Roles for women were defined by making their families happy or appear happy at all costs. Women were expected to be the ideal caring mother, perfect homemaker and obedient wife, carrying out every wish of her husband. Girls were expected to play with dolls, be poised and ladylike, and without complaint be stand-in mothers.
This book is a firsthand account of what it was like growing up as a female in middle America during the 1950's and living a completely different reality than what society is telling you should have.
Imagine growing up with colorful dysfunctional characters none of whom matched the societal norms of the times. Your father is a verbal bully who evokes fear and silence among the children. Your mother is unable to cope with not meeting the expectations of the perfect marriage, descends into alcoholism, and sudden death. Add to this drama stressful financial conditions where even 5 cent sodas and 15 cent sundaes are a rarity. What would you do? How do you survive?
The author found the answers to these questions in the kindness of loving grandparents, her spiritual connection to the land and in breaking free by eloping at 19 to escape this family prison.
Forsythe provides a poignant narrative of the coercive expectations women faced during these years in a style that is intimate, lyrical, deeply moving, and at times humorous. Anyone interested in the 1950's, women's roles, and finding personal freedom will find this book a very satisfying read.