2 out of 4 stars
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A Mother’s Love, a memoir written by Bettyrose Woody, is an emotional novel about the life of a young girl-turned woman too early, with no one to whom she could turn. The novel recounts several mind-boggling experiences which powerfully strike at her innocence, and at the heart of her struggles is the gaping distance separating a daughter and her self-obsessed mother. Bettyrose Woody lays out the foundation of how the love, and the fear, she held for her mother shaped both her adolescence and her adult life.
I can honestly say that Woody’s novel started out with a bang. Her introductory chapter had me hooked all the way through to the end which presented an intriguing cliffhanger. Actually, she ended many chapters on cliffhangers that made me want to keep reading and find out more about her weary life. I love the way Woody writes. She drags out a lasting pity in readers by writing fragmented sentences that hold a lot of meaning both individually and together.
Characterization was well done. I was easily able to identify the most influential people in Woody’s life, both positive and negative. The characterization of her mother is especially done well, as she had the largest impact on Woody’s life; in this effect Woody’s book title became increasingly apparent to me as a reader as I read. She does no lackluster job in showing just how affected she was by the several people and events in her life that ultimately changed her. She also does extremely well in describing Fassad, her primary love interest in the book. I often felt scared for her, reading of the dangers she faced with him and wondering what would happen next.
As an author writing about her life, Woody makes sure that her readers never forget how terrible her life was and, while she succeeds in drawing empathy from her readers, she also manages to hinder her storytelling. Phrases, descriptions, and events were repeated so often that I felt as though sympathetic feelings were being forcefully squeezed from my being. After a while of reading things I’d already read before in various forms, the story was no longer fun or enjoyable to read; it lost its appeal. I actually started recognizing phrases by the way it began and had to force myself to not skim through them. In the beginning, I thought it was a minor problem, these repeated sentences and such that had just been mentioned a few paragraphs before; but then, I realized that it would become one of the most harrowing issues within the novel.
Alongside this problem was the organization of the story. To be frank, the organization was a mess and I felt like a mess reading it because I found too often that, ironically, I couldn’t even remember something I had read previously. This is because Woody often brought up people and events that she would merely touch on in one chapter, completely forget about them for chapters, and then suddenly throw them back in readers’ faces later on. Several times, I was ready to hear about this person’s or this place’s connection to her and the influence they/it had in her undesirable life (as she blatantly foreshadowed a later involvement), and then I’d be left hanging in the middle of the chapter wondering why she even mentioned it in the first place.
Readers will see this especially with her belated introduction of Alton, which she continuously references as a life-changing experience for her. I was just waiting for the day in my reading where I’d finally catch her describing her experience at Alton instead of just vaguely mentioning it multiple times. Her details at Alton eventually came several chapters later.
Reading the novel which lacked severely in organization was extremely frustrating. Not chronologically, the story skipped brokenly from early adulthood; to teenage years; back further to childhood; then, abruptly, teenage years again; and finally, a return to adulthood. If this worked creatively with proper transitions, it would have been fine, but instead it hindered my understanding of what was occurring at particular times in her life. Honestly, if she had written of her life in chronological order – as it had truly happened, because I highly doubt she skipped around in years like this in reality – the plot would have made much more sense. Everything that happened to her in the past literally formed her future, and after reading the majority of the novel and piecing together all the information that I had read through, suddenly everything about her adulthood mentioned in earlier chapters made sense.
While the novel is extremely sad in that these events happened to someone so young in such a way that ultimately damaged her for life, I cannot ignore the novel’s mistakes and give it 4 stars. Aside from the unnecessary repetition, the lack of necessary description, and the lack of an understandable sequence of events, the story also had many grammar, punctuation, and general mistakes, such as: doubled words in one sentence, missing letters and punctuation. There was even an instance in which, for whatever its intended use had been, piece of an HTML had not been removed from the page.
Therefore, I give this book 2 out of 4 stars. As this is no book for leisure reading, I would recommend this novel to those in need of an account which might help them out of a situation much like the one Bettyrose Woody presented in A Mother's Love; for those who need reassurance that life looks up in the end.
A Mothers Love
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