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Reversible Skirt by Laura McHale Holland

Saturday, December 3, 2011
When the mother of three little girls commits suicide, their father wants more than anything to keep his family together. He remarries in haste and tells his daughters his new wife is their mother. The youngest, Laura, believes her mother must have gone through a kind of magical transformation.
Reversible Skirt is written from Laura's perspective as a child sifting through remnants of her mother's existence and struggling to fit into a community where her family's strict rules are not the norm. When Laura's father dies, her stepmother grows increasingly abusive, which propels Laura and her sisters into a lasting alliance. Their father's wish that they stay together comes true, although not in the way he'd imagined.

Goodreads Summary

How do you cope with your mother's suicide?  The author attempts to answer that question-or at least show how she dealt with the issue.  When her mother commits suicide, Laura is left behind with her two sisters.  When her father dies, Laura and her siblings are left with an abusive stepmother.  The situation really couldn't get too much worse.  The one redeeming quality of the whole situation is the way Laura and her sisters come together to form a cohesive unit. 

The author's feelings in the book are raw.  A reader can expect a slight tear-jerker out of this memoir.  For being so young, the author has a remarkable memory and describes the situation so perfectly the reader can picture the scenes in his/her own head.  The idea that the pieces of the author's life fell into place in the way they did is sad, but it is amazing how people manage to make the best of bad situations.  The reader will feel very close to the author throughout the novel, rooting for her and her siblings the entire time. 

The author fills in the gaps of her adult life with letters from her mother, partly explaining why she did what she did and the background behind the act.  This book is hard to put down and will definitely make for a good read for adult readers.

4 Stars

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