didaink's Reviews > Loud in the House of Myself: Memoir of a Strange Girl

Loud in the House of Myself by Stacy Pershall
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Apr 25, 2016

it was amazing
Read in September, 2011

Rarely do I land upon a book that changes me as a mother... but, then came Loud in the House of Myself aka LITHOM.

As a mother of a girl who is already struggling with body image at age eight, who is also intensely emotional and creative, I found that it was initially excruciating to read the details of what this young girl experienced. Stacy as a child was just too familiar. I had to stop reading for a while because it was too painful to idly sit and watch this tormented young girl unravel under the watch of her Arkansan family in a town the size of a Wal-Mart Supercenter. Besides, the way I stumbled upon Stacy Pershall and her memoir was fortuitous. I went to Barnes & Noble in Little Rock that afternoon to buy only David Sedaris’ latest book and walked out holding a copy of LITHOM with “Strange Girl Army!” inscribed in pink ink, the author’s infectious smile and mural of colorful tattoos indelibly part of my experience in the South.

Here was my other problem but the reason I picked it back up: I loved the way Stacy wrote, her ability to paint the painful details of her childhood with such an honest, almost comical, stroke that I couldn’t stop caring about this little girl and how much she loved her mother and father. I fell in love with her one-of-a-kind quirks (the love for Hot Wheels instead of dolls, how she wanted to be Schroeder from Peanuts with a lit candle on her tiny toy piano, her love for Sugar Daddies, my all-time favorite candy from the 70s).

She was smart and full of what I call “the sillies,” doing things her own unique way as a child, writing stories that showed her creativity, and in the beginning her mother accepted all of it… all of her eccentricities. She probably even celebrated them and laughed a little too loud about them like most every mother does who thinks her child is the cutest kid in the room.

But, as I continued to read, I grew angry with her mother, her father too, for their negligence in accepting their beautiful, artistic, tormented daughter as she got older, for ignoring what they, no doubt, had observed all along, for never even going along for moral support when she got a tattoo that held meaning for her when she reached adulthood -- just to hold her hand, if nothing else, even if they didn’t agree with it.

Then, it hit me. They had absolutely no tools by which to reach her. It was as if she had fallen into a well, calling out for her parents, but they didn’t have the right kind of flashlight to see her or the right rope ladder to pull her out, and she and they kept slipping off the rungs back into the dark.

There were no books like LITHOM in their world, or for that matter, on any bookshelf in the South, let alone Prairie Grove, Arkansas. There was no Amazon, no Goodreads… and even the almighty Oprah, who Stacy’s mother might have turned to at the time on the topic of eating disorders, was of no help either, Oprah herself obsessed with diets and fitting into her “skinny” jeans as American women cheered her on.

This book has changed me for the better, but I resisted it at first… because I was scared – scared to look too closely at things a mother doesn’t want to really see or confront. Had Stacy’s writing not been so rhythmic, so intelligent, so genuine, I would have stopped and gone back to reading David Sedaris for kicks after carpool, math homework and dirty dishes.

I now encourage mothers to read this book to better understand our girls and boys, to understand mental illness and our healthcare system better. We, their parents, need to seek out memoirs like Stacy’s and educate ourselves about things that are too painful most days to contemplate. When it’s too painful and we want to look away, that’s how we know that we need to keep reading. This is how we learn what type of ladder or flashlight we should have in our parenting tool shed. We may slip and fall until we find the right one, but then we just make another trip back to Home Depot or the closest Wal-Mart Supercenter.
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02/16 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Laura What a beautiful review!

didaink Laura wrote: "What a beautiful review!" Thank you, Laura. I had never picked up a memoir anything like this before, but now I have a hard time walking through the Memoir section en route to my beloved Fiction spot without thinking about LITHOM.

Stacy Pershall I love love love you. So glad I happened to swing by that B&N on my book tour! It was truly a random occurrence -- my friend and I were driving past and I said, "Hey, let's go in there and sign some books!" xox

message 4: by Blythe (new) - added it

Blythe Great review. I look forward to reading this...though that sounds a bit strange to say, since it seems like a painful book.

message 5: by didaink (last edited Feb 29, 2016 02:45PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

didaink Thanks for reading my review of LITHOM. I think you will learn so much from this book, and if you're a mother (girl or boy) it is truly an invaluable read.

Mariah Currently reading this as a bonus read for the book club Diversity in All Forms! Feel free to join in the discussion :)

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