Thursday, October 22, 2009
I didn't expect to like this book as much as I did, but I really connected with it in the end. I picked it up because it's a memoir, my favorite genre. Unraveled: The True Story of a Woman Who Dared to Become a Different Kind of Mother was very touching. Maria Housden, the author, wrote a fabulous book that has stayed with me days after I've completed it.
Unraveled takes the reader through a journey of Housden's untraditional style of being a mother. I didn't really know what to expect, with that subtitle, but it makes sense after reading it. Housden takes us through her experiences of motherhood, jumping back and forth through time, to show us her unconventional ways.
Perhaps the largest part that sticks with me is Housden's explanation of her three-year-old daughter Hannah's death from cancer. In that span of time, she had to walk her husband, her older son, her sick daughter, and herself through the experience. Right before Hannah passed, Housden became pregnant and had a child. Thankfully, Hannah was able to see her baby sister's birth and meet her for a little while.
Housden completed her first book on the life and death of her daughter called Hannah's Gift, which is also explained in the novel.
I couldn't imgaine losing a child one month and giving birth to and raising another child the next. I can't imagine the loss I would feel, especially while trying to give love to another. That's a very hard, unique position to be in. It is definitely worth writing and reading about.
But, Housden also tells the reader about being "a different kind of mother." She struggles with her husband, Claude, and eventually decides to separate from him. He tried to mold her into someone she wasn't and asked her to do things she didn't want to do. Housden eventually divorces him but is faced with a hard decision. Does she take custody of the kids or let him have custody and live in their house?
Before the divorce, Housden went on a weekend retreat to clear her mind after Hannah's death to do some writing. On this retreat, Housden met the love of her life. She never thought she'd be one to have an affair, but she went with her internal instinct to be with him, Roger Housden, a writer. The way Housden describes meeting him was absolutely uncanny. She says that, once they locked eyes on each other, they knew that they were meant for each other.
Years later, Housden divorced her husband and moved in with Roger on the west coast in California. She let Claude take custody of her children in New Jersey and spent weekends and holidays with the children. Housden describes the pain of living away from her children, especially when major traumatic events happened like 9/11 and other injuries. Housden just wanted to pursue her writing career and explore her life more, especially with her new boyfriend.
After struggling with the distance, Housden and Roger moved back to the east coast to be closer to her children. They both ended up getting their own primary places in New York, one in New York City and the other a bit farther apart, where they now live and try to make more contact with her children. Claude still has problems letting her back into their lives even though he also had an affair and pursued a new love interest. It's all very strange.
But, the memoir was still extremely interesting. I was hooked. I know a book is really good when I can't stop thinking about it, and I can't stop thinking about this one! She always wanted to be a writer, and now I see why. She's talented, and she communicates her message quite effectively. I now want to read her other book! She's pretty good!
So what do you think of Unraveled?