2 out of 4 stars
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Journey to Forgiveness by Eve Bauer is a snapshot memoir. It tells the story of the author’s life but talks specifically about her relationship with her father.
Bauer was born and raised on a farm along with her five sisters. With six daughters and no sons, this left her father with a lot of work to do on his own. The girls all tried to help, but there was only so much they could be expected to do. Working on a farm is dangerous work. Two of her sisters were seriously injured in farming equipment accidents. Her father also had a short temper and anger issues, which made getting along with him that much harder.
Much like the writing of Frank McCourt (Angela’s Ashes), Bauer’s writing style is not chronological. She shares memories as they become relevant. She’ll be telling us about a storm she faced with her dad when she was nine, then start talking about one she saw when she was twenty. With this style, we know that we’re not getting all of the information, but we’re able to follow along with her thought-process a lot more easily. We can compare her experiences and relationship with her father and better understand how it’s changed and developed. This is something I really enjoyed about the book. A lot of times, memoirs get bogged down with unnecessary details in an effort to chronicle a person’s life. However, if I asked my grandmother, for instance, to tell me about her life, she would share with me memories in this fashion. I feel this style is more organic in that way.
In the author’s note at the end of the book, Bauer talks about how writing this book was something she felt she had to do. I can understand wanting to get her feelings and memories down on paper. I believe this is something her children and other family members would truly enjoy. However, I was bored. While the details of their lives are different than others, the natural progression that people go through with their parents was extremely typical. She was cared for as a child, looked up to her father, realized as she got older that he was flawed, he eventually sought her advice as an equal, and then she cared for him in his old age. I didn’t like that there weren’t any exciting revelations beyond the traditional. Since the story is not chronological, I have not provided any spoilers.
Unfortunately, there were a lot of mistakes in this book. There was often a space before apostrophes, such as “dad ‘s” or “didn ‘t” along with other spacing issues. They caught my attention and detracted from the story. I rate this book 2 out of 4 stars. It lost a star for the errors and another because I was bored reading it. However, Bauer’s writing style was very engaging and enjoyable. I would enjoy reading more work by her, provided she told a more interesting tale. I would recommend this book to her family and friends, those that know the characters involved. I would also suggest it to others that enjoy memoirs of this variety. I would not recommend it for those seeking action, adventure, or romance.
Journey to Forgiveness
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