Title: The Sitting Swing
Author: Irene Watson
Genre/Pages: Memoir, Inspirational/215 pages
Publication: LHP; July 16, 2008
Rating: 2.5 BOOKMARKS
A journey to find freedom from codependency and unhappiness, Irene Watson’s The Sitting Swing is one woman’s story of recovery.
Raised by Ukranian immigrant parents in almost absolute isolation from society until she was six, Watson recounts her stark childhood in the unforgiving Canadian province of Alberta and how her upbringing shaped her personality and perception of life and relationships.
After losing one child to illness, Irene’s mother isn’t about to let her second child wander too far from her vigilant watch. As a result, Irene’s attempts at independence are stifled and her personality development is retarded by her mother’s domineering parenting.
The memoir recounts Irene’s struggles to learn English, make friends, and her numerous attempts to escape from under her mother’s thumb. As an adult, she finds herself repressing her feelings and struggling with her marriage.
A few years shy of 50, Irene, a therapist herself, checks into a 28-day program with little hope of taking away more than just some rhetoric to pass on to her patients. Initially, she works against the program and is high skeptical of its efficacy. In the end, she opens herself to the lessons and counselors, finding the tools she needs to make peace with her past and change her present.
This book was a quick and interesting read, though I typically don’t read inspirational nonfiction. Without minimizing Watson’s childhood struggles, I have to confess that I kept waiting for the big reveal–a major and catastrophic event that brought her to Avalon for help.
Watson’s diction–chatty and conversational at times–detracted from her story. Maybe she was aiming for candor, but this memoir could be markedly improved if she would have detached from her audience and relayed the story without casually addressing the reader.
Don’t ask me how, because I don’t know, and I’m not sure I would want to bore you with the details if I did…Let’s zip forward ten years… (Watson, 18-19)
Ultimately, Irene Watson finds the tools she needs and is able to recognize the past for what it is. From there, she can let go and move forward in her marriage, life, and career.
Thank you to Dorothy at Pump Up Your Book Promotion! for this review copy!