Take 2: Virtual Book Club

I tried to upload this Virtual Book Club post a few weeks back, but it got messed up.┬áSo here’s Take 2.

The book: Daughter of the Drunk at the Bar by Michelle O’Neil. True story of a girl coming of age under the shadow of her father’s alcoholism. As she shares her journey, Michelle addresses topics like parental neglect, sexual abuse, teen sexuality, and how small actions can make a huge difference.

Participants: The fabulous and lovable Kario. Ron’s insightful and kind colleague Carole. My rockin’ mom. Me. And our star writer Michelle.

If you haven’t read the book, don’t worry. I’ve attended so many book clubs where I’ve only made it to, like, page 8. Pour a mug of tea, pull up a chair, and join the discussion:

Kario: You wrote a lot of specific memories of your childhood. Were they just lurking around in your head or did you have to work to unearth them?

Michelle: The memories were always there. It’s the way I see the world. In little snippets of dialogue. I did listen to music of the eras I was writing about to bring back even more.

Carole: How are your siblings doing today?

Michelle: All five of us children are functioning adults. We’re responsible, live independently, and pay our bills. None of us are addicts.

Mom: How did you forgive your parents?

Michelle: A Course In Miracles was an important text for me in the process of forgiving my parents. I don’t think forgiveness is like a college degree and that once you do it, you’re done. I think it’s a moment-by-moment choice.

Carole: Did you mother ever get it together?

Michelle: My mother remarried and is looking forward to retiring soon after a lifetime of hard work as a nurse. She works to keep a connection with me, even when I put distance between us. She supported me in putting my book out because she wants what’s best for me, even if it means discomfort for her.

Carole: What’s the defining thing that pulled you out of the cycle and moved you on to a better life?

Michelle: Going to college opened up a whole world of opportunity. College evened the playing field on so many levels.

Me: What can a child in your situation do? What can adults do to help?

Michelle: I was so ashamed of what was going on that I kept it secret. Kids should tell. Tell another adult. Tell a teacher or a friend’s parent. Keep telling until someone listens. Adults who let me hang out with their kids helped me more than they could ever imagine. Providing a place for me to be away from my home situation and see how healthy people lived – that was invaluable to me. Those parents are my heroes. They changed my life.

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