Sentiment: a Memoir
by Cheryl Krkoc

"I was right next to my parents’ new master suite. This made it impossible for me not to hear Dad crying night after night. My heart broke for him."

Cheryl Krkoc’s mother carried a painful secret she swore to keep until she was on her deathbed. Instead, her death kept that secret hidden forever. Perhaps that is one of the reasons the author is so open and detailed in her memoir. Refusing to ignore or sugarcoat the events and feelings that shaped her and her family over the years, Krkoc probes the joys, sorrows, and frustrations of life’s experiences in her well-executed autobiography.

Born in 1951, Krkoc filters the decade through the naiveté of early childhood. For example, she recalls an innocent faux pas on seeing an African American for the first time and wonderingly exclaims that the man is made out of chocolate. During this period she also remembers the playfulness of her father, the constant companionship of her little sister, and her frequently standoffish grandfather showing his softer side when he helps her give a squirrel a proper burial. She then shifts to the 1960s when the family has moved from Illinois to Oregon. Parochial school, puberty, and parties that her parents host or attend color much of this decade as does the finding of the man she will marry. With each chapter spanning approximately one decade and accompanied by dozens of photographs, the memoir continues into the present to include the birth of Krkoc’s children and grandchildren, an amicable divorce after some thirty years, a new love, career moves, and deaths.

What emerges throughout her well-written story, though, is the author’s love of family and unflinching desire to present her candid, unvarnished history. Although some of the secrets she reveals may be painful, they are at least now shared.

Return to USR Home