By Heather Siegel
“How did I get so lucky?" Heather Siegel asks her sweet baby daughter. As a survivor of child neglect, abandonment and abuse, she is lucky. Yet she paid full price for it as she flashes back to a childhood brimming over with memories — mostly bad. Somehow the good early years with her parents, especially her mother, offer strength on her journey toward survival.
Heather is abandoned by her mother at six-years-old, along with her eight-year-old sister, Jaz, and her baby brother, Greg. She relates her memories of those times with candor, resentment and a bit of mostly dark humor usually spewing from her sardonic sister, Jaz.
Her blond Nordic mother, so beautiful, albeit a bit of a hippie, yet light hearted and hopeful, disappears, leaving her father unable to cope with his own loss. He puts the girls into foster homes, separated from Greg, who is placed separately. Only till he gets his head together, he tells them; but that never happens. The children spend the next six years in foster homes sharing every other weekend with their father. Greg is lucky to be placed in a fairly good home, the girls not so much. Heather bonds to her one foster mother more out of need than love.
Jaz hides her hurt with sarcasm and a smart mouth, not allowing the blisters on her soul to show. Unlike her sister, Heather cannot hide mourning her beautiful mother, wondering why she left; wondering if she’ll ever come home — home to her father’s basement apartment, dark and dank — the underworld.
Author Heather Siegel writes a debut memoir that is
often painful to read. Yet she never loses her innate hope that things will change for the better. The author bares her soul in this story so that those also abandoned and neglected and abused, can relate, while other readers may cringe at the heartache laced through this coming-of-age story. Due to graphic sex and language this book is recommended for adults only.
The story told through the point of view of Heather, Jaz and Greg, comes to a riveting end, shocking and painful yet offering a closure of sorts. This is a haunting memoir, disturbing at times yet grasps onto readers taking them along for an emotional ride of ups and downs into an unforeseen yet somewhat satisfying ending.
Micki Peluso, author of . . . And the Whippoorwill Sang.