Pieces of Me by Lizbeth Meredith
Published by She Writes Press on September 20th 2016
Genres: Abuse, Biography & Autobiography, Domestic Partner Abuse, Family & Relationships, Interpersonal Relations, Personal Memoirs, Psychology
In 1994, Lizbeth Meredith said good-bye to her four- and six year-old daughters for a visit with their non-custodial father–only to learn days later that they had been kidnapped and taken to their father’s home country of Greece. Twenty-nine and just on the verge of making her dreams of financial independence for her and her daughters come true, Lizbeth now faced a $100,000 problem on a $10 an hour budget. For the next two years–fueled by memories of her own childhood kidnapping–Lizbeth traded in her small life for a life more public, traveling to the White House and Greece, and becoming a local media sensation in order to garner interest in her efforts. The generous community of Anchorage becomes Lizbeth’s makeshift family–one that is replicated by a growing number of Greeks and expats overseas who help Lizbeth navigate the turbulent path leading back to her daughters.
Since I’m currently involved in the BookSparks Magic of Memoir Book Tour (aka #MagicOfMemoir), when I read the cover of this book, Pieces of Me by Lizbeth Meredith, I knew I really wanted to read it because I had heard the story in the past. I couldn’t be sure it was actually this story, or whether it was another story of kidnapped children taken to another country, but either way, I was definitely interested.
The book didn’t let me down either – I mean, how could it? It’s a true story, yes, but it was one that is so engaging that I had to keep reminding myself from time to time while reading the book that it was a real thing that happened to this family. The story made me angry for and with Ms. Meredith, desperately trying to understand how the government (ours and in Greece) couldn’t help make everything right for these children.
It is clear that her ex-husband was a whack job. You could tell both by the way he treated Liz when they were married, and by the horrible way he provided – or failed to provide – for his sweet, young daughters. More like a monster than a father, that’s for sure. Tragically, because Liz struggled as a result of her upbringing, she was desperate to be loved and Greg tricked her into believing he would love her as a husband should. When she realized who he was, she was able to divorce him but not without threats on her life and the lives of her children.
Once they are divorced, he abducts and two daughters and takes them to Greece. Liz struggles between American lawyers, Greek lawyers, and all the legal tape in between just trying to get the courts to enforce the American custody order. Liz travels to Greece in an attempt to get the girls by hiring an investigator, since the court system was not helping. She ends up risking so much just to get her girls back.
As a mother myself, I can’t even imagine how Liz woke up every morning knowing that her daughters were gone. I give this woman big props for putting the next foot forward and doing the next thing that needed to be done to rescue her daughters. If I ever had the chance to meet Ms. Meredith, the first thing I would do is give her the biggest hug ever and let her know that God does love her and so do I. The story was written in a very engaging fashion and Ms. Meredith shows readers the lengths mothers go for their children and how much they can love. Ms. Meredith doesn’t try to act like a saint either – she’s a regular woman going through life with one of the biggest struggles a mother can face, and she does the best she can to move forward. It is a very powerful story and I hope the girls have grown up recovering from the damage done to them as little girls.
I don’t want to give you the whole story – read Pieces of Me: Rescuing My Kidnapped Daughters by Lizbeth Meredith and I promise, you won’t regret it. It’s a captivating read that you’ll find you can’t put down. If you are like me, you will read it cover to cover in one sitting.
L.A. Meredith LLC is a writer based in Alaska with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in psychology. She has worked as a domestic violence advocate and a child abuse investigator, and with at-risk teens as a juvenile probation supervisor.
Her memoir, Pieces of Me: Rescuing My Kidnapped Daughters, will be published by She Writes Press in October, 2016. More than another missing children’s story, Pieces of Me recounts Lizbeth’s struggle to bring home her internationally abducted daughters from Greece to Alaska. It’s the story of a 29 year-old woman whose own life was marked by family violence and childhood kidnapping who then faced her own $100,000 problem on a $10 an hour budget. It’s the story of the generous community in Anchorage, Alaska, and of a welcoming community in Greece who joined Lizbeth’s efforts to make the impossible a reality.
I received a complimentary paperback copy of this book from BookSpark and the publisher as part of the #MagicofMemoir Tour!