Thirteen-year-old Lisa learned early in her life the disturbing, gut-wrenching pain betrayal brings when it first hits you. After being summoned to the kitchen one day and told to take a seat by her parents, Peggy and Larry, Lisa saw betrayal fly past her and slam down on the table in front of her, sitting there like a beacon with flashing lights calling all parental misery to stand before her. "What in the HELL is this?!", screamed her mother. Lisa knew she was in deep, deep trouble - it was her diary! Thinking quickly, Lisa began to laugh and told her parents that the contents of the diary were not true, it was just a play she was writing for school. But, her mother knew it was a lie as there it sat, penned in Lisa's own hand-writing, tattling on her like a small child she couldn't defend herself from. Her parents thought the writings were vile and disgusting, just filthy words to them that didn't belong coming out of their daughter's mind and actions.
To Lisa, these mere words were her comfort, like being enveloped in the safety and warmth of a favourite blanket. Words that had meaning and exuded feelings she couldn't deal with on her own. This private diary was the "person" she didn't have to talk too. Her parents would never understand and Lisa knew she was on her way to hell. She felt that everything she had ever trusted in, in her life suddenly became a lie, and had always been a lie and that she just happened to be a fool that didn't catch on soon enough. Lisa felt "...abandoned...stupid, and so alone - surrounded by her so-called family." Where was the concerned, helpful, loving, and understanding voice of her parents? Weren't all parents supposed to have these feelings for their children? Being raised in a Catholic-based family, Lisa supposed, made her parents exempt from possessing these skills. After all, what would the Priest think?
Besides, early on, Lisa felt a sense of "ridicule" from her mother and had quickly learned that undesirable behaviour brought a "quick spanking, a quick pop to the mouth, and back-handing." Unfortunately, Lisa suffered through a lot of this type of physical punishment as she, admittedly, "...had quite the smart mouth." However, Peggy did let up on this type of punishment when Lisa got braces as she was attempting to save on her own financial expenditure. Now, the largest thumb her parents had on Lisa and her younger sister, Sue, was "fear."
Lisa's family wasn't the huggie-kissie type, as kids, you just assumed you were loved because you had a roof over your head, clean clothing, and food on the table.
In 1976, two major events happened in Lisa's life: the first being the birth of her new baby brother who Lisa felt was an intrusion into their already settled family of four; and the second, a new girl in town named Selina to whom Lisa navigated toward like a magnet. This girl exuded respect, was tall, blonde, and had a flawless complexion. Lisa was immediately awestruck and wanted desperately to be part of her life. After offering to help Selina in sewing class, Selina began to notice Lisa and called her name from the school bus when it passed by. Lisa wasn't exactly in the "in-crowd"at school so she was elated when her friendship with Selina took off like a pair of winged wild geese soaring high together. Lisa finally felt included, noticed, wanted, needed and these feelings she had waited a long time to feel. Acceptance was finally hers! It was this relationship with Selina and the things they found to do together that were the basis of the "evil diary" her parents were so up in arms about. Lisa had recorded everything they did together and everywhere they went together.
This was a beautiful coming-of-age memoir that shows one lonely girls need to be loved and accepted multiplied in ways the reader would never have thought possible. I was mesmerized by the unique writing style of Ms. Vaughn and how she could evoke in me emotions of pain, fear, sorrow, joy, happiness and everything that Lisa felt. I will remember Lisa's story for a long time to come! By the end of the memoir, you will completely understand why the title: "The Gifted Ones" is so appropriate for this special memoir.
For more information about Lisa's book please go to: http://www.thegiftedonesmemoir.blogspot.com/
***Special Note: I'd like to say a special "thank you" to Lisa Vaughn for asking me to review her book and sending me this copy.***
June 13, 2011