Wednesday, January 15, 2014

House Rules by Rachel Sontag

" some point we'll have to become what we want.  We'll have to be that mom for someone else., hope we marry a man who becomes that dad.  We can't just go on wishing for some concept of family that doesn't exist."

I have a lot of trouble with non-fiction.  I try to read at least one non-fiction book a year, but I always end up reading it while I'm reading something else and it usually takes me months to finish.  I have even more trouble with memoirs...I don't relate well to people talking about their emotions.  It's really challenging for me to get through and entire book where someone is reflecting on their experiences and how it effects them emotionally.  I probably wouldn't have picked up this book if it wasn't for book club, but I ended up finishing it in a little over a week...mostly during my lunch breaks at work.  With no classes until next week, I had a lot of free time.

This book is Rachel's memoir of her childhood and early adulthood.  If focuses mainly her complex relationships, especially with her over protective and obsessive father.  I've been waiting to write this review all day, but I'm still not sure how I feel about the book.  It was a quick read and the author has a very simple and entertaining style of writing.  I feel like Rachel's dad originally had good intentions, but went about it the wrong way.  Through his obsession with control over his family, I could see the underlining of a parents trying to raise his children the only way he knew how.  Yes, it was extreme and shouldn't have happened the way it did...but I can't help keeping in mind that Rachel was a teenager during a lot of the memoir.  No family is perfect and parenting is a very hard thing to "get exactly right."  Maybe that's just me trying to see the best in everything.  I think for me, the book brought up a larger question of the complexity of family relationships, parenting, and growing up.

While I was reading the book, I kept thinking how anyone could possibly remember not only details, but specific conversations of their childhood.  I also wondered what her family, specifically her dad, thought about the book.  I found an interview online that talked a little bit about this. What was even more interesting was a website developed by her dad in response to the memoir.  At the very least, I'm glad that Rachel was able to have a closer relationship with her mom and sister after the events took place.

No comments:

Post a Comment