In Whisper of Hope, Cry of Despair, author Vicky Bedi describes a hardscrabble childhood in a family struggling with the effects of mental illness, poverty, and violence.
Bedi includes some family tree diagrams and discusses her grandparents, but the focus is on her father, Victor, with whom she was somewhat close, and her violent, abusive mother. Rarely happy, Laura lashed out with whatever weapon was at hand, hitting Vicky and nearly killing her father on two occasions. She formed friendships that never lasted; her temper and tendency to “preach” long lists of grievances frightened people off. All of this made for an isolated childhood.
After Bedi’s father died of a heart attack, she took care of her mother as her health declined. In looking back at this experience, she made peace with her upbringing to some extent, but describes how she, too, alienated friends and coworkers, sometimes to her professional detriment.
Within this story of many hardships, Bedi offers some fine details. When Laura lived in Vermont as a child, for example, she attended a Christmas party with her sister. They were given oranges, and not knowing what to do with them, her sister bit into one. On the walk home, the “dripping orange froze to her hand.” Scanned documents and photos also help bring the story to life.
But at just 66 pages, Whisper of Hope, Cry of Despair can only give the briefest glimpse into this family’s life. A longer story would allow readers to understand the author’s background in greater depth and with keener insight.
Still, Bedi offers some interesting moments in her book, and this introduction to her life says a lot about the harm we sometimes do to those we love and the scars it leaves behind.
Also available as an ebook.