Monday, July 18, 2011

Review: Wishing for Snow

From the back of the book: For novelist Minrose Gwin, growing up was a time of chaos and uncertainty, the result of being raised by a parent with a serious mental illness. Life with poet Erin Taylor was unpredictable at best and painful at the worst times, as she spiraled ever deeper into psychosis until her eventual death from cancer. But reading her mother’s childhood diary as an adult, Minrose encountered a very different Erin Taylor Clayton Pitner. Her late mother’s words, written in the 1930s, revealed a cheerful, perceptive young girl growing up in rural Mississippi who wished for snow that “usually didn’t come”—a girl with a bright view of the future as she progressed from college student to young mother to published poet, only to have an unbearable darkness close in around her, cruelly suffocating her hopes and dreams.

In her poignant and extraordinary memoir Wishing for Snow, Minrose Gwin sets out to rediscover her mother in the poems, letters, newspaper clippings, and quixotic lists that Erin left behind after her death. The result is an unforgettable true story of a Southern family and the tragic figure at its center—and a loving daughter’s determination to find the mother she never knew.

In this memoir, Gwin sets out to discover the person her mother was. While shifting through her mother's diaries, poems, and other writings left behind by the elusive Erin,  the author is able to piece together the story of her mother's life. This novel is a haunting look at mental illness.

Personally, the story flowed better after getting past the first few chapters which heavily relied on family history. I enjoyed reading the little snippets of Gwin's mother's life, which resulted in a memorable story.

Disclosure: I was provided a copy of this book for review by the author and TLC Tours. The thoughts and opinions in this post are my own.