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Book Review: Will You Love Me? by Cathy Glass

A true story about a girl named Lucy.

Will You Love Me? by Cathy Glass is a true story about Lucy. She is in Cathy’s care after eleven long years. She experienced neglect, abuse and poor interactions with the UK’s foster care system. Over her mere decade on this planet, Lucy endured many challenges. Multiple moves, with her mom and in the foster system. A lack of proper nutrition.  Very little bonding with her mother. Adult figures came in and out of her life without any intention of parenting her appropriately.

The story follows chronological order, as best as Cathy could piece together. The basis is from the notes taken by various care and foster workers who are in the folds of Lucy’s story. Lucy starts off as an infant with her mother, Bonnie, and is soon in the transient lifestyle. Bonnie reflects on her days before she was a mother and recognizes that her perspective shifted:

“One of the girls had had a four year old child with her, and at the time Bonnie had thought it was wrong that the kindshould be forced to live like that and felt it would have been better off in foster care or being adopted, but now she had a baby of her own it was different; she’d do anything to keep her child.” (pg 19)

As her childhood progresses, Lucy experiences multiple moves – until social services steps in and works to get her into permanent care.

Through multiple interactions at different levels from social services, Lucy’s plight is well documented. Most of her experiences in and out of the care system is retold by Cathy:

“Lucy improved dramatically in the eight months she lived with Annie and her family. She gradually lost her fear of strangers, began playing and talking more, and was starting to catch up with her peer group.” (pg 73)

Understandably, Lucy has challenges and demonstrates ebbs and flows in her adjustment to her carers.

While at Cathy’s, there are serious concerns about Lucy’s ability to make sincere connections with her peer group, dealing with her anger, and her relationship with food:

“…one thing I did know was that the following day, when everyone was at school, I would go online and research eating disorders.”(pg 163)

As Lucy’s carer, Cathy is diligent throughout the book with her discovery and implementation of strategies; all efforts to make Lucy a member of her family. All members of the family love Lucy and express it openly:

“We were through to the living room where my parents gave Lucy her birthday present, and we all watched while she opened it. Lucy had previously told my mother that she wanted to be a famous beautician when she was older and do the make-up for film stars. Now, to Lucy’s unimaginable delight, the present from my parents was a large play beauty salon, set in a big red sparkling case.” (pg 233)

Will You Love Me? is a great book! It is full of moments that are wrenching, enlightening and tough to read. The book is interesting and recommended to anyone learning more about the fostering system, childhood adversity and interesting life stories. There are triggers throughout the book so I would not recommend it to anyone who may share a similar past.

Solid five stars and I am thankful to Cathy for sharing her stories with the world.

Book Review: Emotional Overeating by Marcia Sirota, M.D.

Never dieting again? I need to know the secret!

A transforming and impactful read, Emotional Overeating: Know the Triggers, Heal Your Mind and Never Diet Again by Marcia Sirota, MD, is for anyone who is changing their life. She is upfront and honest about what is causing the pounds to pack on, why we feel the need to stuff our emotions down with food and, most importantly, how to change it.

The sheer amount of tidbits that I want to share with you would require me to send out the book to everyone that is sincere about working through their thought processes around overeating. This book is a key tool to changing your mind, which will change your body.

“The more we try to fill the spiritual void within ourselves with materialistic solutions, the more empty and unhappy we are, and the more hopeless and enraged we’ll become.” (pg 17)

Empty? Enraged? Not understanding? Unhappy? Hopeless? It’s likely that you could be feeling these things as you try yet another diet, another shake, another way. Identifying my emotions first was a starting point. I felt attached to the scale, a prisoner of the pounds and I obsessed over what to eat. I was at a point of weighing myself multiple times a day. Not great.

“People who have the power to improve their own lives and the lives of others are a lot happier than people who try to have power over others.” (pg 20)

 

Reading non-fiction helps me to pick up ideas on how to improve my life in ways that work for me.

I focus on constantly improving my methods and habits because I’m not perfect either and I love to hear what others are doing and to help others when they’re ready for it.

This book is chock full of empowering methods to improve yourself. Sirota explores the true root of overeating issues, mainly to do with childhoods, parental impacts and unresolved issues. There are visioning exercises that I tried and they were extremely helpful to breaking through my barriers with weight loss.

“If you’re berating yourself for old mistakes or carrying a grudge against someone who hurt you, you can’t be happy now…If things aren’t the way you want them to be today, it’s your responsibility to change them for the better.” (pg 23)

This passage may not be new news and you are likely nodding at the truth of your responsibility. However, Sirota doesn’t put it all on you:

“It’s your parents’ responsibility, whatever they experienced in their own childhoods, to discover and resolve their own emotional issues prior to starting a family.” (pg 30)

Yep. Your parents have something to do with it too (surprise, surprise).

This is how cycles continue and why some find themselves listening to their parents’ instructions on what they should or shouldn’t do even decades later. Along with pieces of wisdom like this, Sirota works the reader through the roles and relationships of the Inner Child (ID), the Healthy Adult (Ego), and the Criticizing Parent (Super Ego). It is the first time that I have done significant work to meet and work with my Inner Child to understand what she needs. The result for me was a better understanding of my base needs to feel love, have someone listen to me and understand me. The cavaet? I’m that someone. I need to love, listen to and understand myself more. An unexpected result was that cravings have very little power over my actions now. When I have a craving, it is much easier to ask “what do I really need?” and, most of the time, it is reassurance and the craving passes.

Another reason that I read non-fiction books is to learn. Sometimes it all doesn’t speak to who I am but it may help someone else.

“The victim feels like she’s been hurt, wrong and hard done by. She’s the “adult child” of an alcoholic; the “survivor” of abuse or trauma. This is her primary identity, more than any other role she inhabits in her adult life. She’s overly invested in seeing herself as wounded and in need of compensation for her wounds.” (Pg 72)

Sirota explains the victim role and behaviour beautifully and objectively. I know individuals who fall into this category and have this as their primary identity. In trying to understand these people in my life, it was clarified:

“By identifying herself as a victim, a woman can never escape this role and she’ll live her adult life being the wounded child, pursuing child-like solutions to her wounds.” (PG 72)

The word never in this passage struck me. Hard. This was a moment of clarity for me. I cannot help others who identify primarily as a victim and it is likely that I am dealing with their wounded child in many of our interactions. Since reading this book, seeing the inner child within my interactions has guided my actions towards others and has helped in some cases. In others, the child has won out over the Healthy Adult.

Overall, my experience with this book was downright HARD!

In many of my reviews, I write how the pace of the book was for me.  I would like to mention that this book was insanely difficult for me to digest (pun intended). My usual reading pace can range from 40-100+ pages a day, depending on the topic. I could barely read 15 pages of this book because of the impact to my thought processes and realizations. I would read, reflect, talk over and come to terms with the immense amount of discovery in this book. “It’s simple, but it’s not easy” and that’s how I feel about my process in reading Emotional Overeating.

“Real love isn’t given in the hope of receiving something in return but from the experience of emotional fullness.” (pg 152)

“Self love is the experience of being full and fulfilled, with love to share.” (pg 152)

Emotional Overeating is an act of love. From Sirota to readers, from readers to themselves and from readers to others. I feel absolutely blessed to have come across this work and to have received the gifts of discovery. I highly recommend it to anyone who struggles with weight loss, addiction, and would like to discover something about themselves.

 

Book Review: The Cottage on The Border: Jenna Kroon Series by Hannah Warren

Cover of The Cottage on the Border by Hannah Warren - Review
The Cottage on the Border, the first in the Jenna Kroon series by Hannah Warren, captures the depth and complexity of love, struggle and family.

In Cottage on the Border, Jenna is a successful dancer who embodies duende. She is a master of the mixture between physical expression and emotional connection with music. Jenna’s poor health habits catch up with her early in the book and she is hospitalized. Her hospitalization culminates her career. 

In this hard time, Jenna reaches out to her brother for help. Vincent will always help his family first and comes to Jenna’s aid. Together, they begin work on Jenna’s healing path. Vincent’s roles as professional and brother are one of the secondary themes and is one key to understanding Jenna.

After small successes, Jenna discovers she has an incredible gift along with a family history that is much closer than she previously believed. Jenna wants to continue working through her struggles and demands (as is her nature) that she be left alone to do so. She and Vincent work on a method so she will be successful then it is Jenna and her ghosts.

With her piles of blonde hair and violet eyes, she dives into her treasure trove of history, alone.  

The Cottage on the Border delves into the full character of flawed humanity. I found myself cheering all the characters, which speaks to the depth of Warren’s character development. History and morality would dictate that I should not sympathize with people who have done such horrid things. This is a testament to Warren’s  writing style. Her additional sheer genius in allowing us to travel with Jenna in all her discoveries is what made this a mouth-watering read for me. Like Jenna, I couldn’t stop.

Reading The Cottage on the Border is a great experience. I simply cannot wait to read the other two books in this series.  Jenna is addicting, her struggle is superhuman and I need to know how it turns out. A solid five stars.

Format: ebook
Pages: 228
Days to Read: 9


Completed this for BookTasters. If you’d like to get free books in exchange for an honest review, they’re fabulous to work with and I highly recommend them!