand in judgment of brings a closure to her childhood that she needed in order to heal and to move on. I totally recommend this well-written memoir to anyone who is interested in this genre.

Taken from the book: A Conversation with Alyse Myers

Suppose your mother could ask you today, in a thoughtful and interested tone, "Who do you think you are?" How would you respond to her now as an adult and mother?

I would tell her that I'm a loving mother and a loving wife and that I'm successful at the things that really matter: love and relationships. I would tell her that she inspired me to be the best other and wife I can be--and that I'm sorry we didn't have the time to repair the past and learn from each of our mistakes. I would tell her that she didn't deserve to have such an unhappy life--and that I wished it could have been different for her. And that I wish I could have been more of a comfort to her--instead of a thorn in her side. I would tell her that the fact that I have an incredible daughter and husband must have had something to do with her. I would also tell her I am the luckiest person in the world. And I would thank her for that.

I would like to personally thank Julie from FSB Associates and the author Alyse Myers for sending me this book to read and review. Alyse was recently a guest on The View. Please click here to see her interview.

Other reviews:
Marcia-Printed Page
direct quote from her review: "I’m always amazed by people who live through such traumatic childhoods. The determination, resiliency and guts it takes to overcome. What compels me to read these types of memoirs is the silver lining waiting at the end. The sheer willpower a person has not to be defeated by their circumstances. Sometimes you just have to dig a little deeper to find it."


  1. The parent-child relations is a complicated one, isn't it? This sounds like a worthwhile book. Thanks for bringing it to my attention, Staci!

  2. I'm glad to see this is good because I got it recently.

  3. I don't read a lot of memoirs but when I do this is usually the kind I love. The ones that make me cry or laugh (or both).

  4. Great review! Sounds like a great book. I love the new look of your blog too!

  5. It was a tough story but I did enjoy this book. Nice review.

  6. sounds so sad, it's a good thing kids are resiliant. I had a good time browsing through your other blog this afternoon.

  7. Really enjoyed your review of this book. I've got it on my shelves and need to get to it.

  8. I love these kinds of memoirs, Staci. These people live through such trauma that it makes my childhood and adolescence seem like a bed of roses. I am looking forward to reading this one. Great review.

    If you like this type of memoir and haven't read these yet, these are also good: The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls and Secret Daughter by June Cross.


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