Reversible Skirt

Reversible Skirt

by Laura McHale Holland

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When the mother of three little girls commits suicide, their father wants more than anything to keep his family together. He remarries in haste and tells his daughters his new wife is their mother. The youngest, Laura, believes her mother must have gone through a kind of magical transformation.

Reversible Skirt is written from Laura’s perspective as a child sifting through remnants of her mother’s existence and struggling to fit into a community where her family’s strict rules are not the norm. When Laura’s father dies, her stepmother grows increasingly abusive, which propels Laura and her sisters into a lasting alliance. Their father’s wish that they stay together comes true, although not in the way he’d imagined.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940011381577
Publisher: Laura McHale Holland
Publication date: 07/03/2011
Sold by: Smashwords
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 950,423
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Laura McHale Holland is the author of the award-winning memoir, Reversible Skirt. Her stories, essays and feature articles have appeared in such publications as the Every Day Fiction Three, the Vintage Voices anthologies, NorthBay biz magazine, the Noe Valley Voice and the original San Francisco Examiner. A member of both Redwood Writers and the Storytelling Association of California, she has been a featured teller at The Lake Tahoe Storytelling Festival. To keep up with her, please visit

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Reversible Skirt 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous 7 months ago
I felt this book was a waste of time.. I felt n sympathy or empathy for the author, as she seemed self pitying. I usually enjoy reading autobiographical stories, but this one felt contrived.
missmickee-bookreview More than 1 year ago
Readers are drawn in immediately by Laura's compelling child narrative, and care deeply about the three adorable little girls Kathy, Mary Ruth, and Laura shown on the debut book cover of "Reversible Skirt: A Memoir" authored by Laura McHale Holland. In the 1950's, the three girls were very young children when their father quickly remarried after loosing their mother tragically to suicide. A chilling maternal narrative following early chapters suggests a troubled marriage and a wife/mother unloved by her husband. Despite being a successful engineer with a good income, nice cars and home, the girl's father seemed indifferent or unaware that his second wife was very cruel and abusive and had absolutely no business caring for his young daughter's. This also included her elderly father, "Grampa Adam's" who was always cross with the girls and only viewed them as a nuisance. It was understandable when he died Laura felt zero emotion regarding his passing. The girls dearly loved their father, he worked very hard to support a stay-at-home wife and family. Laura received a reversible skirt as a gift from her father one year, which allowed her the option of a combination of outfits, instead of wearing the same dress all the time. The girls were always shabbily dressed, not permitted new expensive clothing. Other students commented on Laura's poor hygiene, the girls weren't permitted to bathe or wash their hair regularly in a effort to conserve water. Only allowed into the house around dinnertime, when they were older, their records were deliberately scratched, transistor radios were turned on while they were in school to run down the batteries. A normal or even marginally happy childhood was never possible, as the girls attempted to understand and come to terms with their harsh existence. On November 5th 1960, the girls lost their father likely from an unnamed cancer diagnosis. Laura observed the day after his death: (from the book)..... "Morning creeps up like an upset stomach, and pretty soon I'm a zombie trudging to school. I don't understand why somebody--Gramma, Uncle John, George, Violet-- couldn't have said that maybe it would be better for us not to go to school today." Their father's illness and death were never discussed, the girls were expected to carry on as if nothing had ever happened. Predictably, as the girls matured, they found their voice and were empowered to defend themselves against their step-mother. In the Epilogue Laura concluded in her adult narrative, without resentment or bitterness of life lessons learned in the face of adversity; which have definitely included a more compassionate, understanding, and loving motherhood for her own children. With gratitude and thanks for the e-ARC for the purpose of review. ~ A second book: "Resilient Ruin: A Memoir of Hopes Dashed and Reclaimed" is due for release November 1, 2016.
LA_Howell More than 1 year ago
Reversible Skirt by Laura McHale Holland is a 268 page novel written in first person, present tense. There are seven chapters and a touching epilogue. I also really liked the cover. It was brave of Holland to use their family portrait as the cover. It made it all the more authentic. The spelling and grammar were good, as well as the book format. There is a lot of narration in the book. I would have liked more dialogue however in a memoir this is understandable. It is more the feel and storyline that is conveyed. I can only imagine how therapeutic this book was to write. Holland really captured the essence of her childhood. Her dialogue and thought process was very child like. She takes you through her tumultuous years of dealing with suicide, death and abuse. It is amazing how compassionate Laura is in such dire circumstances. I commend Holland for being so open and honest with her story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This incredible book is very well written. The scenes and characters are so vividly described that I could just picture myself there with these children. At times heartbreaking, then uplifting, this is a story that you must read.
ApexReviews More than 1 year ago
When her mother commits suicide, little Laura's father remarries - rather hastily - and promptly informs his three daughters that his new wife is their mother. As the young girls struggle to adjust to their new family life, their father's untimely death soon thrusts their collective world into even greater chaos - culminating in their stepmother's brutal, escalating abuse. With no one but each other left in the world, it remains to be seen if the sisters' tortured bond can endure through the worst of adversity... Reversible Skirt is a thoroughly heartrending read. In her moving new memoir, author Laura McHale Holland takes the reader through the deepest recesses of grief, sorrow, and abuse - all from the fragile perspective of an innocent, unsuspecting child. What ultimately proves most impressive about Holland's spiritual sojourn is that - despite the unchecked chaos of her upbringing - she perseveres through it all with an unbreakable, sweet spirit. Such unflappable strength is highly commendable - not to mention rare - and your appreciation of Holland's genuine loving warmth is sure to grow by leaps and bounds with the turning of each fresh page. A highly recommended tale of learning to overcome the worst that life has to offer. Karynda Lewis Apex Reviews