When Andrea Jarrell was a girl, her mother often told her of their escape from Jarrell’s dangerous, cunning father as if it was a bedtime story. In this real-life Gilmore Girls story, mother and daughter develop an unusual bond, complicated by a cautionary tale of sexual desire and betrayal. Once grown, Jarrell thinks she’s put that chapter of her life behind her–until a woman she knows is murdered, and she suddenly sees how her mother’s captivating story has also held her captive, influencing her choices in lovers and friends. Set in motion by this murder, Jarrell’s compact memoir is about the difficulty that daughters have separating from–while still honoring–their mothers, and about the perils of breaking the hereditary cycle of addiction. It’s also about Jarrell’s quest to make a successful marriage and family of her own–a journey first chronicled in her “Modern Love” essay for The New York Times. Without preaching or prescribing, I’m the One Who Got Away is a life-affirming story of having the courage to become both safe enough and vulnerable enough to love and be loved.
Today’s post is a BookSparks Blog Tour book, I’m the One Who Got Away: A Memoir by Andrea Jarrell. I’m always partial to a great memoir, and this book definitely fit the bill!
I wasn’t’ quite sure how to start this post, and then I saw someone else post a quote right from the book and I thought “that’s perfect”! Forgive me for copying someone else’s idea, but this will get the story going:
“The first time I saw him on television, I was seven. My mother and I were living in a little apartment near UCLA. During a commercial on Marcus Welby, M.D., she whispered, It’s Nick.”
I’m the One who Got Away starts off with readers learning about a woman who is murdered. This woman is someone known by the writer, Andrea Jarrell, from a distance. She’s not the kind of woman that Andrea surrounds herself with, because she tries to hang with the ladies who are married, who are mothers who know the “right way” to raise their children, and who handle motherhood with ease – those stereotypical families that are stable and solid and don’t show any signs of being anything like the scenario of Andrea’s childhood. No single mothers with abusive fathers for her inner circle.
Andrea was never certain about the details of her mother leaving her father because she was too young. What she did know about Nick was that he was an actor who had a bit of legit success and rubbed elbows with the famous celebrities. Andrea’s mother couldn’t take the demands of her father’s abuse, his controlling and accusing behavior, but at the same time, she was drawn to his seductive nature. Regardless of her attraction, she leaves him. For years, it’s just Andrea and her mother and they struggle through some lean times while at the same time, Andrea’s mother is able to save money to take Andrea on planned trips to Europe and other distant travels.
While Andrea’s mom does date, she doesn’t let it get in the way of being a mother. She’s a hard working woman that isn’t waiting for a man to rescue them. About the time Andrea is entering her teens, her father comes back into the picture. He works his way into trying to form a relationship with Andrea and because she’s so desperate for his love, she tries to connect. Unfortunately, the fatherly love she so desperately seeks is not to be given to Andrea.
This is a story about a girl who spent the majority of her life with her mom – her single mom – without the abuse of her father, only to have him enter her life later. Andrea finally comes to understand and know who her father really is – the real abuser her mother fled those many years earlier.
The story is well written and a quick read. A perfect book to take on a short flight, or a trip to the beach. I read it cover to cover in one sitting.
I received a complimentary trade paperback copy of this book as part of the BookSparks Blog Tour! Thanks so much BookSparks!!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
My personal essays have appeared in The New York Times “Modern Love” column; The Washington Post; The New York Times “Motherlode” blog; Narrative Magazine; Brevity Blog; Brain, Child Magazine; Full Grown People; Memoir Journal; Literary Mama; The Huffington Post; Role Reboot; The Mid; Mamalode; The Manifest-Station; Washingtonian Magazine; Cleaver Magazine; Creative Nonfiction’s “Tiny Truths,” and several anthologies.
I write mostly about love and relationships; marriage, parenting and family; and life in recovery (from eating disorders and as the loved one of alcoholics). I have been a daily yoga practitioner for over a decade and yoga sometimes finds its way into my work. I am also a lifelong traveler – place and being a stranger in a strange land are also favorite topics.
I earned my BA in literature at Scripps College in Claremont, California and my MFA in creative writing and literature at Bennington College. I am also an alumna of the Hedgebrook writers’ colony and a recipient of a Martin Dibner Writing Fellowship.