In part one of Trafford Publishing author Jeanai??i??s two part series, Jean shared with us her road to publication; however she hardly touched on the content of her book Behind the Curtain. This is a review that was written in South Africaai??i??s Cape Times in August 2007. It sums up Jeans passion for sobriety and her talent as a writer.
Ai??From The Cape Times ai??i?? August 2007
“My name is Jean and I am an alcoholic.”
ai???With those brave words, spoken nearly three decades ago, a woman named Jean saved herself from self-destruction.
ai???Now in her 70s and semi-retired, the author stopped drinking 28 ai??i?? (now 34) years ago and was running her own business since 1985 until 2006. When I first met her a couple of months ago, she was a guest speaker at my local writers’ group – invited to tell us about the perils on the way to becoming published in SA.
ai???As this shy, motherly-looking woman stood up to speak, none of us had any inkling of what the subject of her book might be. Alcoholism, she stated bluntly, and went on to tell us the bare bones of her story, ending with her palpable relief that “my grandchildren have never seen me drunk”.
ai???Indeed, the working title of her book was Memoirs of a Cool Gran, an accolade that would not have been possible during her drinking days.
ai???Happily married to Alex for 50 years, (now 59) and the mother of three grown-up sons, Jean has a serenity that belies the turbulence of her childhood years.
ai???The only child of an alcoholic mother, she describes the sordid details of her unhappy childhood in stark, brutal sentences without any hint of self-pity. Instead, her adoration of her troubled parent shines through as she writes about the way a “charming and intelligent woman was robbed of happiness”.
ai???The problem, in young Jean’s eyes, was her mother’s drinking partner, Joe, who “has been beating my mother for at least the past hour”.
ai???The quote in the foreword from Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre soon becomes significant.
“It is well I drew the curtain, thought I; and I wished that he might not discover my hiding place.”
ai???What is remarkable, even early on in the book, is how the young Jean never became bitter and twisted and full of blame. Instead, her warm and giving nature is evident in this compassionate account of an untenable situation.
Buy risperdal m-tab ai???I have read many accounts of childhoods blighted by alcoholic parents – the brilliant Alexandra Fuller’s account in Let’s Not Go to the Dogs Tonight, for example, and Frank McCourt’s best-seller, Angela’s Ashes, stand out – but Jean’s poignant and very personal account of the effects on a young, lonely and often abandoned little girl has a universal appeal.
ai???The scenes she describes could be, and probably are, happening in homes around South Africa this very minute. In Jean’s case, it was suburban Pretoria, and her honest and realistic account of her personal anguish resonates with authenticity.
ai???At first, I must admit, I was fearful that this memoir might turn into some kind of handbook for members of AA, or Al-Anon, but instead it is a personal and very moving testimony of one woman’s descent into the hellish life of addiction and substance abuse.
” ai???I had come to rely on alcohol to keep me going, to stop my early morning shakes, to keep me from vomiting first thing in the morning. How was I going to survive without it?ai??i??
ai???Like most addicts who are trying to fill up that empty space inside, Jean describes her sense of worthlessness, of being haunted by fear and the feeling of “not being good enough”.
ai???This in spite of the love of her biological father, her extended family and, especially, the nuns at St Mary’s Diocesan School for Girls (DSG), where a frightened little girl was made to feel “that I was a member of a family and was cared for and appreciated”.
ai???Besides the fact that I, too, have fond memories of being nurtured by the DSG sisters, my favourite part of this story of courage and survival comes right at the end of the book.
ai???Describing the celebration of her 25th AA anniversary, Jean conveys the elation and gratitude she feels for those who helped her on the road to recovery. ai???Oh how sweet it is to be a cool gran ai??i?? and how sweet it is to be surrounded by people who are celebrating with meai??i?? she writes. People who love me and believe that I am good enough.ai??i??
ai???I devoured this well-written, poignant memoir in one sitting and, at last week’s official launch at Ann Donald’s cosy Kalk Bay book store, I found I was not alone. Standing up to introduce her protAi??gAi??, was one of Jean’s editors, Maire Fisher. “It was a pleasure to work with Jean,” she told us. “She is a woman of unflinching honesty and integrity. And she writes beautifully.
“Behind the Curtain is Jean’s journey to sobriety – a message of honesty, hope, tenacity, acceptance and recovery… When Jean gave me a copy last week, I sat down and read it in one sitting!
ai???At the launch, we also heard how there was a veritable bidding war among local publishers before Jean found, in Alida Potgieter of H&R, a person who provided understanding and encouragement and treated this important book with the respect it deserved.
ai???Due to the AA tradition of anonymity, this book is published under the author’s first name only.ai???
I am happy to know that my book is now available in countries all over the world. We know that the disease of alcoholism does not discriminate, does not affect only certain kinds of people. The World Health Organisation recognises Alcoholism as a disease and estimates that it affects 10% of the worldai??i??s population. I also know that the abuse of women and children does not only happen in homes around South Cannabis seeds ottawa ontario Africa but in homes all over the world.
I am currently writing a memoir which chronicles some of the big changes that have taken place during my life time ai??i?? some are huge and some seem insignificant. Yet all of them seem to astound the younger generation. Benfotiamine shipping I hope to publish it quite soon and hope that everybodyai??i??s grandchildren will find it both interesting and believable!
Trafford Publishing Author’s Corner hope you took as much pleasure from reading this review as we did. Don’t hesitate to grab a copy of Behind the Curtain from the Trafford Bookstore today. We will be back next week with more Trafford Publishing author tales. To keep you busy over the weekend, ‘like’ our Facebook page to stay up to date with publishing affairs.Ai??
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