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Moonlight on Linoleum: A Daughter's Memoir

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"I invited the child I was once to have her say in these pages. I am the one who came out on the other side of childhood; she is the one who searched for the door."In the tradition of The Glass Castle comes a debut memoir about a woman’s hopeful life despite the sad results of her mother’s choices. Moonlight on Linoleum is an affecting story of a girl who rose above her ci "I invited the child I was once to have her say in these pages. I am the one who came out on the other side of childhood; she is the one who searched for the door."In the tradition of The Glass Castle comes a debut memoir about a woman’s hopeful life despite the sad results of her mother’s choices. Moonlight on Linoleum is an affecting story of a girl who rose above her circumstances to become an early and faithful caretaker to her five siblings. It is about the power one finds in sisterhood to thrive in a difficult and ever-changing landscape as the girls bond in unconditional love despite constant upheaval and uncertainty. In these pages, Teresa Helwig crafts a moving portrait of a mother she loved completely even as she struggled to understand her. "Putting myself in Mama's shoes, which were most often white moccasins molded in the shape of her size seven-and-a-half foot, I see an eighteen-year-old girl with two children, one of them still a baby. . . . Her former husband is in Korea, drafted after their divorce; she has a sister who disappears from time to time, leaving yet another child in her care; she has no money, no high-school diploma, and a mother unhappy to have her home." Teresa and her sisters, who were added regularly throughout the 1950s and '60s, grew up with with their charismatic, troubled, and very young mother, Carola. Because of their stepfather’s roving job as in the oil fields, they moved frequently from town to town in the American West. The girls were often separated and left behind with relatives and never knew what their unstable mother would do next. Missing her mother became a habit for Teresa; one summer Carola dropped off her two daughters at her ex's family farm."If there were an idyllic summer of childhood, it was that summer on the Iowa farm. Yet, if I had to choose a time when I felt most forsaken by my mother, it was also that summer. Even back then, I was acutely aware of the paradox. On the outside, by day, I was like the morning glory vine twining around the back fence. Every day opened to a life I loved on the land. I reveled in and relished the absolute freedom and abandon of being turned loose in Eden.      "But then, each evening, after the sun set and the dinner dishes had been hand-washed and dried, I became like the moonflower vine climbing up the weathered boards on the side of the garage. The moonflower opens its large fragrant blooms at night; they shimmer like moonlight and sweeten the night air.     "I evolved a ritual at bedtime before crawling into my bed . . . I held Mama's Polaroid picture to my heart. I love you. Please come get us soon. I want to be with you more than I want to be anywhere else. These were my prayers, my blooms that opened to the night. Then I pursed my lips against the cool glass and kissed her smiling face goodnight."There were good times too: Carola made fudge for the girls during rainstorms, helped Teresa's cat deliver kittens, and taught her to play "You Are My Sunshine" on a toy piano. But when her husband was out working on the oil fields, Carola, who had married at fourteen, began to fill her time with men she met in the various towns her roving family moved to. She referred to her secret dating life as "going to Timbuktu," leaving Teresa in charge of her siblings. As Carola roamed and eventually developed crippling migraines, Teresa became a replacement mommy before her own childhood was fully in swing. Stress, guilt, and recurring nightmares marked her days and nights."In addition to the amphetamines [for weight loss], Mama was now taking barbiturates for her migraines. Her moods began to yo-yo. She became as hard to predict as the weather. When Daddy was out of town and Mama was in one of her fogs, I learned to fend for myself. And, being the oldest, I learned to fend for my sisters, too . . . It was around this time I came to realize a hard truth. Once your sisters begin looking up to you, as if you really could save them from being poisoned, as if you know a way out of a dark cave, there's no going back. You'll draw your last breath, trying to find that door to the Lost City of Enchantment, because you can't bear to let them down."Yet, even in the face of adversity, Teresa found beauty in the small moments: resting in the boughs of her favorite oak tree, savoring the freedom she found on her grandparents’ farm, and gleefully discovering the joys of dating and dancing. While Carola struggled for an exciting and satisfying life, Teresa faced adolescence and young adulthood, increasingly burdened by Carola's dysfunction. Finally, as the family splintered between colleges, homes, stepfathers, and their mother's disintegrating mental health, Teresa drove Carola to a mental hospital--where at last the mother of five found some peace and order.Upon leaving the hospital, sadly Carola continued in a downward spiral: more men, a drug addiction, a toddler son's death, and finally her own accidental overdose death in 1974. Though Carola's unhappy life meant Teresa's was marked by hardship and tragedy, Teresa found redemption in writing her mother's story and discovering empathy for the woman continually harmed by her own bad choices. The bonds of sisterhood helped sustain her, and today the girls are still close, still savoring the good in a childhood pocked with pain. Teresa, now a counselor and mother of a daughter, was able to conclude, after visiting her mom's grave and asking her blessing on the book, I believe joy and sorry rest together, the two sides of love. I have repeatedly uncovered places of joy inside my own heart tucked within the folds of sorrow.  With enormous skill and sensitivity, Teresa deftly explores the history she shared with Carola and the relentless love of a child for her mother.


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"I invited the child I was once to have her say in these pages. I am the one who came out on the other side of childhood; she is the one who searched for the door."In the tradition of The Glass Castle comes a debut memoir about a woman’s hopeful life despite the sad results of her mother’s choices. Moonlight on Linoleum is an affecting story of a girl who rose above her ci "I invited the child I was once to have her say in these pages. I am the one who came out on the other side of childhood; she is the one who searched for the door."In the tradition of The Glass Castle comes a debut memoir about a woman’s hopeful life despite the sad results of her mother’s choices. Moonlight on Linoleum is an affecting story of a girl who rose above her circumstances to become an early and faithful caretaker to her five siblings. It is about the power one finds in sisterhood to thrive in a difficult and ever-changing landscape as the girls bond in unconditional love despite constant upheaval and uncertainty. In these pages, Teresa Helwig crafts a moving portrait of a mother she loved completely even as she struggled to understand her. "Putting myself in Mama's shoes, which were most often white moccasins molded in the shape of her size seven-and-a-half foot, I see an eighteen-year-old girl with two children, one of them still a baby. . . . Her former husband is in Korea, drafted after their divorce; she has a sister who disappears from time to time, leaving yet another child in her care; she has no money, no high-school diploma, and a mother unhappy to have her home." Teresa and her sisters, who were added regularly throughout the 1950s and '60s, grew up with with their charismatic, troubled, and very young mother, Carola. Because of their stepfather’s roving job as in the oil fields, they moved frequently from town to town in the American West. The girls were often separated and left behind with relatives and never knew what their unstable mother would do next. Missing her mother became a habit for Teresa; one summer Carola dropped off her two daughters at her ex's family farm."If there were an idyllic summer of childhood, it was that summer on the Iowa farm. Yet, if I had to choose a time when I felt most forsaken by my mother, it was also that summer. Even back then, I was acutely aware of the paradox. On the outside, by day, I was like the morning glory vine twining around the back fence. Every day opened to a life I loved on the land. I reveled in and relished the absolute freedom and abandon of being turned loose in Eden.      "But then, each evening, after the sun set and the dinner dishes had been hand-washed and dried, I became like the moonflower vine climbing up the weathered boards on the side of the garage. The moonflower opens its large fragrant blooms at night; they shimmer like moonlight and sweeten the night air.     "I evolved a ritual at bedtime before crawling into my bed . . . I held Mama's Polaroid picture to my heart. I love you. Please come get us soon. I want to be with you more than I want to be anywhere else. These were my prayers, my blooms that opened to the night. Then I pursed my lips against the cool glass and kissed her smiling face goodnight."There were good times too: Carola made fudge for the girls during rainstorms, helped Teresa's cat deliver kittens, and taught her to play "You Are My Sunshine" on a toy piano. But when her husband was out working on the oil fields, Carola, who had married at fourteen, began to fill her time with men she met in the various towns her roving family moved to. She referred to her secret dating life as "going to Timbuktu," leaving Teresa in charge of her siblings. As Carola roamed and eventually developed crippling migraines, Teresa became a replacement mommy before her own childhood was fully in swing. Stress, guilt, and recurring nightmares marked her days and nights."In addition to the amphetamines [for weight loss], Mama was now taking barbiturates for her migraines. Her moods began to yo-yo. She became as hard to predict as the weather. When Daddy was out of town and Mama was in one of her fogs, I learned to fend for myself. And, being the oldest, I learned to fend for my sisters, too . . . It was around this time I came to realize a hard truth. Once your sisters begin looking up to you, as if you really could save them from being poisoned, as if you know a way out of a dark cave, there's no going back. You'll draw your last breath, trying to find that door to the Lost City of Enchantment, because you can't bear to let them down."Yet, even in the face of adversity, Teresa found beauty in the small moments: resting in the boughs of her favorite oak tree, savoring the freedom she found on her grandparents’ farm, and gleefully discovering the joys of dating and dancing. While Carola struggled for an exciting and satisfying life, Teresa faced adolescence and young adulthood, increasingly burdened by Carola's dysfunction. Finally, as the family splintered between colleges, homes, stepfathers, and their mother's disintegrating mental health, Teresa drove Carola to a mental hospital--where at last the mother of five found some peace and order.Upon leaving the hospital, sadly Carola continued in a downward spiral: more men, a drug addiction, a toddler son's death, and finally her own accidental overdose death in 1974. Though Carola's unhappy life meant Teresa's was marked by hardship and tragedy, Teresa found redemption in writing her mother's story and discovering empathy for the woman continually harmed by her own bad choices. The bonds of sisterhood helped sustain her, and today the girls are still close, still savoring the good in a childhood pocked with pain. Teresa, now a counselor and mother of a daughter, was able to conclude, after visiting her mom's grave and asking her blessing on the book, I believe joy and sorry rest together, the two sides of love. I have repeatedly uncovered places of joy inside my own heart tucked within the folds of sorrow.  With enormous skill and sensitivity, Teresa deftly explores the history she shared with Carola and the relentless love of a child for her mother.

30 review for Moonlight on Linoleum: A Daughter's Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    Had I not read The Glass Castle, I might have liked this better, but it felt like the same story with fewer interesting parts and poorer writing. The author said she told Sue Monk Kidd, her friend, that she wasn't sure the world needed another memoir. I sort of agree as this memoir wasn't different enough to warrant the writing of it. Like Jeannette Walls in The Glass Castle, Helwig doesn't give a poor me tone, which I like, but if you are going to pick up a memoir about family nomads and abuse, Had I not read The Glass Castle, I might have liked this better, but it felt like the same story with fewer interesting parts and poorer writing. The author said she told Sue Monk Kidd, her friend, that she wasn't sure the world needed another memoir. I sort of agree as this memoir wasn't different enough to warrant the writing of it. Like Jeannette Walls in The Glass Castle, Helwig doesn't give a poor me tone, which I like, but if you are going to pick up a memoir about family nomads and abuse, choose Walls' book instead. This just felt redundant.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Koren

    I loved this coming of age memoir about a mother-daughter relationship and the dysfunctional family. The mother is very unstable. She moves from relationship to relationship and town to town and takes her children with her. At times the daughter is the one holding the family together when the parents are unable. She seems to have more maturity in her grade school year than the parents. At times this was a tear-jerker when the mother would take the kids away from relatives that truly loved them. I loved this coming of age memoir about a mother-daughter relationship and the dysfunctional family. The mother is very unstable. She moves from relationship to relationship and town to town and takes her children with her. At times the daughter is the one holding the family together when the parents are unable. She seems to have more maturity in her grade school year than the parents. At times this was a tear-jerker when the mother would take the kids away from relatives that truly loved them. The author went to at least 12 schools in her 12 years of schooling. It always amazes me when people overcome traumatic childhoods. I loved the relationship she had with her sisters and how they came first no matter what. If you liked Jeannette Walls Glass Castles you will like this book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

    Welcome to the 50's.....Grandma and Grandpa taking care of children, Mom gone, only Dad. Doesn't sound like the 50's to me....sounds more like the way families are today. Moonlight on Linoleum is a nostalgic trip back to a life that should have been filled with stable families, but it had two sweet girls who were left with their father and grandparents in Iowa while Mama fulfilled dreams of her own. And…..Mama wasn't done fulfilling her dreams sisters arrived and more new schools. Mama like Welcome to the 50's.....Grandma and Grandpa taking care of children, Mom gone, only Dad. Doesn't sound like the 50's to me....sounds more like the way families are today. Moonlight on Linoleum is a nostalgic trip back to a life that should have been filled with stable families, but it had two sweet girls who were left with their father and grandparents in Iowa while Mama fulfilled dreams of her own. And…..Mama wasn't done fulfilling her dreams sisters arrived and more new schools. Mama liked to go out and leave Terry in charge. One year the girls were in their third school, but at least with this move they had a house to live in instead of a cramped apartment. That didn't last too long, though. They moved again, and Mama kept on with her antics and with Terry in charge of the girls. Wow...what an outstanding memoir. This memoir definitely held my interest and made me feel for the children and how they had to endure their childhood as always the new kid at school and not really a kid at home since they always had to do chores that were an adult's. It is hard to believe how resilient we are as children. This sentence stuck with me: "How was it possible that moonlight on linoleum, washed with my tears, could be so achingly beautiful?" Page 218 I shed and shared Terry’s tears as I read this incredible book. I have to call you marvelous, Terry. Being able to live like you did as a child and to turn out like you did is truly amazing. You are such a goodhearted person and such a good daughter and above all a WONDERFUL, loving sister.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Dnicebear

    Ms Helwig begins the story of abandonment with the experience of not being able to find her mother's grave. The stories of growing up with a mother whose main passion seemed to be visiting what she called "Timbuktu" instead of her home and motherhood--this story 'should' be made up but it is not. Thankfully the daughter has survived and contributes to the global family now as a counselor and activist. And, writer, because we get to live through the deceptions and the process of understanding and Ms Helwig begins the story of abandonment with the experience of not being able to find her mother's grave. The stories of growing up with a mother whose main passion seemed to be visiting what she called "Timbuktu" instead of her home and motherhood--this story 'should' be made up but it is not. Thankfully the daughter has survived and contributes to the global family now as a counselor and activist. And, writer, because we get to live through the deceptions and the process of understanding and forgiving Mama. As oldest girl in the family, Ms Helwig's main role becomes keeping the siblings together. "Besides my friend Michelle, nobody at school knew about my home life.... I didn't want to be set apart. So I split myself in two. I thought of myself as School Terry and Home Terry. School Terry was carefree and her worries small--like what she should do for her science project or whom she should sit beside at lunch. Home Terry was much older and more responsible; she kept the home fires burning, cooked and cleaned, and watched over the other girls when Mama was absent, trying to keep them safe, even when things didn't feel safe." (p. 171)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Brandy

    It has been a long time since I have read a memoir that captured my attention like Moonlight and Linoleum did. Sue Monk Kidd was correct when she said the world needed this book. Terry Helwig has a great voice and did a wonderful job making the reader understand the complexity of her family dynamics and the struggle between acceptance and disappointment. Reading her story I often forgot how young she and her sisters were. The struggles and every day life she and her sisters dealt with were so ad It has been a long time since I have read a memoir that captured my attention like Moonlight and Linoleum did. Sue Monk Kidd was correct when she said the world needed this book. Terry Helwig has a great voice and did a wonderful job making the reader understand the complexity of her family dynamics and the struggle between acceptance and disappointment. Reading her story I often forgot how young she and her sisters were. The struggles and every day life she and her sisters dealt with were so adult. They were forced to grow up yet were still just children. Her and her sisters are amazing. She tells how they adapted and allowed themselves to experience bits and pieces of childhood while facing the demands of a mother with her own demons. While this memoir could have been depressing and full of pity Terry does not evoke this out of the reader. Her attitude is so uplifting and you cheer her and her sisters on the whole book. Her life path was not easy but what an incredible woman appeared along the way!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Arlena

    Moonlight on Linoleum: A Daughter's Memoir Author: Terry Helwig Published by: Howard Books Age Recommend: 16+ Reviewed By: Arlena Dean Raven Rating: 5 Blog Review For: GMTA Review: Review: "Moonlight on Linoleum: A Daughter's Memoir by Terry Helwig was a indeed an interesting read. Terry really did a wonderful job in telling her story... not only of the bad times, but also the good ones too. The story is of Terry who was the the oldest and responsible and her relationship with her... sisters(5), cousin( Moonlight on Linoleum: A Daughter's Memoir Author: Terry Helwig Published by: Howard Books Age Recommend: 16+ Reviewed By: Arlena Dean Raven Rating: 5 Blog Review For: GMTA Review: Review: "Moonlight on Linoleum: A Daughter's Memoir by Terry Helwig was a indeed an interesting read. Terry really did a wonderful job in telling her story... not only of the bad times, but also the good ones too. The story is of Terry who was the the oldest and responsible and her relationship with her... sisters(5), cousin(1) whose mother was terminally ill from cirrhosis of the liver, her mom (Carole Jean), dad (Daddy Davy..stepfather) his parents, ....her biological father from Iowa.... his mom, dad ...his wife Cathy and son Lanny, and his sister (Aunt Betty). Carola Jean had been a teen bride and the most important thing was that Carole Jean was concerned only for how she was living and not caring enough to take care of her children. Carole Jean left this mainly to her daughter, Terry! Carole Jean made the list and it was Terry's job to see that it was done.. This was indeed a dysfunctional family. Terry was the one that kept things going as they should, cooking and cleaning... ironing and watching over the girls to keep them safe. Terry was definitely the mother figure. When Terry would ask about her natural father from Iowa her mom told her that she could look him up when she was 18. The reason behind this was that Carole Jean thought since he sent no support he should not have any dealings with his daughters (Terry and Vickie). However, they would have some dealing with the Aunt Betty as long as her brother was notinvolved. Later Terry found out that her baby bother Lanny at 11 had cancer. I can say at this point I believe Carole Jean suffered from bipolar and that a lot of the time she was simply out of control. This family was noted from moving from place to place due to the fact that Terry's stepfather, Davy who worked from a oil rigging job that kept him on the move and he wanted to keep the family together. Davy was indeed a good person for he loved and showed it to this family. Terry accepted the love of her stepfather. Terry loved school even though she was from everywhere and nowhere.... Terry attended twelve schools in eleven years and she did graduate. All of this while Terry still managed to take care of herself, her sisters and even at times her mom. Terry was able to triumph over all of the pain and through all of this she not only loved her sisters but also her mom. Still trying to help her mom while Carole Jean is in the hospital supposing getting help from her suicide attempt... Carole Jean quietly leaves the Colorado State Hospital and doesn't come for the girls until Terry insist she comes and gets Joni and Brenda. Carole Jean married twice more and had another child, a son named Jodie. Definitely Carole Jean had problems that in the end through prescription abuse and the death of her son Jodie(2), her toddler overdosed on her sleeping pills and later died of pneumonia that lead to her suicide attempts and her death in 1974 from accidental drug overdose. Now.... The Sisters: Nancy, Vicki, Patricia, Brenda, Joni and Terry all live in four different states are still very close and doing well. They have a reunion every year with their children. In the end of the story Terry goes to her Mom's grave to ask for her blessing on the book "Moonlight on Linoleum." Letting her know things like Terry going to Africa. This was one thing she wanted to do. There was a lots of "Remember When" with the sisters ... and we learn that later Terry and Vickie's father from Iowa took his life. Terry had written this book for her shelf and her mom. I enjoyed the "Moonlight on Linoleum: a Daughter's Memoir" and I would definitely recommend it as a excellent read. Back to Top Logged Read more: http://www.greatmindsthinkaloud.probo...

  7. 5 out of 5

    EZRead eBookstore

    Sue Monk Kidd may have phrased it best in the foreword when she said the mother is someone that the reader would want to “rage at one moment and hug the next.” Though the book is Helwig’s memoir, in reality, the story is very much about her mother. The maternal love exhibited from a mother who can give the last bit of food to a homeless man, or who willingly cares for someone else’s child who has no one else, is both selfless and generous. Yet, her persistence in sleeping around, ordering her chi Sue Monk Kidd may have phrased it best in the foreword when she said the mother is someone that the reader would want to “rage at one moment and hug the next.” Though the book is Helwig’s memoir, in reality, the story is very much about her mother. The maternal love exhibited from a mother who can give the last bit of food to a homeless man, or who willingly cares for someone else’s child who has no one else, is both selfless and generous. Yet, her persistence in sleeping around, ordering her children to do housework, and abandoning her own daughters for the sake of her own good times are actions so beyond selfish that another word should be invented solely for Carola Jean. I was so angry I could have spit, moistening the pages of my precious book. Six beautiful girls who were loving, trustworthy, and obedient weren’t enough for that mother. Devoted, hardworking husbands (yes, that was plural) weren’t enough for her. So, what would have been? Nothing, it seems. There often comes a point in life when the children take care of the parents, but that shouldn’t come when a child is still a child. As the eldest, Helwig shows she is a trooper, by taking her mother’s orders and dispersing them between herself and her sisters. This story seems like one of survival and devotion. Helwig survives the ups and downs, back and forth, touch your nose and spin around life that her mother provided her. But, through it all, Helwig remains devoted to her siblings, fathers, and even her mother. If you don’t have a tissue box handy, the pages of your book or eReader will suffer the consequences. But, don’t worry, the intrigue and adventure balance the heart-wringing moments enough that I would like to wager this book becomes a best-seller in no time. - EZRead Staffer, Amelia Watch the review on video: http://vimeo.com/28015234

  8. 5 out of 5

    Doreen

    As a member of ELLE Magazine's Non-Fiction Juror's Prize panel, I've read more memoirs in the past few years than I'd undertake on my own, so when Terry Helwig posits in Sue Monk Kidd's forward to this book, "[D]oes the world really need another memoir?" I found myself wearily nodding along. But Ms Helwig has written a very honest and touching account of growing up with an unstable, selfish mother, while trying to look out for her five younger sisters. For that alone, this book is a welcome addi As a member of ELLE Magazine's Non-Fiction Juror's Prize panel, I've read more memoirs in the past few years than I'd undertake on my own, so when Terry Helwig posits in Sue Monk Kidd's forward to this book, "[D]oes the world really need another memoir?" I found myself wearily nodding along. But Ms Helwig has written a very honest and touching account of growing up with an unstable, selfish mother, while trying to look out for her five younger sisters. For that alone, this book is a welcome addition to the genre. Ms Helwig is fair in her portrayal of the people who raised and influenced her, making her mother's eventual descent all the more alarming. And that, I think, is why I rated the book only 3 stars. The problem with judging memoirs is that a lot depends on whether you like or understand the actions of the author, and while I was very sympathetic to her trials, I just couldn't agree with the choice she made at the end. I understood that she needed to put herself first for a change, but the depiction of Carola Jean's continuing degradation made it unfathomable for me that someone who'd been as responsible as Ms Helwig had been for so long could so easily persuade herself that she was doing the right thing. (view spoiler)[ I mean, leave the kids with Davy, by all means, but Carola Jean was clearly in no position to raise them. (hide spoiler)] I was actually kinda horrified. And then the book ends without explaining the inevitable aftermath. I suppose it's fair to say that Ms Helwig was only talking about her own feelings and experiences, but I really want to know how her sisters felt about the next six years. A decent book, overall, but a coda would've helped, in my opinion. I received this book gratis as part of ELLE Magazine's ELLE's Lettres Jurors' Prize program.

  9. 5 out of 5

    McGuffy Morris

    Terry Helwig has a beautiful way with words. She is a gifted author, but also a special person. In her very touching memoir, Terry shares her story of growing up with a mother who is bipolar, and very often seemingly out of control. Terry never gave up on herself, life, or even her mother. The oldest in of a household of six girls (one of which was actually a cousin); Terry was the mother-figure. At times she had to be mother to her own mother, Carola Jean. Growing up in the 1950s-1960s, her early Terry Helwig has a beautiful way with words. She is a gifted author, but also a special person. In her very touching memoir, Terry shares her story of growing up with a mother who is bipolar, and very often seemingly out of control. Terry never gave up on herself, life, or even her mother. The oldest in of a household of six girls (one of which was actually a cousin); Terry was the mother-figure. At times she had to be mother to her own mother, Carola Jean. Growing up in the 1950s-1960s, her early family memories were of her time with her biological father and paternal grandparents. This carried Terry through many later situations. The farm life and closeness of family were of stability and security. Terry remembered these things. Yet even then, Carola Jean's absence was obvious and painful for the little Terry. The sense of abandonment was difficult. When Carola Jean came back for Terry and her little sister, it was to go back to the Southwestern area of the States. This meant a transient life with stepfather Davy, and new baby sisters regularly. Terry persevered as the big sister and Carola Jean's biggest supporter. Terry's stepfather, Davy, never gave up on Carola Jean either. Forced to move from place to place with his oil rigging job, he remained a constant for Carola Jean and his family. Purchasing a mobile home, Davy moved his family with him. He was determined to keep them all together, providing the best home that he could. During her childhood and into her teens, Terry attended 12 schools in 11 years while still managing to keep herself and her sisters together. I love Terry's bravery and resilience. Her memoir is filled with compassion and acceptance, and consequently, forgiveness.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is the story of growing up with a very unstable mother. Terry is the oldest of her mother's daughters, born when her mother was 15. Terry became the caretaker of her 5 younger sisters. Her mother's niece also joins the family later on. Were it not for the loving fathers I'm not sure the girls would have fared as well. The father of the older girls loves them very much even though the mother cut him out of their lives when they were fairly young. The man they called Daddy was the stepfather This is the story of growing up with a very unstable mother. Terry is the oldest of her mother's daughters, born when her mother was 15. Terry became the caretaker of her 5 younger sisters. Her mother's niece also joins the family later on. Were it not for the loving fathers I'm not sure the girls would have fared as well. The father of the older girls loves them very much even though the mother cut him out of their lives when they were fairly young. The man they called Daddy was the stepfather of the older sisters but was every bit as loving as their bio father. He worked in the oil fields however and so was frequently gone during the week. The job necessitated frequent moves. By the time Terry graduated from high school she had attended12 different schools in several states. Terry grows up being the mother more than her mother is. Despite the mother's alcoholism, drug addiction, and having a never ending supply of boyfriends she is loved by her daughters and her 2nd husband, whom she divorced and remarried several times. In the end their love wasn't enough to save her. This memoir reminded me of The Glass Castle. The main difference was the children in the Glass Castle had parents who remained married but both parents were mentally ill. I think they probably had to overcome more to come out healthy and functional. Both books made me glad I had the parents I did.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    Helwig writes a compelling memoir detailing her memories of her childhood. Helwig provides as much objectivity as a writer could give as a first person writing about her own childhood. Admirably, she does not paint herself as a victim nor does she write any of the characters as two dimensional. The author's mother was chemically dependent and unfaithful to the end. She neglected her children and household responsibilities. On the other hand, she was tender and loving at times and clearly gave th Helwig writes a compelling memoir detailing her memories of her childhood. Helwig provides as much objectivity as a writer could give as a first person writing about her own childhood. Admirably, she does not paint herself as a victim nor does she write any of the characters as two dimensional. The author's mother was chemically dependent and unfaithful to the end. She neglected her children and household responsibilities. On the other hand, she was tender and loving at times and clearly gave the best she had to give. At the same time, Helwig describes other meaningful adults from her childhood; her biological father, her stepfather who did not differentiate between his biological children and adopted children, and her grandparents of both fathers. Also included is an affair and another husband. Again, Helwig successfully separates herself enough to give a fair characterization of the people that impacted and shaped her. Even her biological father's second wife, Cathy, who was ill-prepared to be a mother to the stepchildren, had both cruel and admirable moments. The writing is beautiful. The chapters are cohesive and stick to a theme while describing each stage of life. Ultimately, the reader comes away feeling empathy for all of the players in this book. And uplifted.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Books to the Sky

    See more reviews at www.bookstothesky.com 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 See more reviews at www.bookstothesky.com 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.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sheryl

    I loved this book! It was such a honest account of a young girl who had to grow way too fast. I really admire the way Ms. Helwig takes you through her heartbreaking account of growing up with a very dysfunctional mother. Her mother grew up way too fast as well. She was under seventeen when she had Ms. Helwig. I found it very inspiring the way she chose her younger sister's over herself. It would have been so hard not to have just given up and taken a easier road. But, she stuck it out and has a I loved this book! It was such a honest account of a young girl who had to grow way too fast. I really admire the way Ms. Helwig takes you through her heartbreaking account of growing up with a very dysfunctional mother. Her mother grew up way too fast as well. She was under seventeen when she had Ms. Helwig. I found it very inspiring the way she chose her younger sister's over herself. It would have been so hard not to have just given up and taken a easier road. But, she stuck it out and has a heart of gold. I admire the fact that she loved her mother regardless of what heartache she caused. This is a true fact that forgiveness and love will carry you through the toughest of childhoods.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Huether

    Moonlight on Linoleum: A Daughters Memoir...by Terry Helwig...It took a lot of courage for Terry to write about her childhood. I hope it was a healing process for her. Her mother married young and had children soon after, all girls. Terry saw her mothers lifestyle was not like other mothers. She liked to go drinking and entertained many men, as Terry observed. Terry's mother divorced one man and found another, so there was one mother and two fathers for all five girls.. A niece came to live with Moonlight on Linoleum: A Daughters Memoir...by Terry Helwig...It took a lot of courage for Terry to write about her childhood. I hope it was a healing process for her. Her mother married young and had children soon after, all girls. Terry saw her mothers lifestyle was not like other mothers. She liked to go drinking and entertained many men, as Terry observed. Terry's mother divorced one man and found another, so there was one mother and two fathers for all five girls.. A niece came to live with them as well. As Terry got older she cared for the younger ones, cleaned and cooked the meals, while her mother was not at home. Terry adjusted well in school for having to move twelve times during her school years. This book shows Terry's undying love for her mother and her sisters.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Boyne Travis

    It's heartwarming to read a tale of poverty and hardship where people come out on top - family helps family and children don't blame their parents for what they've endured. This story echoes with the tales I've heard from my parents - about people they knew growing up in the 40's and 50's. Life was hard but people endured and survived - they didn't give up and stick out a hand for free money or government handout; they didn't give in to drink or drugs; they persevered and worked hard. Good lesso It's heartwarming to read a tale of poverty and hardship where people come out on top - family helps family and children don't blame their parents for what they've endured. This story echoes with the tales I've heard from my parents - about people they knew growing up in the 40's and 50's. Life was hard but people endured and survived - they didn't give up and stick out a hand for free money or government handout; they didn't give in to drink or drugs; they persevered and worked hard. Good lesson.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I really really liked this book. There were many parts of the story that reminded me so very much of stories that my mom, aunts, and uncles have told me about their childhood growing up in a house with alcoholic parents in the 50s and 60s. I plan on recommending it them at the next family gathering. When I was little, my mom also told me she had to taste my shakes and French fries to make sure they were good enough to eat, just like Terry told her sisters. **extra cool fact*** Terry's daughter a I really really liked this book. There were many parts of the story that reminded me so very much of stories that my mom, aunts, and uncles have told me about their childhood growing up in a house with alcoholic parents in the 50s and 60s. I plan on recommending it them at the next family gathering. When I was little, my mom also told me she had to taste my shakes and French fries to make sure they were good enough to eat, just like Terry told her sisters. **extra cool fact*** Terry's daughter and I share the same first and same middle name.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Brooke

    Beautifully written memoir written by Terry Helwig. It's unbelievable when you think about how much pain both physically and emotionally children can go through and still turn out "okay". Terry credits her daddy for being the glue that held the family together for so long, I also thinks she deserves a great deal of that credit too.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Dodey

    Depressing, and I'm not sure why, but something just didn't ring true to my ears. What 10 year old thinks in terms of greek gods and goddesses. Might have been more interesting if she hadn't been trying so hard to make her mother look good. I can understand how an adult might think that way in hindsight, but not a child.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    Wow. This book left a load of sadness on my heart. Terry was born to a 15 year old mother, so the fact that there were difficulties in their lives is not hard to comprehend. The story is told with unflinching honesty and with more humor than most of us could muster under the circumstances. If you love troubled memoirs, then you will love Terry and her family and cheer for her and her sisters at overcoming their difficult childhoods. I would recommend this book to all who love memoirs.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Narma

    “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 “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 she was pregnant once again with baby Joni entering the world. Five girls are a handful enough for any household but soon they found out there would be six. Eunice was gravely ill and her Daughter Nancy (a tad bit older than Terry), would be residing with them and “adopted” as a “Special Sister”. You’ll shake your head in disbelief as you make the journey to adulthood with Terry and her Sisters. You’ll want to shake some sense into Jean and hug the girls tightly, reassuring them that their nightmares will end. Heart-wrenching…Tear-jerking…Reaches down deep inside you as you experience the pain everyone endured. Terry, I applaud your courage and the love you had and continue to share with your family. This book has touched me deeply, and I’m sure many will be able to identify with your life. Lifting a phantom chocolate malt up high—I salute you and hope we will be reading more of your work in the future. Thank-you for sharing. NancyNarma

  21. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Posted on Book Chelle. When I read the synopsis, I was drawn to the story. A lot of women I know do not have easy relationships with their mothers. Naturally, I wanted to know how Helwig's own relationship with her mother differed from min. I read the forward from Kidd and was even more intrigued. And then, I read the the prologue and my heart broke. She had me during those few pages. In Moonlight Linoleum, Helwig writes an emotional memoir that details her childhood. Helwig did not just recount t Posted on Book Chelle. When I read the synopsis, I was drawn to the story. A lot of women I know do not have easy relationships with their mothers. Naturally, I wanted to know how Helwig's own relationship with her mother differed from min. I read the forward from Kidd and was even more intrigued. And then, I read the the prologue and my heart broke. She had me during those few pages. In Moonlight Linoleum, Helwig writes an emotional memoir that details her childhood. Helwig did not just recount the events that took place in her life. Instead, she beautifully wrote the story of her childhood, filled with description and detail that I couldn't believe it was real. Her story-telling abilities are so amazing that you are captivated by each memory that fills each page. With these memories, Helwig presents a life that is filled with sad and unfortunate events. Her life has become a story of strength, overcoming every obstacle that has been thrown her way. She has had to mature earlier than she has ever needed to be. Helwig's mother is Carola Jean Vacha, a young teen who wanted to escape her own family and life. She married young, lying about her age to assure escape, and quickly had Helwig. After a short while, Carola left her husband, taking her baby to find a better and brighter life. Unfortunately, that is not the story for Carola, or for Helwig. The story continues moving from one city to another, adding children and husbands, one by one, with the dream of something more. The intimacy of detail that Helwig includes has only intensified the impact that Moonlight on Linoleum has had on me. Abuse, depression, and infidelity is only a few of what Helwig has had to endure throughout her childhood, and all while being the responsible one for her six sisters. But this book wasn't just filled with sorrow and sadness. Helwig has a lot of love that she shares. While her mother was not the ideal parent, Helwig wholeheartedly loved her mother. If that isn't a perfect example of unconditional love, then I don't know what is. Helwig loved her mother, for what I think is the idea of who she could be. Helwig also loved her sisters like no one else. She realized the unrealistic situations and sometimes became the parent that they only had. Helwig also loved a man she called Daddy. Daddy Davy was Carola's second husband, and was the only man that played a constant in her life. My heart broke for him. He loved and wore his heart on his sleeve. While he was content on being naive and in denial, I don't think he deserved what was done to him. Moonlight on Linoleum is painfully reflective yet ultimately hopeful. Helwig is a fantastic story-teller and wrote this sad tale impeccably. This was a story told through the eyes of a young, little girl who believed in family and togetherness. She conquered physical and emotional pain and clearly thrives. It is clear that the hope of Helwig will lead to a happy ending, not just for Helwig, but for the reader as well.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Donia

    A good book and I loved that the children worked together to remain resilient. A good book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Terri

    I judged this book by its cover; it is a beautifully rendered silhouette of a girl on a swing in the soft blue light of evening. That and I liked the title. And then I went ahead and pushed "purchase" on Amazon it so intrigued me. Terry and her four sisters and one cousin- six girls live with their mama and daddy. Thing is, daddy is not Terry and Vicki's biological dad but loves them and the other four very much. Mama, Carola, first married at fourteen and got kind of tired of the one man she mar I judged this book by its cover; it is a beautifully rendered silhouette of a girl on a swing in the soft blue light of evening. That and I liked the title. And then I went ahead and pushed "purchase" on Amazon it so intrigued me. Terry and her four sisters and one cousin- six girls live with their mama and daddy. Thing is, daddy is not Terry and Vicki's biological dad but loves them and the other four very much. Mama, Carola, first married at fourteen and got kind of tired of the one man she married and started messing around with others. The second husband in her life, Davy, loved Carola Jean and her daughters so much that for years and years he was willing to overlook her running around... and getting pregnant with other men's children. Terry Helwig led a very nomadic life almost never finishing the school year in the same school. The bond she and her sisters built amongst themselves was strong, loving and faithful. So, the three stars? Well, as I read it seemed that Helwig was trying too much to write for the sisters who would read this book; it seemed she wrote always with them looking over her shoulder. When she wrote with honesty about a sister and an event she would quickly make amends for any traitorous recording of events. For example, when mama threatens to take Vicki and Nancy to a convent, Terry just simply doesn't want to join in the fray and did not; which is just fine; but Helwig then feels the necessity to justify not standing by Nancy and Vicki in their altercation, "Vicki, Nancy and I had been on the front lines together, taking care of the house and Patricia, Brenda, and Joni. Had I deserted them? Was I a coward for wanting to stay?" I think Helwig herself sums up the problem with the writing, "You'll draw your last breath trying to find that door to the Lost City of Enchantment, because you can't bear to let them down." There are two ways a writer can go when those being written about still live: everything is allowed because it's the truth, or paralysis because of what those being written about might think. Helwig errs on the side of paralysis. It is a very noble cause but for it the story falls a little flat.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Abuse and neglect, goodness and happiness, all intertwine into a story of courage. As I read this book, I was drawn into Helwig's personal account of her childhood, of her personal struggles in dealing with her unconventional, dysfunctional family. But, instead of reading a bitter memoir, she writes with empathy and understanding, love and devotion to her family. I liked the pictures that gave a personal touch. I smiled as I read cute little stories of her and her sisters' ironing parties. I felt Abuse and neglect, goodness and happiness, all intertwine into a story of courage. As I read this book, I was drawn into Helwig's personal account of her childhood, of her personal struggles in dealing with her unconventional, dysfunctional family. But, instead of reading a bitter memoir, she writes with empathy and understanding, love and devotion to her family. I liked the pictures that gave a personal touch. I smiled as I read cute little stories of her and her sisters' ironing parties. I felt sad for her when she had to step up so many times to be the leader of the household at far too young of an age. But, in the end, I was proud of her and her sisters for not only enduring the hardships, but for rising above their circumstances and for building lasting relationships. I don't think you can read this book without thinking of the ghosts from your own childhood. That's probably why this book was a little hard for me to read. I would recommend this book to others that like to read memoirs. Here are errors that I noticed when I read: Page 17: "One could not notice him without also nothing his muscled and lean physique shaped by the hard labor or working on a drilling rig." Nothing should be noting. Page 18: "light colored bat" should be hat. Page 60: "I wondered if the boy has meant I was a good detective..." Has should be had. Page 61: "something as slowly as a cockroach" Slowly should be lowly. Page 85: Ford should be capitalized, it is written in lower case (sorry to be picky) Page 89: "Eunice Mama said, had been blamed for causing their father's death." Punctuation is not correct. There should be a comma after Eunice. Page 109: "book up the trailer hitch" should be hook. Page 125: "But the incident did revealed his lack of understanding..." Revealed should be reveal. Page 140: "I was greeted with a warm hugs from both Janet and her mom." Delete the a in front of warm hugs. Page 164: "If Joni or Brenda did stepped on a sandbur..." Stepped should be step, or eliminate the word did. I hope these errors have been fixed already, or that they can be fixed before the official printing.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    In Moonlight on Linoleum, Terry Hilwig has written an emotionally charged story of a daughter forced to grow up before her time and become responsible for an entire family when she couldn’t count on her own mother to do so. Rather than writing her story with self-indulgence and a heavy dose of blame, she manages to tell her story, her mother’s story and her family’s story with love and acceptance. This combined with excellent writing made the book a joy to read. Carola Jean married young in an a In Moonlight on Linoleum, Terry Hilwig has written an emotionally charged story of a daughter forced to grow up before her time and become responsible for an entire family when she couldn’t count on her own mother to do so. Rather than writing her story with self-indulgence and a heavy dose of blame, she manages to tell her story, her mother’s story and her family’s story with love and acceptance. This combined with excellent writing made the book a joy to read. Carola Jean married young in an attempt to escape her unhappy life. Shortly after, she had Terry. Eventually she left her first husband and searched for a better life with Terry. More husbands, more children and lots more destructive behavior later, Carola never seems to find her happy ending. Because of Carola’s shortcomings as a mother, Terry is forced to grow up very quickly. She becomes a mother figure to her many sisters and the love she has for them is amazing to read about. It’s also heartwarming to read of the love she has for the man she calls “daddy”. “Daddy” is not her biological father, but the stepfather who she adores and who cares for her and her sisters as if they were his own. Unfortunately “daddy” is a seismographic driller for oil and his work takes him away most of the time, leaving Terry to deal with the troubles at home by herself. Although Moonlight on Linoleum deals with a great deal of painful subjects, the amount of love that Helwig has for her family shines through and this book never once felt like a "woe is me" journey. It was refreshing to read a memoir that was straightforward and honest but not self-indulgent. I never expected to feel uplifted after reading this book, but I truly did. I’m honestly glad that Moonlight on Linoleum was written and I would recommend it. First published on http://pagesofgold.blogspot.com

  26. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    Moonlight on Linoleum by Terry Helwig and published by Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster. If you love a good story about dysfunctional families - then stop what you are doing and read this story!! You will NOT be disappointed. You WILL be amazed at the obstacles these children overcame, the tenacity of the eldest child Terry (the author), and the blatant selfishness of their mother. Helwig's description and story-telling is so beautifully written you may have trouble remembering that Moonlight on Linoleum by Terry Helwig and published by Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster. If you love a good story about dysfunctional families - then stop what you are doing and read this story!! You will NOT be disappointed. You WILL be amazed at the obstacles these children overcame, the tenacity of the eldest child Terry (the author), and the blatant selfishness of their mother. Helwig's description and story-telling is so beautifully written you may have trouble remembering that this actually happened - that Helwig most likely had to conjure up buried memories of her childhood that were very hard and difficult. The story starts out by Helwig's mother, Carola Jean Vacha, telling Helwig that she left her father so that Carola wouldn't kill him. Thus begins the life that Helwig has so graciously shared for us to read about. Her mother, luckily, doesn't murder their father, but does instead gets a divorce and moves out west to Colorado. There Carola meets her second husband in which she has another child, Patricia. The story continues on, with more babies, more husbands, and always moving to another location. Helwig talks of her mom's rendezvous with many men and her addiction to pain killers. Helwig's devotion to her sisters are shown throughout as well as her dedication. Helwig might not think of herself as the mother, but throughout the story, we see her taking more control of the family. I give this story 4.5 stars. Thanks to www.netgalley.com, Simon and Schuster, and Terry Helwig. http://orangehighheels.blogspot.com/2...

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sara Kovach

    What a compelling and heart-tugging story that Terry Helwig tells of her childhood!! She allows us a glimpse into her tumultuous life. She is raised in a dysfunctional family, with a troubled mother, who moves them around more often than not, wherever and whenever it provides her with some gain. She basically raises her many sisters in the homes of her various fathers and/or grandparents. As opposed to many memoirs, I found Helwig's writing to be very refreshing and honest. Although her life is What a compelling and heart-tugging story that Terry Helwig tells of her childhood!! She allows us a glimpse into her tumultuous life. She is raised in a dysfunctional family, with a troubled mother, who moves them around more often than not, wherever and whenever it provides her with some gain. She basically raises her many sisters in the homes of her various fathers and/or grandparents. As opposed to many memoirs, I found Helwig's writing to be very refreshing and honest. Although her life is a roller-coaster, she tells it as it happens, and does not paint her self the victim. She writes her story as a way of showing how her childhood made her who she is. She triumphed and did not let everything overtake her, rather it allowed her to grow and become strong because of it. She introduced us to those that made an impact on her life. Although her mother caused much of the struggle in her life, rather than resent her, she painted a picture of a child who loved her mother very much. As a teacher, I am very happy that I had the opportunity to read this book. Many times, we have students moving in and out, often not considering what they are going through. The story Terry Helwig shared of changing schools almost yearly, and sometimes a few times a year, opened my eyes to the possible needs of such students. I want to commend Helwig for the strength it had to take to write such an emotionally charged memoir. Thank you so much for sharing your story!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Aubrey

    I won this book on Goodreads; it is an ARC and comes out on October 4th. I entered in for it because I have a love for memoirs. I'm fascinated by others who lived such different lives, oftentimes more troubling and requiring them to grow up sooner. This book was very reminiscent of The Glass Castle. Granted, it was a different story but there was substance abuse, which they both had in common. Yet what they really had in common was that the author had to grow up quickly, had to take care of the I won this book on Goodreads; it is an ARC and comes out on October 4th. I entered in for it because I have a love for memoirs. I'm fascinated by others who lived such different lives, oftentimes more troubling and requiring them to grow up sooner. This book was very reminiscent of The Glass Castle. Granted, it was a different story but there was substance abuse, which they both had in common. Yet what they really had in common was that the author had to grow up quickly, had to take care of the family, but more importantly saw the good in the bad. And boy oh boy did I think I lived in a lot of places. Terry's got me beat when every chapter is a new place. She has a great writing style too, where she was able to write in the mind of the age she was in. I felt like I was reading it from the perspective of her respective age at that time. That is good writing, to be able to adapt the writing to the age. I'll admit, I almost gave it a five. I give things a five if I loved them because four is "really liked" and so I figure a five really represents "loved it." It was great writing but wasn't a page turner. I fell in love with the ending when it just came full circle and made you really absorb what you read but overall I really liked it. What a service she did for her mom, for herself, and her sisters.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    Reading the synopsis of this book, I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know if it would be a memoir with Terry complaining about her childhood or one that was constantly putting a positive spin on things. Fortunately, Terry Helwig does neither. She presents her story: a daughter who is the caregiver with a troubled mother as the matriarch of the family. Hearing Terry tell her story is incredible, not only because of what happened, but how she writes about it. She does it with feeling, but it' Reading the synopsis of this book, I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know if it would be a memoir with Terry complaining about her childhood or one that was constantly putting a positive spin on things. Fortunately, Terry Helwig does neither. She presents her story: a daughter who is the caregiver with a troubled mother as the matriarch of the family. Hearing Terry tell her story is incredible, not only because of what happened, but how she writes about it. She does it with feeling, but it's neither whining or uplifting. She presents the events as they happened, as she remembers it. She does so with such fluidity that it almost seems as if this is a police report. There is little feeling there, but there is a complete picture of what happened. I loved that Terry didn't turn it into a pity party. I did feel bad, but Terry did not make me feel that way. She leaves it up to the reader to decide whether the situations were sad or not. Terry Helwig's writing is superb and she tells her story with such clarity. Reading about her experience left me so grateful for my family and the way that I was raised. It would have been so easy for Terry to abandon her sisters to start her own life, but she made sure that they always kept in touch and were a part of each other's lives. If you enjoy memoirs such as The Glass Castle, then you will love this book. It's a moving story about a young girl's life and the bond between sisters, even when seperated by thousands of miles.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    When someone tries to tell you they had a crappy childhood, implore them to read this book and they may change their perspective. Terry and her sisters had a different life then Christina and her brother in 'Mommy Dearest'. It seems that in Moonlight on Linoleum, the mother's biggest crime was that she wasn't there. Carola Jean Simmonds started having babies at 14 and they just kept coming. Terry, lucky enough to be born first, became the 'mother' at a very young age. My feelings about this book When someone tries to tell you they had a crappy childhood, implore them to read this book and they may change their perspective. Terry and her sisters had a different life then Christina and her brother in 'Mommy Dearest'. It seems that in Moonlight on Linoleum, the mother's biggest crime was that she wasn't there. Carola Jean Simmonds started having babies at 14 and they just kept coming. Terry, lucky enough to be born first, became the 'mother' at a very young age. My feelings about this book differ. I did enjoy the book. It wasn't written badly, but it seemed very 'surface'. Like she was just there to tell the facts and nothing more. Yes, Terry does point out some of her disappointments, but for the most part it took you through a series of events step-by-step. I am amazed that the girls turned out to be productive members of society (although I guess I'm assuming here. Terry did, obviously). The one thing that Terry and her sisters can be thankful for is that her real father's family, her stepfather and their family and many of the other people Terry had encounters with were supportive and caring. It's a wonder how some people come out of a situation like that and are destined to relive the life of their parent in almost every way, and others can find their way out and be free. Congratulations, Terry.

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