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Moonlight on Linoleum: A Daughter's Memoir

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3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  801 ratings  ·  169 reviews
E ven if others abandon you, you must never abandon yourself.

This simple truth became Terry Helwig’s lifeline as she was forced to grow up too soon.

Terry grew up the oldest of six girls in the big-sky country of the American Southwest, where she attended twelve schools in eleven years. Helwig’s stepfather Davy, a good-hearted and loving man, proudl
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ebook, 304 pages
Published October 4th 2011 by Howard Books (first published January 1st 2011)
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Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
Welcome to the 50's.....Grandma and Grandpa taking care of children, Mom gone, only Dad. Doesn't sound like the 50's to me....sounds more like the way families are today.

Moonlight on Linoleum is a nostalgic trip back to a life that should have been filled with stable families, but it had two sweet girls who were left with their father and grandparents in Iowa while Mama fulfilled dreams of her own.

And…..Mama wasn't done fulfilling her dreams...more sisters arrived and more new schools. Mama like
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Kim
Had I not read The Glass Castle, I might have liked this better, but it felt like the same story with fewer interesting parts and poorer writing. The author said she told Sue Monk Kidd, her friend, that she wasn't sure the world needed another memoir. I sort of agree as this memoir wasn't different enough to warrant the writing of it.

Like Jeannette Walls in The Glass Castle, Helwig doesn't give a poor me tone, which I like, but if you are going to pick up a memoir about family nomads and abuse,
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Brandy
It has been a long time since I have read a memoir that captured my attention like Moonlight and Linoleum did. Sue Monk Kidd was correct when she said the world needed this book. Terry Helwig has a great voice and did a wonderful job making the reader understand the complexity of her family dynamics and the struggle between acceptance and disappointment. Reading her story I often forgot how young she and her sisters were. The struggles and every day life she and her sisters dealt with were so ad ...more
Dnicebear
Ms Helwig begins the story of abandonment with the experience of not being able to find her mother's grave. The stories of growing up with a mother whose main passion seemed to be visiting what she called "Timbuktu" instead of her home and motherhood--this story 'should' be made up but it is not. Thankfully the daughter has survived and contributes to the global family now as a counselor and activist. And, writer, because we get to live through the deceptions and the process of understanding and ...more
McGuffy Morris
Terry Helwig has a beautiful way with words. She is a gifted author, but also a special person. In her very touching memoir, Terry shares her story of growing up with a mother who is bipolar, and very often seemingly out of control.

Terry never gave up on herself, life, or even her mother. The oldest in of a household of six girls (one of which was actually a cousin); Terry was the mother-figure. At times she had to be mother to her own mother, Carola Jean.

Growing up in the 1950s-1960s, her early
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Elizabeth
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Sue Monk Kidd may have phrased it best in the foreword when she said the mother is someone that the reader would want to “rage at one moment and hug the next.” Though the book is Helwig’s memoir, in reality, the story is very much about her mother.

The maternal love exhibited from a mother who can give the last bit of food to a homeless man, or who willingly cares for someone else’s child who has no one else, is both selfless and generous. Yet, her persistence in sleeping around, ordering her chi
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Books to the Sky
See more reviews at www.bookstothesky.com

Do you ever read a book and when you finish it, you want to email the author and just thank them for writing it? That's how I feel about this book.

As someone who grew up with an unstable mother, I felt that I related so closely with Terry (although her situation was much more extreme than mine).

I appreciated that Terry wrote, not only of the bad times, but also the good ones. The times that bring hope and joy and just a little bit of peace.

The conflicting
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Doreen
As a member of ELLE Magazine's Non-Fiction Juror's Prize panel, I've read more memoirs in the past few years than I'd undertake on my own, so when Terry Helwig posits in Sue Monk Kidd's forward to this book, "[D]oes the world really need another memoir?" I found myself wearily nodding along. But Ms Helwig has written a very honest and touching account of growing up with an unstable, selfish mother, while trying to look out for her five younger sisters. For that alone, this book is a welcome addi ...more
Arlena
Moonlight on Linoleum: A Daughter's Memoir
Author: Terry Helwig
Published by: Howard Books
Age Recommend: 16+
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Raven Rating: 5
Blog Review For: GMTA
Review:
Review: "Moonlight on Linoleum: A Daughter's Memoir by Terry Helwig was a indeed an interesting read. Terry really did a wonderful job in telling her story... not only of the bad times, but also the good ones too.
The story is of Terry who was the the oldest and responsible and her relationship with her... sisters(5), cousin(
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Hattie
This memoir is very emotional because it's about children in a family. Terry is the oldest sister. There are many siblings. This family had so many heartbreaking problems It's hard to know where to start the review. I think it is possible to read about a dysfunctional family without placing blame on one adult's head. There are no perfect families. There are no perfect individuals. These two thoughts allow me to think with empathy and compassion for the whole family. However, these feelings do no ...more
Nancy
Helwig writes a compelling memoir detailing her memories of her childhood. Helwig provides as much objectivity as a writer could give as a first person writing about her own childhood. Admirably, she does not paint herself as a victim nor does she write any of the characters as two dimensional. The author's mother was chemically dependent and unfaithful to the end. She neglected her children and household responsibilities. On the other hand, she was tender and loving at times and clearly gave th ...more
Terri
I judged this book by its cover; it is a beautifully rendered silhouette of a girl on a swing in the soft blue light of evening. That and I liked the title. And then I went ahead and pushed "purchase" on Amazon it so intrigued me.

Terry and her four sisters and one cousin- six girls live with their mama and daddy. Thing is, daddy is not Terry and Vicki's biological dad but loves them and the other four very much. Mama, Carola, first married at fourteen and got kind of tired of the one man she mar
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Sharon Boyne Travis
It's heartwarming to read a tale of poverty and hardship where people come out on top - family helps family and children don't blame their parents for what they've endured. This story echoes with the tales I've heard from my parents - about people they knew growing up in the 40's and 50's. Life was hard but people endured and survived - they didn't give up and stick out a hand for free money or government handout; they didn't give in to drink or drugs; they persevered and worked hard. Good lesso ...more
Lauren
Terry Helwig had a childhood that one would have to read about to believe. Her mother, young, beautiful, and flighty, gave birth to her and her little sister when she was still a teenager, and by the time Terry herself was a teenager, her mother had been checked into a mental institution. Moonlight on Linoleum recounts the ups and downs of Terry’s life with her mother, telling the story of a girl forced to raise her five younger siblings as her family was ripped apart by divorce, affairs, alcoho ...more
Chris
Mar 07, 2013 Chris marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
I gave this the old 50-page try. I have a really hard time reading memoirs with absent mothers and children who are passed from home to home. I know there is redemption at the end of this book, but the ache for a mother's love was palpable and broke my heart. There is too much of this in real life to have it in my reading life. Just can't do it.
Beth
WOW. A powerful story of hurt and hope and healing. A fascinating coming of age novel and memoir. Terry Helwig's story begins in Iowa, where she and her sister live with their biological father and teenage mother. Their mother eventually abandons them and leaves them with their father and his parents. Later, she comes back and takes them to Texas to live with her new husband- the man they would come to think of as Daddy. Two girls eventually become six as they travel from town to town in Texas, ...more
Sheryl
I loved this book! It was such a honest account of a young girl who had to grow way too fast. I really admire the way Ms. Helwig takes you through her heartbreaking account of growing up with a very dysfunctional mother. Her mother grew up way too fast as well. She was under seventeen when she had Ms. Helwig. I found it very inspiring the way she chose her younger sister's over herself. It would have been so hard not to have just given up and taken a easier road. But, she stuck it out and has a ...more
Joan
I love stories about personal struggles of childhood. This is written by a woman who had to care for her 4 younger sisters while dealing with an unstable mother, and fathers (Yes, 'fathers') who had to move a lot with their jobs. She was never in the same school for more than one year. Often she was left with grandparents for long periods of time. This story reminded me of The Glass Castle. Each chapter starts with a real life photo of the family members at the point in time for which she is sha ...more
Linda
WOW! This is an incredible story. This is a non-fiction memoir written by a seemingly intelligent, well-adjusted woman who overcame a very, very difficult childhood.....this is in the same vein as Glass Castle. Truly, we never know what burden, experiences or hurts that others have, are or will face. Just another reminder of how incredibly blessed I have been in my life by parents who loved me (and my siblings), sacrificed for me and provided a loving, stable home for me! Compelling story!!
Michelle
Posted on Book Chelle.

When I read the synopsis, I was drawn to the story. A lot of women I know do not have easy relationships with their mothers. Naturally, I wanted to know how Helwig's own relationship with her mother differed from min. I read the forward from Kidd and was even more intrigued. And then, I read the the prologue and my heart broke. She had me during those few pages.

In Moonlight Linoleum, Helwig writes an emotional memoir that details her childhood. Helwig did not just recount t
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Becky
Moonlight on Linoleum by Terry Helwig and published by Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster.

If you love a good story about dysfunctional families - then stop what you are doing and read this story!! You will NOT be disappointed. You WILL be amazed at the obstacles these children overcame, the tenacity of the eldest child Terry (the author), and the blatant selfishness of their mother.

Helwig's description and story-telling is so beautifully written you may have trouble remembering that
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Aubrey
Sep 10, 2011 Aubrey rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who liked "The Glass Castle" and other similar memoirs.
I won this book on Goodreads; it is an ARC and comes out on October 4th. I entered in for it because I have a love for memoirs. I'm fascinated by others who lived such different lives, oftentimes more troubling and requiring them to grow up sooner. This book was very reminiscent of The Glass Castle. Granted, it was a different story but there was substance abuse, which they both had in common. Yet what they really had in common was that the author had to grow up quickly, had to take care of the ...more
Nancy Narma
“A Heart-Wrenching, Courageous Memoir”

Ms. Helwig had my undivided attention with the first sentence of the Prologue—“I could not find my Mother’s grave”. She proceeded to take me on a spellbinding journey from the Riverside Cemetery and back to her childhood. Let me advise you, with the number of moves she and her family made, it would make a map into a crazy quilt. Carola “Jean” or ”Mama” was a child raising children. After a rough relationship with her own Mother, Jean married at 14 to Donald
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Frankenburger
3.5 stars. I won an ARC through goodreads.

Moonlight on Linoleum is the memoir of Terry, a girl growing up in the 50's and 60's with her many sisters and her eccentric mother. Throughout the story Terry grows up into a young woman, ultimately finding independence from her mother. Since the mother was often estranged, Terry typically ran the household and took care of her many sisters, all while trying to live a normal life outside the home.

The book is certainly emotional, and the happy times are
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Brandy
A beautifully written memoir and a first of its kind for me. I could not put down this book!

Terry’s story is so down to earth; she not only focuses on the bad parts of her life she also focuses on the good. Terry went through so much and was able to hold her entire family together and did what she knew needed to be done. What a life to live: new schools every year, separations, infidelity, growing up so fast to take care of your entire family… I couldn’t imagine living life this way. Terry is a
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C.C. Thomas
To over use a trite phrase, this book had me at "Hello". To be honest about it, it had me at the "Foreword" (but that doesn't sound nearly so good). As soon as I started reading this book, it pulled me in and smothered me and just wouldn't let me go until I read every blessed word.o
Terry tells the story of her life--being the daughter of a mother who is mentally ill and struggles with substance abuse. Ultimately, it is the story of a child balancing adulthood and childhood and being the parent t
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Heidi
In Moonlight on Linoleum, Terry Hilwig has written an emotionally charged story of a daughter forced to grow up before her time and become responsible for an entire family when she couldn’t count on her own mother to do so. Rather than writing her story with self-indulgence and a heavy dose of blame, she manages to tell her story, her mother’s story and her family’s story with love and acceptance. This combined with excellent writing made the book a joy to read.
Carola Jean married young in an a
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Katie
This was a really tough book to read. Moonlight on Linoleum follows a young girl whose mother has substance abuse problems and struggles with what it means to be a mother. It is a heartbreaking story of abandonment and the guilt that the oldest daughter can carry around when she feels that she hasn't done enough to keep her family together.

But Terry Helwig doesn't just sit down and tell you how much she hates what her mother did to her and her sisters. Instead she tells of how much love she has
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Kim
When someone tries to tell you they had a crappy childhood, implore them to read this book and they may change their perspective.

Terry and her sisters had a different life then Christina and her brother in 'Mommy Dearest'. It seems that in Moonlight on Linoleum, the mother's biggest crime was that she wasn't there. Carola Jean Simmonds started having babies at 14 and they just kept coming. Terry, lucky enough to be born first, became the 'mother' at a very young age.

My feelings about this book
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Terry Helwig is the author of Simon & Schuster's “Moonlight on Linoleum: A Daughter’s Memoir.” In addition to writing plays, articles and other works, Terry has a Master’s degree in counseling psychology. Terry is also the creator of The Thread Project: One World, One Cloth, an artistic endeavor, in which thousands of threads, sent by people from every continent, were woven into seven magnific ...more
More about Terry Helwig...
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“Memory is something more than a set of facts. It can be colored by age, perspective, expectations, and disappointments. A strong emotional charge can cause a memory to be carefully stored in the vault of one mind and not another.” 0 likes
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