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Moonlight on Linoleum: A Daughter's Memoir

Average Rating 4.5
( 14 )
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  • Posted October 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I loved this book!

    Do you ever read a book and when you finish it, you want to email the author and just thank them for writing it? That's how I feel about this book.

    As someone who grew up with an unstable mother, I felt that I related so closely with Terry (although her situation was much more extreme than mine).

    I appreciated that Terry wrote, not only of the bad times, but also the good ones. The times that bring hope and joy and just a little bit of peace.

    The conflicting feelings about whether to love her mother or despise her so strongly reminds me of my own feelings towards my mother. How do you hate the person who has the capacity to show you so much love?

    As the story went on, I found myself wondering what the other sisters' thoughts were during some of those times. What were they feeling? How did they perceive that particular situation? What were her Daddy's thoughts during all of this?

    I wanted to know everything there was to know about this family. And after I turned to the last page and finished the book, I put it down and just sighed, both in sadness and wistfulness.

    Her strength is admirable. Her writing is beautiful. Her story is unforgettable.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 10, 2011


    This is a cross between Glass Castle & Liars Club. Great book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 31, 2014

    Highly recommended

    Loved this book!

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  • Posted June 7, 2012

    ¿A Heart-Wrenching, Courageous Memoir¿

    Ms. Helwig had my undivided attention with the first sentence of the Prologue—“I could not find my Mother’s grave”. She proceeded to take me on a spellbinding journey from the Riverside Cemetery and back to her childhood. Let me advise you, with the number of moves she and her family made, it would make a map into a crazy quilt. Carola “Jean” or ”Mama” was a child raising children. After a rough relationship with her own Mother, Jean married at 14 to Donald Skinner, a tenant farmer. Their union was not out of necessity but out of love. Everything was a learning experience for the young wife and mother,(having given birth to Terry ) who knew nothing about country living and caring for a Husband and family—especially when baby Vicki came along 2 years later. Slowly, Jean and Don’s marriage started falling apart. She packed up and with the girls, headed home to Fort Morgan, Colorado. Jean joined her divorced Sister; Eunice, and her young Daughter; Nancy. As much as Jean had a good heart where helping animals and down-trodden souls were concerned, she didn’t blink an eyelash when she tried to give her oldest to a Great-Aunt who lived outside of Fort Morgan. Thankfully, this did not happen. Her now former Husband was serving in Korea, and her divorced Sister disappeared from time to time, leaving young Nancy in their care. What was she to do? Life was chaotic and bleak, when, while working at a drug store soda fountain, she met a seismic driller (a “doodlebugger”) named Davy from East Texas. They had a brief courtship and despite the fact she really didn’t love him, they married and almost a year and a half later welcomed daughter, Patricia into the world. With Davy’s absences due to his oil drilling job, Jean again became restless. It wasn’t long before Terry and Vicki were sent back to their biological Father, Don in Glenwood, Iowa, with the promise it was only for a short visit and she would come back for them. Within this time, she had also divorced Davy. With some semblance of normalcy and love, in their lives due to their Dad and Grandparents, Terry and Vicki flourished –with Terry praying their Mother would return for them. Don met and married Cathy and he moved to Omaha, leaving the girls in the care of their Grandparents. Don and Cathy left Omaha and moved back to the farm after learning Cathy was pregnant. Living quarters became cramped and punishments were given out liberally by Cathy. To complicate things further, Jean, now remarried again to Davy, returned to take the girls back for a “short visit”, but when she learned of the spankings, decided the visit would become permanent and that the girls were not to contact their Father again until after they turned 18. Patricia, living with Davy’s parents in Texas, would join the group. “Squeezing a nine month pregnancy into a 5 month time slot”, their Mother gave birth to a fourth Daughter, named Brenda. With Davy’s increased absences and necessary moves due to his work, the light began to dim on their marriage once again, and restlessness, infidelity and alcohol again played havoc in all of their lives. Terry cared for her younger siblings with motherly skills, sometimes sacrificing her own childhood happiness. As soon as the girls got acclimated to their new school and had begun to make some friends, they found themselves packing up their belongings and moving once more—this time to Ozona, Texas—close to Davy’s work and where Jean discovered s

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted June 13, 2012

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    Posted October 21, 2011

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    Posted October 8, 2011

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