MadelonPhillips.com ~ This is the story of an eighteen-year-old girl who grew up in a family enveloped by poverty, sorrow and bitterness, and under the rule of a father who continually said, “I wish to hell you kids were grown and married.” The future of the Collins’ daughters seemed to be set at a young age by their father’s belief that he had to “break their spirits.”
Without any awareness of the changing mores in the society around her, Mattie Collins’ journey from eighth grade dropout and subservient daughter and wife to a life of her own as a successful college student and independent woman reflects the awakening spirit that became the women’s liberation movement, and a way of life women in this country and in many places around the world now take for granted.
The story begins in Wawautoma, WI, in January 1950 as 18-year-old Mattie is getting married for the third time to 40-year-old car salesman, Glen, whom she's known for two months. With a grade eight education, no job and parents living in poverty, she doesn't have a lot of options. All Mattie wants is a family of her own to love and take care of ... and this is the life Glen promises her.
We follow Mattie and Glen for the next six years after they movie to California. Mattie is trying to get pregnant but it's not happening. Bored with just being a housewife, she discovers that she is smarter than anyone ever gave her credit for and she begins college. Glen is becoming more successful and can't understand why she's isn't happy just being his wife. His attitude is that she's his wife and she should have to do what he says. As she gets older and more mature, Mattie gains the confidence to stand up to Glen and work to fulfill her own dreams.
This is the first book I've read by this author and I liked it. The story was an interesting one ... I can't imagine living during those times. The husband was the breadwinner and the wife's job was just to take care of him. Um ... no. Reading the author's bio, it appears that a lot of this story is based on the her own life as there are a lot of parallels.
It is written in first person perspective from Mattie's point of view. I liked the writing style, though I found it odd at times in reference to her parents. For example, she asked her father "Where is my mother?" rather than "Where is Mom?" or "Where is Mother?". This kind of writing happened often even when she was talking with her sisters. There were flashbacks giving background on the hard life she and her family had had when she was growing up.
I liked Mattie. When we meet her, she was just an immature kid doing what she had to do. Marrying Glen, a man old enough to be her father, wasn't the best decision for her but she didn't have a lot of options. Glen could be the sweetest husband ever but became an A-hole when crossed.