3 out of 4 stars
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When Lunda Rose Halverston wasn’t being moved around the country from one state to another, she spent most of her growing-up years in the mountains of Tennessee, where most of her father and mother’s families lived. Her father was brilliant; however, he had an extremely short temper, a violent nature, and a reputation for being mean. She loved staying with her wise grandma, Lillie Dabney Halverston, her father’s mother, where she felt loved and safe. Lillie was the only person who could calm Lunda Rose’s father when he was enraged. Lunda Rose grew up with a longing to be in a stable family—one without guns, without a constant threat of violence, and without secrets.
Fear was with her always. She feared each night of being awakened and informed the family must flee once again to another town in another state, abandoning all of their belongings. When her father was gone for weeks and months at a time, she was frightened he wouldn’t return home. However, what terrified her the most was the fear he would kill her mother after another violent argument when he did return home.
Tethered to Wanting by Constance Huddleston Anderson is a poignant and haunting story about the search for that elusive something that can bring happiness. Most of the story takes place in the small community and coal town of Morley, Tennessee in the 1950s through the 1960s. It reminds us of the difficult lives of the people who lived in the Appalachians during that time. I grew up in the hills of Kentucky, and her words ring true. They remind me greatly of my childhood, bringing back a touch of nostalgia and sadness. Ms. Anderson says, “Tethered to Wanting was first written as a memoir. Ninety-five percent of the story is true with names changed and a few embellished descriptions. All pivotal events and life-changing moments are true. All of the characters are real people.” Her prose is easy to understand and vividly descriptive, compelling the reader to visualize the scenes and creating a sense of suspense and tension. The story jumps right into the action with an attack on her mother by her father. Her writing style represents my favorite aspect of the book, although it is difficult to decide since there is so much that I love. The story has lingered with me since reading it.
Excellent descriptions of the people are another aspect of the book that I appreciate. The story is narrated from the first-person point of view, from Lunda Rose’s perspective. Therefore, one can feel her longing and also her terror. The toll on her psyche from the life she was dealt with is clear. My favorite person is her Grandmother Lillie Dabney. She is a feisty, skinny, and clever Cherokee who is one of the few stable aspects of Lunda Rose’s life, encouraging her through the difficult times. She constantly gives Lunda Rose advice, for example, “Try not to hold on to or even imagine the bad things. Don’t let them ball up in you and fester. Just let them go. You have the command over both of them. Make up your own truth when you need to.”
The underlying themes of the story concern domestic violence, love, anger, guilt, forgiveness, hope, and the dangers from secrets. As Lunda Rose said, “Secrets were deadly. They imploded my family, backfiring—causing each deception, each wrong, each little lie, and sometimes even the good intentions to fold in on themselves.”
Sadly, I encountered too many punctuation, grammatical, and formatting errors in the book to award it a perfect score, even though I definitely wanted to. However, these were minor and did not interfere with my reading pleasure. This is the only thing I didn’t enjoy in the story. One more round of editing is advised. Because of this, Tethered to Wanting receives a rating of three out of four stars. I heartily recommend it to readers who enjoy memoirs, historical books, or dramas with some mystery intertwined. However, episodes of violence and rare borderline profanities were encountered. Therefore, it is unsuitable for young children and people who may be triggered by descriptions of domestic violence.
Tethered to Wanting
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