On the verge of losing his children after his wife ends her life, a desperate father remarries in haste to reunite his family. It's the 1950s. He is Catholic. Suicide is a sin. He tells his three little girls his new wife is their mother. Laura, a toddler, finds the woman strange and surprisingly bitter, but she trusts her father. Mommy must have changed, she thinks, like dough baking turns into bread. The truth, kept secret, festers. Years later, Laura's father is dying. His wife promises to love his girls as her own. Instead, she grows increasingly sadistic and vile. No one can stop her from doing harm. Nevertheless, Laura and her sisters are not defeated. Their father's wish that they stay together comes true, although not in the way he'd imagined. Reversible Skirt, a memoir, is the tender telling of a little girl's odyssey through an abusive childhood. If you like honest voices, characters that crackle with life, exquisite language, and true stories of strength in the face of adversity, you'll love Laura McHale Holland's heart-wrenching testament to the power of forgiveness and love.
Whether penning a memoir, writing a novel or polishing a play, I strive to provide meaningful, memorable journeys in story. My latest book, Resilient Ruin: A memoir of hopes dashed and reclaimed, won the 2017 National Indie Excellence Award for new adult nonfiction. Previously, I edited and published the anthology Sisters Born, Sisters Found: A Diversity of Voices on Sisterhood, which won a gold medal in the 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and was a finalist for IndieFab book of the year. I also wrote and published The Ice Cream Vendor's Song, a flash fiction collection; and Reversible Skirt, a childhood memoir, which, respectively, won an honorable mention and a silver medal in the Readers Favorite Book Awards. To see all my books, hear about new projects and receive a free ebook created exclusively for newsletter subscribers, visit me at http://lauramchaleholland.com.
What if your mother committed suicide when you were small, and your father was so wounded he pretended she'd never existed? What if tragedy struck again, and you were left in the care of an abusive stepmother? I yearned to tell this child's story. My story. But I would begin and stop—over and over. Then, one day, the little girl I used to be came to me much like Alice Walker described characters in her novels coming to visit her for a while, and that little girl spoke the only words she knew to be true, "Gramma loves me." I followed her voice and finally wrote my childhood memoir, Reversible Skirt, because she had a lot to say.
Reversible Skirt: A Memoir
Gramma loves me. I know this by the way she says my name, Laura. She lilts it, tickles the air with it, like I’m a ruby she’s just spied glittering in one of the sidewalk cracks in front of her great big red brick apartment building. It’s on Birchwood Avenue. And that’s where I am right now. Looking out the parlor window. Waiting. It’s like I’m standing on a mountain of cream puffs all mine alone because any minute Gramma will call my name and tell me it’s time for our special ride. Nobody else says my name the way Gramma does. Not Daddy, not Kathy and Mary Ruth, not Uncle John, and not Mommy, who loves church so much I think maybe she up and moved into one a while back.