Somebody's Daughter by Ashley C. Ford is a memoir to add to your list. Especially for those who love a heartfelt coming-of-age memoir about complex family dynamics. Ford begins her story laying out her family unit, which includes the fact that her father is in jail. She yearns for the father she wishes him to be, while also struggles with finding her footing in the world, trying to please everyone, but herself. The title is so fitting, as Ford wants to be a "daughter" to someone loving and she is trying to understand who she is and where she fits in.
I listened to the audio of Somebody's Daughter and highly recommend it. Ford narrates her memoir and there is something special about hearing an author narrate their own story. It helped me connect with her story that much more. Listening to Ford felt like spending time with a lifelong friend. If you ever find that a memoir is narrated by the author, I highly recommend you choose that reading format. (Audiobooks are books, too!)
Ford's struggles to understand where she came from and her place in this world felt all too familiar. The reader understands early on that Ford's father is in prison, yet they do not know what type of crime he committed. Ford romanticizes her father and makes him who she wants him to be in her mind. Because of this, she is constantly seeking out approval from other adult's in her life and trying to find a way they can fit into her world as a parental figure.
My heart broke for Ford when she recounted some of her childhood experiences. There are content/trigger warnings including rape and sexual assault of a child. Her writing is clear, crisp, raw and unfiltered. She truly bares her soul and this book packs a mighty punch at only 224 pages long. Ford's heart comes through in her memoir and I know there are many people who will be touched by her story, myself included. I connected intensely with her childhood desire to "be good" and her desire to please others. I often sought refuge in other adults to fill the holes I was missing from my own parents. Hearing Ford share her child inner dialogue was like a balm to my old wounds.
4 - 4.5 stars
“Kids can always tell the difference between adults who want to empower them, and adults who want to overpower them.”
“When you write about you and me? Just tell the truth. Your truth. Don’t worry about nobody’s feelings, especially not mine. You gotta be tough to tell your truth, but it’s the only thing worth doing next to loving somebody.”
“I was tempted, as I always am, to take the bait when my mother offers me empathy. Tempted by my fantastical belief that one day I will lower my walls, and she will do the same. Then I end up blaming myself for not remembering to stick to the conversational paths offering the least resistance, furious at myself for veering too far into the unexplored or exiled.”