Yet to Know
by Helen Donovan

"'It’s not fair. And I’m not going to stop feeling sorry for myself by reciting the litany of things I should be grateful for in this stinkin’ life.'"

A novel about Olga, her beloved brother, her career, and her adoption of a child whom she names Beth, this is a look into the anger, meanness, and outright narcissism of one woman's life. Feeling furious when her brother, Harry, leaves their home to marry someone she hates, and who then has the audacity to move to another state, Olga feels lonely and abandoned. After babysitting a neighbor's child, she decides the answer to all of her problems is to adopt a baby girl. The book then takes the reader through Beth's life, from infancy to early adulthood, and the perils of having to grow up with a dysfunctional parent. How she overcomes such dysfunction is the main storyline. Can Beth grow in her own development, or does she stay stuck under the thumb of her mother?

A very easy-to-read style and a simple storyline make this book a quick read. Yet it is also a tale with an interesting theme. The book asks intriguing questions throughout. For example, will Olga be able to look behind her neediness and grow emotionally? Will Beth be able to climb out of the poor childrearing she is brought up in and become a healthy adult? The tale sometimes seems to jump too quickly through Beth's life. However, the author's work in child abuse adds to the story as she demonstrates knowledge about abuse and neglect, including examples of these found in the Catholic Church. How does one recover from such dysfunction, and how does one learn to love when they are unloved by a parent? The ending is sweet and powerful and makes the book worth reading.

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