||Sept 25, 2011
Told that her father is dead, mother and daughter live a life on the lam, moving ten times in ten years over 4,000 miles. The child grows into an adolescent and young woman who traverses continents and oceans with a relentless determination that will reunite her with the lost child of her innocence and ultimately reveal the shocking truth.
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The search for self begins with the loss of self.
The Invisible Thread is a memoir of personal discovery, which will surprise the reader as much as it often surprises the narrator as she unearths events of her life with a voice of cathartic awareness.
The story begins with a young child who is ripped away from a loving home by her biological mother and a mentally ill aunt. As she is driven away, she watches her peaceful life vanish into the distance. Told that her father is dead, they live a life on the lam, moving ten times in ten years over 4,000 miles. Ensnared in the twists and turns of a disturbing life, she finds herself pitted in a life-and-death struggle, choreographing an impending disaster whose dramatic outcome unwittingly takes her to Ireland and the Invisible Thread of her roots. And this is where the story begins, as the protagonist traverses continents and oceans with a relentless determination that will reunite her with the lost child of her innocence and ultimately reveal the shocking truth.
I met my father when I was forty. Thatís usually a showstopper right there, but this isnít about that meeting, not yet; itís about digging myself out of the hole that the absence of a good father creates. Notice that I say a good father, for there are many kinds of fathers. And a bad father is worse than no father at all. Thatís what my mother often told me, and of the truth of that statement I am entirely convinced. (By no means do I diminish the equal importance of a good mother, but recognizing the empty space created by the lack of a good father, I weigh towards the void.) In fact, I am quite certain that a good father could be the salvation of humankind. No kidding. Do men have any idea how important they are in this basic capacity? A good father is everything.
But why would anyone want to read the story of someone they had never heard of? And how could anyone be so egotistical as to think that anyone else would be interested in the ins and outs of anotherís past? And furthermore, why would anyone want to go back and exhume the ghosts of that past only to be taunted and teased and then have to put them back to rest again? Well believe me, I had no intention of writing this. It never would have happened if I didnít see that little boy on the television. The fact is, I fell into a metaphorical hole and the only way out was to dig, and the only trowel I had was language. And this wasnít my idea. I called a trusted advisor and explained the situation to her, ďI donít know what to do, where to go, where to turn.Ē
She said, ďYou have to start writing down every memory from as far back as you can and donít stop until you arrive at the present moment.Ē
I knew she was right. I knew there was no other way. And so I began to write. I had to begin with the little boy on the television because thatís where my exodus began.
To enter into the past isnít just story telling, itís becomingóbecoming who you were at that point in time, or who the observer within you was and what was observed. Itís like cleaning out the attic: you go into a distant corner and open a box, and within that box is a little world, and within that little world is a construct of people, places and things. The stage is set and comes alive again as the actors begin to move and walk and talk and interact. You describe everything you see and hear and smell and feel. Then, between laughter and tears, you frame each segment and mount it on the wall and go on to the next. Those pictures on the wall become a continuous link, connecting, as it were, one dot to another. If thereís a dot missing the story will lack cohesion. And thatís where the work begins because without that missing dot, the ones before and after it donít make sense. And without the missing pieces there are holes in our wholeness.
Ultimately, by exposition, there is integration and the realization that it is the circumstances of life that are flawed, not our beings. We can all move away from these circumstances because although they happened to us, they are not who we are, they are the unconscious invisible thread that was passed down from generation to generation. There is, instead, a true core to move towards, and we find that we are alive and well beneath invisible layers that can be shed in a journey back to the self.
Against All Odds
I like reading biographies and memoirs because I'm interested in what shapes people's lives and most importantly what fosters resilience. Both are explored in this raw narrative by Elizabeth Wallace who was compelled to unearth the events of her life when she overheard a news report that brought up her own traumatic past which, until that moment, she had neatly tucked away into the recesses of her mind. The painful realities of her own story begin with her as a neglected infant taken into the care of a loving relative only to be snatched away three years later. In her new life, she is constantly moving, neglected, exposed to mental illness, lonely, unprotected and left to her own devices. Ms. Wallace chronicles the stranger than fiction events of her life with humor, honesty and compassion. One can only wonder if the 3 years of belonging and love from a caring family are what allowed Ms. Wallace to survive the ordeals of her life. Or was it that in combination with the natural gifts she was to discover in herself?
I want to thank Ms. Wallace for her words of wisdom that spring from the pages of her memoir offering hope and the kind of bigger truths one needs to gain perspective about the vicissitudes of life. Within the first few pages Ms. Wallace offers the reader the hard won knowledge "that it is the circumstances of life that are flawed, not our beings". I would want every child who was abandoned by a parent, abused or neglected, who acted out as a call for help to read this book. I would want every parent who has cared for or fostered a child suffering from attachment wounds to read this memoir. And for most of us who view the world through the hurts of the past, there is much to learn from this memoir and much to enjoy from the reading. I hope the author continues to write about her story. She left me wanting more.
Unexpected, Intriguing, Excellent Read
I `met' Elizabeth on a writer's forum, a site looking for books by unknown authors. After reading a review of her book, I sent for it on Amazon. I intended to put some time aside, to read a book that I thought would be different from most memoirs. When I finally found that time, I wasn't disappointed.
However on first receiving this book, I wasn't sure I was going to like it as it was written `the wrong way round'. Elizabeth, unlike most authors, began her story at the end and not the beginning. How wrong could I be! The first thing that drew me in was a line that read `I met my father when I was forty'. This intrigued me.
I want to say so much about this book but don't want to spoil the story for those who will, I hope, read it.
When life finally allowed me the time to read The Invisible Thread, I immediately liked Elizabeth's style of writing, easy and enjoyable, sometimes even funny. I was amazed at her almost blatant honesty. In her early life, she was a bit of a tearaway for reasons that become clear. She stole, started fires and really didn't seem a very nice child. The picture she paints of young Beth is a child you wouldn't want your children to go around with. But she was, if nothing else, a resourceful little girl.
Sometimes whilst reading her story, I felt I was intruding, that I shouldn't be there and perhaps should stop not read any further. It was her vivid descriptions and open way of talking, that kept drawing me in and eventually I felt I was walking alongside her, holding her hand. There were times I wanted to scream at her, to stop her but all I could do was to read on.
Beth was a fatherless child born to a mother, who herself was not without baggage. Numerous homes, lots of moving around the country would have daunted most children, but not Beth. She was determined to not only to survive but to succeed in many things. She tells her story in an honest, enjoyable and believable manner.
At 13 she decided to take very drastic actions to gain her mother's attention. She played a dangerous game but succeeded in showing her mother, that life was not as safe out in the world as she had possibly believed. I won't say anymore for fear of spoiling this book for others, who in my opinion MUST read it.
The book takes us on a road with many unexpected obstacles and twists and turns, just when we think we know what is happening something else comes along and we are not as sure. Many people may question if this story is a true story, but for personal reasons I know that it is `ordinary' people, who can have extraordinary lives, some sad some happy, but often have a story to tell. This is one of them.
Before I read THE INVISIBLE THREAD, lots of things got in my way and I began to look on reading it as a one would look forward to a sumptuous meal. I was not disappointed in the preparation, the presentation, the appearance or the taste. It was indeed a banquet for the mind. Elizabeth showed me danger and intrigue and kept me guessing throughout the story. Ultimately surprising me at the end.
A powerful heart-warming story, beautifully written and lovingly and honestly told. Thank you Elizabeth for taking me on your journey.I felt every emotion with you holding my hand, I felt anger, sadness, frustration and fear but most of all, you also made me smile.
I hope many people will read this story and share Beth's journey.
A Masterfully Written & Memorable Memoir
Elizabeth Wallace has crafted a beautifully written memoir in which every word is like a brush stroke in a captivating portrait, where the eyes of the subject not only follow you wherever you go, but see right through you.
I was immediately caught up in the hypnotic rhythm of her soul-touching tale right from the very first page. This masterful author allowed me the privilege of eavesdropping on her life's journey, from troubled toddler to an adult of tremendous achievement, creating in me the need to let her know how proud I am of her!
This memoir reads like beautiful poetry; the words flow effortlessly, creating vivid images of the many charming and not-so-charming characters and places that have drifted in and out of her life. As much as my heart ached over the difficult times a young and fatherless Elizabeth had to face, I was jealous over the interesting life she bravely led.
As a fellow writer and seeker, I can't stress enough how I loved this enchanting book. In one of many poignant scenes, Beth spoke to my soul as she skillfully described the illusion of time through the eyes of a confused child. My heart sang in the chapter entitled "Epiphany" when Elizabeth comes to the beautiful and powerful realization of her connection to all things!
I highly recommend everyone read this deeply moving and inspiring book!
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