Hamster Island, by Joan Heartwell took me down memory lane. A trip I was not ready to take. Heartwell’s account of nuns warning her and classmates that God punishes people whisked me back to a time I’d rather forget forever. In fact, dormant thoughts came roaring back to me like a lion, causing me to recall quite well the dark diatribes the nuns in my Catholic school would spew to us in class. Thank God, when I became an adult I learned that God is not as evil as they portrayed him to be. My bad experiences in Catholic school is what led me to stop attending the Catholic Church when I was old enough to make my own decision.
The book reminded me that some people are not meant to be parents. It is truly unfortunate what some kids must endure through the hands of inept parents. I am not too fond of dark memoirs, but I have to give Heartwell credit for a well-penned account of her life in a super-dysfunctional family. I have one daughter, and can’t imagine doing to her what happened to the author.
The following passages in the book made me cringe:
When I tell her I have been invited to a movie, she only looks up from the TV and reiterates that good girls don’t go on dates in cars.
In the meantime, and in spite of the fact that my mother continues to smell my breath and check me over from head to toe for signs of ravishment, Pete and I remain innocent.
Mom and Dad are the two most important people in the life of child. However when both parents are absent; this makes it even harder for any child to become well-adjusted adults. What kind of father hates his daughter’s boyfriend because he plans to attend college?
My father hates him on principle; he hates anyone who opts to go to college after high school, especially now that there is a war going on. My father, who fought in the Second World War, believes that college is for sissies.
I hope with the writing of this memoir, the author will be able to put behind some of the bad things she endured growing up. I applaud her loudly for the courage to write this memoir.