REVIEW: THE PROMISE BETWEEN US, BY BARBARA CLAYPOLE WHITE

 

Metal artist Katie Mack is living a lie. Nine years ago she ran away from her family in Raleigh, North Carolina, consumed by the irrational fear that she would harm Maisie, her newborn daughter. Over time she’s come to grips with the mental illness that nearly destroyed her, and now funnels her pain into her art. Despite longing for Maisie, Katie honors an agreement with the husband she left behind—to change her name and never return.

But when she and Maisie accidentally reunite, Katie can’t ignore the familiarity of her child’s compulsive behavior. Worse, Maisie worries obsessively about bad things happening to her pregnant stepmom. Katie has the power to help, but can she reconnect with the family she abandoned?

To protect Maisie, Katie must face the fears that drove her from home, accept the possibility of love, and risk exposing her heart-wrenching secret.

My Thoughts: The opening portion of The Promise Between Us shows Katelyn MacDonald suffering in the throes of her fearful and anxious thoughts. Fears that she would hurt her baby; dark and frightening impulses that could lead to danger. The terrifying moments were excruciating, and when the story resumes, Katelyn is no longer in the picture, it is several years later, and her father, Callum, shows his perspective.

He and his wife Lilah are expecting a baby, while the two of them are trying to parent Maisie, now a ten-year-old child. Issues have cropped up for Maisie, and the two are struggling.

We then rejoin Katelyn, now Katie Mack, a metal artist. As she voices her thoughts, it is clear that she now has a diagnosis for her fears and anxieties: she is suffering from OCD. Not the kind of disorder that we often think of when we hear the term, but a much harsher, more painful version of the illness. The version that drove Katie away from her family in the fear that she would harm her baby.

I enjoyed learning more about OCD and discovering through the characters that there are strategies for dealing with the illness. Strategies learned in therapy.

How does an accidental meeting between Katie and her daughter Maisie, after nine years, offer up an opportunity for her to help her daughter, now struggling with the same disorder? How does she break through Cal’s fear and anger so that she can help her daughter? How does long-time friend Jake factor into the decision to communicate and learn from one another?

Secrets had kept them all at odds, but communication and help could bring healing.

This was an inspirational story, and I couldn’t stop reading it. My only problem was how many disabling disorders were going on within this small group, from the characters with OCD to some with PTSD. It was almost overwhelming, and sometimes I had to put the book down for a while. I did connect with the characters, though, and rooted for them all through their journeys. 4.5 stars.

***

REVIEW: LET’S JUST SAY IT WASN’T PRETTY, BY DIANE KEATON

18282998

 

 

 

Diane Keaton is one of those stars we can relate to. She is funny, quirky (think Annie Hall), and down-to-earth with her stories of growing up in LA with down-to-earth parents. Her self-deprecatory conversational style kept me turning the pages. The writing style swept across time in a non-linear fashion.

Despite her somewhat ordinary beginnings, her life has been extraordinary, with her success in films, and her talent in photography. Interior design is another talent, and the homes she has bought, renovated, and sold are many.

In her older years, she adopted her daughter Dexter…and then her son Duke, so in her sixties, she has teenage children. I would call her brave.

Some of my favorite chapters in Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty were those dealing with aspirations for beauty, when everything she saw in the mirror felt flawed; and “bad hair days” when she bemoans the thinning hair that was always a challenge. I liked her attitude about being true to yourself, and not worrying about what others think. Her view on aging and reaching the end of our time felt practical, philosophical, and not morose.

I also loved how she is still great friends with many of her co-stars, like Jack Nicholson and Woody Allen. Al Pacino is one she describes as a love she aspired to marry, but didn’t.

Some of the scenes with her kids were also fun, showing the readers (and fans) that she, too, gets impatient and has to remind herself that she has many blessings.

A delightful read that covered a lot of territory in a few pages, I will save this one for a reread…of some of the sections, at least. 4.5 stars.

ratings-worms-4-cropped***