Book Review-Moonlight on Linoleum by Terry Helwig

This author is good friends with another well know author, Sue Monk Kidd writer of The Secret Life of Bees. She encouraged Terry to write this memoir, she told her that “the world needs your story”.

The authors mother, Carola Jean was given permission to marry at age 14, by 15 she had her first baby, Terry, then two years later another Vicki. By age 18 she decided to leave her husband and the girls father.

She moved her two girls and went to live with her sister Eunice and her daughter Nancy. The two sisters tried to be there for each other but Eunice would take off for a few days on drinking binges. She would come back and shower her daughter Nancy with gifts making up for her absence. In the meantime Carola Jean offered her daughter, Terry….the author to a great Aunt by marriage, she was turned down.

Carola Jean was working at a drug store and met Davy, a doodlebugger who is a seismic driller for oil. Shortly thereafter they got married in East Texas. He was a good man, a hard worker and loved Carola Jean greatly. Seventeen months later another child name Patricia came into the world. Davy had to be away for his work which is the time Carola Jean went to the bars and danced with other men and brought them home. Soon after Patricia was born Carola Jean moved Terry and Vicki back to Iowa to live with their biological father whom they didn’t really remember because they were so young.

So I am sure that you get the picture by now. This is the story of how a woman had to grow up so fast to keep her family together against the odds of her mentally unstable mother. From going to twelve schools, the many marriages of her mother and five siblings, suicide attempts and drug abuse by her mother and so many other roadblocks.

Carola Jean passed away at the age of 40. The book starts out at her funeral and ends with the author in her 50’s, finding her grave again to sit at it and read this memoir to her because she really was the subject of it. She was 25 when her mother died.

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