Tuesday, June 10, 2008

by Laura M. Flynn

As a child Laura Flynn had quite an imagination. She and her two sisters would play with their Little Women dolls creating adventures that would take them far away from reality.
They had to because of their mother. Sally Flynn, once a strong, vibrant woman, started to become unhinged. She analyzed dreams for messages, had rules about what her daughters should wear (she made them hideous clothing), told them what they could eat (Hunt's tomato paste, yes; Del Monte, no), forced them to stay inside, cut off from other people.
The living conditions deteriorated with mail piling up, dirty dishes covering the sink, rotten fruit sitting out, circled by flies.
The girls knew that she was sick, but didn't know that there was a technical name for the illness. Their father told them after he filed for divorce and fought for full custody: paranoid schizophrenia.
Swallow the Ocean is a captivating memoir that hits you right in the gut. The writing is absolutely beautiful.
Highly recommended.