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Moonlight On Linoleum: A Daughter's Memoir

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  1,058 Ratings  ·  201 Reviews
Even 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, proudly purchased a mobile home
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Published October 4th 2011 by Oasis Audio (first published January 1st 2011)
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Oct 21, 2011 Kim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
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,
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
Nov 08, 2011 Dnicebear rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 13, 2011 Brandy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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: "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(
Aug 05, 2012 Hattie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
EZRead eBookstore
Jul 06, 2011 EZRead eBookstore rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: amelia-reviews
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
Jun 29, 2012 Doreen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: elle
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
McGuffy Morris
Nov 08, 2011 McGuffy Morris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 15, 2013 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 27, 2011 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Books to the Sky
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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
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
Apr 15, 2012 Anna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
i absolutely loved the rawness of the memories and blunt openess. great book.
May 04, 2017 SPANTA628 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm a sucker for a good memoir, and in rating them I'm like an art teacher- writing one requires a certain bravery that alone deserves admiration, therefore, if it also happens to grab and sustain my interest, it's an "A". I mean, how do you rate someone's LIFE??? Is this book less good because Terry's childhood wasn't as terrible as the ones shared in THE GLASS CASTLE or THE SOUND OF GRAVEL???

Regardless, this book immediately engrossed me to the extent I neglected housework and sleep several e
While I admire Terry's continuous support of a mother who was neither always attentive or mothering, I couldn't totally wrap my head around it. As a child who was constantly threatened with the possibility of being taken to an aunt's to live, I think I would have been crushed had it happened. And Terry is, but she always prefers life with her mother, no matter how chaotic and short of love, to anything else. All of this I wanted to be uplifting, but instead it was depressing, maybe because it to ...more
Nancy Narma
Jun 07, 2012 Nancy Narma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“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
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
Feb 20, 2017 Dodey rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Depressing, and I'm not sure why, but something just didn't ring true to my ears. What 10 year old thinks in terms of greek gods and goddesses. Might have been more interesting if she hadn't been trying so hard to make her mother look good. I can understand how an adult might think that way in hindsight, but not a child.
Feb 10, 2014 Terri rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 08, 2011 Heidi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 21, 2011 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 24, 2011 Kristen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading the synopsis of this book, I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know if it would be a memoir with Terry complaining about her childhood or one that was constantly putting a positive spin on things. Fortunately, Terry Helwig does neither. She presents her story: a daughter who is the caregiver with a troubled mother as the matriarch of the family. Hearing Terry tell her story is incredible, not only because of what happened, but how she writes about it. She does it with feeling, but it' ...more
Aug 24, 2011 Aubrey rated it really liked it  ·  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
Sara Kovach
Apr 19, 2012 Sara Kovach rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012, memoir
What a compelling and heart-tugging story that Terry Helwig tells of her childhood!! She allows us a glimpse into her tumultuous life. She is raised in a dysfunctional family, with a troubled mother, who moves them around more often than not, wherever and whenever it provides her with some gain. She basically raises her many sisters in the homes of her various fathers and/or grandparents.

As opposed to many memoirs, I found Helwig's writing to be very refreshing and honest. Although her life is
Nov 26, 2014 Lauren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 31, 2012 Kim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Aug 01, 2011 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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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Madison Mega-Mara...: moonlight on linoleum 1 2 Jul 30, 2012 07:40PM  
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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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