A sweeping exploration of beginnings and endings, loss and letting go, All the Ghosts Dance Free takes readers on a journey through author Terry Cameron Baldwin’s life: from her childhood in a privileged but unstable enclave on the coast of Southern California, through her adolescence in Palm Springs and coming of age in San Francisco at the height of the sixties psychedelic revolution, and ultimately to her life as an ex-pat in Mexico. Struggling to deal with the death of her parents, as well as questions about her own mortality, Baldwin embarks upon a pilgrimage to a small town in Morocco―where, she finds, all of the ghosts dance free.
From the outside, Baldwin’s family projected an ideal image—but challenges hid just beneath the surface. Growing up on the Southern California coast, her childhood was privileged, but unstable; devastated by her parents’ crumbling marriage and sister’s suicide. Later, Baldwin married young in Palm Springs, and experienced the psychedelic sixties in San Francisco. But ultimately, it was the death of her parents that led her to Mexico. After a pilgrimage to Morocco Baldwin was prompted to reflect on the great loves and losses she survived and the ways in which alcoholism, suicide, sickness and mortality have shaped her worldview as an adult.
This isn’t one of those memoirs that I will rave on and on about. In all honesty, I believe it is written “over my head”. My kind of book is the kind that is easy to follow, easy to read, doesn’t require a lot of thought and flows along like “la, la, la, la, la”. If I have to read – and then re-read – the same sentence to make the words flow so I can understand the sentence, I’m really not interested. Maybe my feeling about books has something to do with the fact that I have a very stressful job as a legal assistant at a law firm reading legal documents every single day all day. When I pick up a book to read on my own time, I want it to be a fun thing and not a complicated read.
I’m not saying this isn’t a good book at all. The only thing I am saying is that this book just wasn’t for me. The back cover told a great story and it looks it could be a great book – just not for me.
About Terry: Terry Cameron Baldwin is originally from California, where she received a BA in Psychology and a BFA in Painting and Printmaking from Sierra Nevada College in Lake Tahoe. She loves to travel for inspiration, to return to record her impressions in a variety of media. She has worked as a stained glass artisan, paper artist, painter, printmaker, jewelry maker, and calligrapher. She moved to San Miguel de Allende in 2006 from Santa Fe, New Mexico.
I received a complimentary paperback copy of this book from the publishers and BookSparks as part of the BookSparks “Definitive Memoir Blog Tour” in exchange for this post, which is my honest review and unbiased opinion.