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Monday, February 08, 2010

Thin Places, a memoir by Mary DeMuth

Mary DeMuth has written an extraordinary look at her childhood and its influences on her life. Although my story is not the same as hers, I am an ACA (adult child of an alcoholic) who grew up in a dysfuctional home, so I strongly identified with her story.

But, Mary doesn't leave us wallowing in self-pity or dislike. The way she so beautifully and accurately describes each experience causes you to feel like you are right there with her. And her telling of her acceptance of Christ during her high school years and the hope He gave her shows how He made all the difference in her life.

Let me share part of Mary's story with you in her own words:

Thin Places – Mary’s Story
My True Story
By Mary DeMuth

When I started my writing journey toward publication, I thought I’d always be a novelist. My agent at the time suggested I write parenting books, something I balked at for quite some time. I was a storyteller after all. And because of my upbringing, I suffered from deep wells of insecurity in my parenting. And yet, I sold three parenting books. I wrote them from a position of weakness, and I prayed other parents with struggles similar to mine would be encouraged that they’re not alone. One facet strung its way through all my books: story.

I can’t help but tell stories, whether they be fiction or nonfiction. As I brainstormed with my next agent and my editor about who I wanted to be when I grew up, we all came back to story. I am a storyteller. We decided it would be best for me to place my primary focus on novel writing, but keep the storytelling alive in nonfiction.

Two years ago, I sensed the need, urge, and desire to write a memoir. I’d come a long way in my healing journey, enough that I could write it without bitterness, with a view toward God’s intervention. Thankfully, my vision for a memoir fit well within the story idea, and Zondervan took a risk and bought the book.

I wrote the book much like I’d write a novel, with an inciting incident, some flashbacks, a rising action and a late climax. Of course, as memoirs go, I had more freedom to explore and meander through the story, but I kept the book mostly in scenes, written in first person present tense to create intimacy and immediacy with the reader.

It was difficult to create me as the main character, to place the potential reader into my own head, to play it out in a way that would woo the reader to turn the page. In doing that, I learned even more about myself, how I viewed the world (sometimes in a warped way!), and what possible impact my journey might have on fellow strugglers.

Though I knew well the landscape, setting, and characters of my life, it proved difficult to give myself permission to truly delve in deeper, to re-feel my pain, angst, joy, frustration, anticipation, and worry. Once I let myself go there, the memoir progressed. And my editor helped me shape the book more chronologically, something for which I’m deeply thankful.

The end result is story: mine. It’s the story of a little girl who faced sexual abuse, neglect, drug-using parents, fear, death of a parent, and a host of other malevolence. And yet it’s a hope-filled story, where the bright light of God’s climactic redemption outshines the dark places. It’s a story of God’s nearness when I thought I’d nearly lose my mind and will to live. How grateful I am for the beautiful love of Jesus, how dearly He chose frail me to shame the wise. It’s really His story after all.


Rose here again: I hope you will order this book soon. Read it and then pass it on to someone you know who can benefit from her story. You can link to Thin Places on Amazon, as well as Mary’s website. www.marydemuth.com I did receive this book from the publisher for review purposes.

4 comments:

Joyful said...

I have been asked to write my testimony, my personal story. I am hesitant about how much to write since I have teens and the impact it could have on them. I feel the urge to be brutally honest, as Mary was, but then again I hesitate writing because I'm not sure how much I truly want to say. I wonder should I include all of my physical, sexual, emotional abuses, should I include the abuse my son went through, etc. For sure I would include how I have found true love in Jesus.

Karen Lange said...

Lots of comments floating around about this book. I'm going to have to check it out. Thanks for sharing this, Rose!

Susan Panzica - EternityCafe said...

Hi Rose!
I too reviewed Mary's book today. I'm your chiropractic friend! How are you (and your back) doing?

Please stop by and visit my Eternity Cafe.

Many blessings to you.
Susan

Mary DeMuth said...

Rose, you are so sweet to post about my story! I appreciate you. I pray the book blessed you.