Josephine's Reviews > The Source of All Things: A Memoir

The Source of All Things by Tracy Ross
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's review
Apr 21, 2011

it was ok
Read in April, 2011

When you pick up a memoir like Tracy Ross’ “The Source of All Things,” you almost feel like you can’t say anything bad about it because it’s about something really dark and horrible that happened to her…and by default, it’s like you’re expected to applaud her courage for writing about such a traumatic period in her life. But…I almost got the sense that she was just skimming the surface — as if she were afraid to dive deeper…and that’s at odds with what she ultimately did, which was to confront her stepfather about the years of sexual abuse she suffered through with him.

When you read this memoir, you understand the conflict — Tracy loved her stepfather.

When he came into her family’s lives, it was like he helped to fill this void that had been left when Tracy’s father died from a brain aneurysm.

And in the beginning, he was this perfect, devoted father whom she loved more than anything.

But as she writes about all of this — and about how his nighttime visits shattered her sense of safety and trust — you do get the sense that she’s holding back from looking too deeply at the past. The narrative skips very quickly from this betrayal to her running away to a period of time in her young adulthood where she’s off trekking through the glaciers of Alaska or guiding teens through the deserts of Utah…and it just never feels like she got on that road to healing because none of them got the therapy they needed to recover from this.

And, again, I’m reluctant to say anything but positive things because of Ross’ bravery in writing about this…but at the same time, this is definitely one book that I wish I’d taken a pass on — not because of the subject matter (because you all know that the types of books I read are about people who have endured the most horrendous types of trauma and yet persevered and survived) but because of the way the book was writen.
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