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Off Kilter: A Woman's Journey to Peace with Scoliosis, Her Mother, and Her Polish Heritage
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Off Kilter: A Woman's Journey to Peace with Scoliosis, Her Mother, and Her Polish Heritage

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4.5  ·  Rating details ·  14 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
Growing up in the 1950s was not "Ozzie & Harriet" and "Father Knows Best" for Linda C. Wisniewski. Unlike the characters on her favorite TV shows, Linda learned to be quiet, atone for the sins of others, and just plain suffer as a way of life. Only when she came to terms with her Polish Catholic heritage, her physical deformity, and her widowed mother did she find inne ...more
Paperback, 164 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Pearlsong Press
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Betty
Nov 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone
Linda Wisniewski tells her own story in a very personal way. She suffers from scoliosis which was never treated and finds that her entire life has been as “off kilter” as her spine. A verbally abusive father and an intimidated, detached mother combine to make her household a place of fear and anxiety rather than a place of refuge. Linda grew up as a Polish-American Catholic during the war and post-war years in a community primarily of the same ethnicity and religion. Growing up in the 1950s was ...more
Story Circle Book Reviews
Nov 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
"More than anything, I want to understand," writes Linda Wisniewski toward the beginning of her memoir. She does and she shares it.

Growing up in the Polish neighborhood of factory town Amsterdam, NY, little Linda Ciulik knew things weren't right. Most dads didn't yell all the time, terrifying and verbally abusing their families. Mothers didn't cringe and criticize; other mothers thought their daughters could grow up to do wondrous things on their own. Teachers found the good in a child; teachers
...more
Kathleen Pooler
Sep 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Linda Wisnieski weaves an engaging story of making peace with her mother, her Polish heritage and her diagnosis of scoliosis in Off Kilter. Through concise and descriptive writing, she conveys the deep sadness of her childhood experience living with a verbally-abusive and emotionally-distant father, a long-suffering mother and the physical deformity of scoliosis that conspire to make her feel “off kilter.” Using scoliosis as a metaphor for her life, she shows in graphic detail how all these fact ...more
Sandra
Dec 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Memoirs are all too often written as black and white accounts of a perfect childhood with saintly parents. In Off Kilter, Wisniewski uses multiple shades of gray to portray a confusing childhood with emotionally distant parents. She does this with compassion and the realization that her imperfect parents are the result of their own confusing childhoods. Moments of hurt feelings and loneliness are balanced with moments of discovery, such as a small child seeing sunlight as butter. The writing sty ...more
Maddie James
Nov 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone reflecting on where they came from and why they are who they are
Recommended to Maddie by: the author
A wonderful memoir which made me contemplate my own childhood memories and the relationships I developed as a young child.
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Linda
Dec 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
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Scoliosis Support: Linda's Scoliosis Story 1 3 Feb 12, 2014 08:20AM  
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Linda Wisniewski is a writer in Bucks County, Pa. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and her poems, essay, stories and memoirs have been published regionally and nationally, online and in print.
Linda's memoir, Off Kilter, was published by Pearlsong Press.
More about Linda C. Wisniewski...
“Recently, I’ve begun to think of scoliosis as a metaphor for my life. I’ve struggled to please teachers, employers, parents, boyfriends, husbands, twisting myself into someone I can’t be. I hurt when I do this, because it’s not natural. And it never works. But when I stretch my Self, instead, the results are different. When I’m reaching for my personal goals—to be a good mother, wife, friend and writer—I feel my balance return. And the sense of relief, as I become more the woman I truly am, is simply grand.” 8 likes
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