Enforced silence was the norm during meals in Lizzie Quimby’s family of origin. Her father’s mistress lived in the home, and generational incest haunted the extended family culture, all contributors to the inevitably skewed view of self that resulted from this highly dysfunctional family system, and fed Quimby’s heartbreaking cycle of marriages to abusive and even psychopathic men. Yet against all odds, she achieved a lifelong goal of personal and relational wholeness.
In this appealing, straightforward memoir, the author capably conveys the deepest emotions and impressions of a woman caught in the nightmare of marital abuse and the social and emotional isolation that often accompanies it. Unlike tragic-life memoirs that grind far too many axes with abusers, My Leaning Post is healthy and proactive, moving readers matter-of-factly through the role each major life incident played both in the author’s self-destructive interpersonal patterns and in her masterful recovery.
Quimby manages to achieve the delicate balance between the necessary revelation of brutal facts and the harder work of discriminating interpretation. One chapter is based on careful notes from a period in midlife devoted to intensive work with a good therapist. Her painful therapeutic work, combined with a strong personal faith in God, is recounted without sentimentality or fanfare. Spiritual maturity lends credibility to her insights, and though a clinical tone is never attempted, this book could be helpful to anyone enmeshed in unhealthy relationships.
Though the text could have benefited from a moderate copyedit to improve some awkward syntax and clarify elements of chronology and place, these deficiencies do not disrupt a generally well-focused narrative. Combined with the rest of the story, the author’s account of her healthy fourth marriage later in life has the power to convince readers that faith and perseverance work miracles.
Also available in hardcover and ebook