Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Review: Mom's House: A Memoir by Lynne Cantwell

Note: Yesterday we got BigAl's take on this book. In this second half of a "doubleshot" review, we're getting a second opinion.

Genre: Memoir


“If the Universe gave you the chance to deliver karmic justice, would you do it?

Lynne Cantwell was the late-in-life child of parents who had already lost a baby daughter. Her brother, ten years older, delivered emotional and verbal abuse for as long as she could remember. As a young adult, she moved halfway across the country to escape him.

Decades later, when their mother’s health began to fail, Lynne was forced to work with her brother – first to keep their mother in their childhood home, and then to prepare the house for a sale that never happened. Everything changed, but the family dynamics stayed the same.

This book – entertaining and heart-wrenching by turns – is a tale of the way abuse plays out across generations, and of what it takes to end it.”


“Lynne Cantwell has been writing fiction since the second grade, when the kid who sat in front of her showed her a book he had written, and she thought, ‘I could do that.’ The result was Susie and the Talking Doll, a picture book illustrated by the author about a girl who owned a doll that not only could talk, but could carry on conversations. The book had dialogue but no paragraph breaks.

Today, after a twenty-year career in broadcast journalism and a master's degree in fiction writing from Johns Hopkins University (or perhaps despite the master's degree), Lynne is still writing fantasy. She is also a contributing author at Indies Unlimited. She lives near Washington, DC.”

You can connect with Ms. Cantwell at her website or on Facebook.


I don’t normally read non-fiction, however this book drew my attention. I am interested in how people cope with abuse and the extenuating circumstances that keep them in abusive relationships. Lynne’s abuser was her older brother (by ten years) with a somewhat complacent mother who either looked the other way or wrote it off as sibling rivalry. The whole family dynamic was dysfunctional. Lynne recognized this and did what she could to survive until she was old enough to move far away. Little did she realize at the time how emotional abuse infects other relationships that develop in the future.  

I’m sure I grew up in a somewhat dysfunctional family, as many of us did. I am the oldest of my four siblings, however, I don’t recall any abuse. At least nothing besides what was considered normal parental punishment at the time, and we managed to grow up to be successful adults. To be truthful, I am the most dysfunctional in my family. I claim it is genetics, LOL. That’s my way of diverting the truth.

Following Lynne’s journey was enlightening, but also baffling, and heart-breaking at times. Hopefully, we all try to do the best we can with what we are given. Life is a struggle to keep our heads above the water and it’s doubly hard when we have those who keep pulling us down, taking advantage of our basically good hearts. I found Mom’s House a valiant effort to exorcise demons. Highly recommended. 

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

Mom’s House contains emotional and verbal abuse, no sexual abuse. I mention that because the book is tagged with sexual abuse on Amazon US, however not on Amazon UK site.

Format/Typo Issues:

Nothing to speak of.

Rating: **** Four Stars

Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin

Approximate word count: 50-55,000 words

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