Sunday, August 12, 2012


This memoir is very emotional because it's about children in a family. Terry is the oldest sister. There are many siblings. This family had so many heartbreaking problems It's hard to know where to start the review. I think it is possible to read about a dysfunctional family without placing blame on one adult's head. There are no perfect families. There are no perfect individuals. These two thoughts allow me to think with empathy and compassion for the whole family. However, these feelings do not an excuse the behavior of the adults especially physical abuse. According to TERRY HELWIG, her father was the strongest and most dependable of the two. Still, in my head I felt he was somewhat weak. What did he not give Terry's mom? What caused her to run from him over and over again? She would always run to the arms of another man. Why??? Does all the blame land on her hideous illness?

Well, I can with happiness applaud the children. Growing up under such stress I wondered how they could make it from day to day. For example, they moved from Colorado to Texas over and over again. Then, they were moved to California. The girls never knew when they would be pulled out of school by the school teacher and principal because their parents had decided to move somewhere else. I can only imagine what it must feel like trying to make new friends so often and trying to pick up your studies without falling behind. One time Terry told a best friend I am "from everywhere and nowhere."

The children also had to live with their mother's impulsive behavior. She divorced their father. Then, remarried, broke up, remarried. So many marriages so many times I couldn't keep count. Their mother also left the children to the care of  Terry. It seemed like she couldn't wait for Terry to grow big enough to carry the babies, feed the babies, iron the clothes, fix the meals, etc."In addition to the driving and grocery shopping, Mama put me in charge of signing our report cards and writing notes for excused absences."

While reading the book I realized that children are so vulnerable. Whatever their parents do or how their parents act is what they have to live with for many years. The children grow up in a world of confusion. Children are silent. They have no voice. They can only obey the orders of the big people. This is a fascinating memoir. There are pages and pages of pain. There are also pages of family love between the sisters. TERRY HELWIG'S MOONLIGHT ON LINOLEUM is a fascinating memoir. I think the author sums up the inability to see clearly in such a family by writing the following words.terryhelwig
"The moon had climbed into the sky and was now shining inside the trailer window. I looked to where it spilled across the waxed linoleum floor....I stared at it for a long while. How was it possible that moonlight on linoleum, washed with my tears, could be so achingly beautiful?"

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