4 out of 4 stars
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How do you survive terrible abuse everyday? When your abuser is the one meant to protect you from harmful things, whom do you turn to? Diann Kissell and Kathy Bird tackle these questions and more in A Turquoise Life. The memoir details Kissell’s abusive childhood and her journey to a place of closure and healing. Diann is just a child when her father sexually assaults her. She is forced to live with what has been done to her all of her life. Eventually, Diann must decide if she wants to live her life in dark colors or live life in a color much brighter.
I will be upfront. I loved this memoir. I have been reading quite a few memoirs lately, but none of them have hit me right in the “feels” like this one. I will start with what I loved most: Diann. She is someone I aspire to be like. She does not sugarcoat anything, and she does not hold back any information, even certain information that may not portray her in the best light. She admits she did things she is not proud of, but she owns those mistakes. I don’t want to give away too much, but once readers are introduced to “Sandra”, they will understand what I mean. Honestly, I loved her honesty. As I read, I felt like I could trust her, which says a lot because I always question people’s honesty in memoirs. Telling her story must have been so difficult, but she does it to help herself and others struggling with similar things. Diann is so relatable. Readers will be able to connect with her because her loving, warm and caring personality comes right through the pages. I rooted for her the whole time I read, and I am still rooting for her wherever she is!
The writing style is great and flows beautifully, and the pacing of the memoir is wonderful. The subject matter is heavy, and it is hard to read at times; however, the facts and depictions of these heavy moments are placed in such a way that the material is readable, and readers will not be overwhelmed. That being said, when I read the descriptions of Diann’s abuse, I wanted to close my eyes. The sections are not overly graphic, but I just didn’t want anything bad to happen to Diann because I had become so attached. I want to be clear that I did read those sections in there entirety, and I do caution readers that they may find the content hard to get through, but I do strongly encourage all readers to try because Diann’s story is powerful.
The people in Diann’s life all appear to be portrayed honestly. I say this because she includes the good and sometimes troublesome sides of the important people in her life. She describes them all in such a way that readers will have a clear picture of every person Diann encounters. I felt like I knew her friends and family, and I cheered for their victories and shed tears for their tragedies. There are a lot of people depicted in this memoir, and it is a testament to the strong writing styles of Kissell and Bird that readers will be able to recognize all of the people introduced in this memoir with ease.
As I stated before, the material is heavy, but when I finished reading, I realized the dark parts were not what stayed with me. The loving, tender and triumphant moments impacted me the most. I loved when Diann just shares time with her family and when she proves that even though terrible things have happened to her, she still has the capability and the want to love and be loved. I know future readers will love these moments.
I give A Turquoise Life 4 out of 4 stars. Diann’s story is one everyone should read. Yes, this is a memoir about a victim of terrible abuse, but that does not mean only other abuse victims should read it. Abuse and assault are far too common in today’s society, and this is an important piece of writing that could go a long way to stopping heinous acts from happening. Everyone should read this memoir. I applaud Diann for her bravery in sharing her story, and her bravery deserves nothing less than 4 stars. Her story makes me want to live a life in turquoise.
A Turquoise Life
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