Friday, January 22, 2016

WHITE WALLS: A Memoir About Motherhood, Daughterhood, and the Mess In Between - Book Review

I received book for review.  The opinions within this post are of my own and I was not influenced in any way.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

Book Summary:

Judy Batalion’s mother was a hoarder. She grew up in a home stuffed with tuna cans, VHS tapes and piles of junk that her mother couldn’t bear to throw out. But as Judy’s home metastasized with trinkets and trash, her own obsession with things grew—until she traded her messy, emotional upbringing for a compulsively ordered, militantly minimalist lifestyle in New York.

But just as Batalion seemed to have settled into a serene new life—including a serendipitous marriage to the son of a hoarder—she found herself enmeshed in one of adulthood’s most uncontrollable and messy experiments: motherhood.

The birth of that new generation is what stirred Battalion’s textured, clear-eyed, and genuinely funny new book. WHITE WALLS: A Memoir About Motherhood, Daughterhood, and the Mess In Between (New American Library; January 5, 2016 $16.00) is not a clinical look at hoarding and compulsions, but a personal story about intimacy and family, stuff and survival, and the things we pass on to our children. Here Batalion examines the strange way she saw her hoarder genes manifesting as her daughters grew older, and her mother sicker; and the question of whether we have any control over the habits, idiosyncracies, joys and hardships we pass on to our children.

My Review:

Our childhood upbringing can and most often does have an influence on how we perceive life and how we parent our own children.  WHITE WALLS reflects just that.

This memoir tells of a woman named Judy who was raised on a family where the mother was a hoarder and suffered mental illness.  The father was also in the picture and took care of the family but didn't have a strong love relationship with the mom.  The author, Judy, reflects on her past and tells of how she coped among the "normalcy" of her life.  The story goes back and forth between her past and how she feels during moments of being a mother herself.  Judy worries whether or not she is equipped to properly care for a child, what with how she was raised herself. 

I liked the story in and of itself and felt it could resonate personally with readers' own lives.  Judy's emotions and feelings are raw and real.  The writing was a little too poetic for me and sometimes I got lost in the fancy adjectives and summaries.  I would have liked the book more if it didn't seem so formal. 


Melissa Storms said...

This sounds like a book I should probably read, but it sounds like it would be extremely emotional for me.

Jerry Marquardt said...

This book looks so great. I cannot wait to read it.