Kirkus Book Review

December 08, 2015

Kirkus Book Review

An Australian woman questions her marriage while bringing self-healing into her busy, modern life in this debut memoir. 

Feeling unsatisfied and unloved in her marriage, author Banyan left her husband and country for a vacation of self-discovery. As a child, she experienced horrific sexual and verbal abuse at the hands of her father and brother. Later, while raising four boys, motherhood anchored her as she wrestled her demons, but she needed to reconcile her past.

She spent three weeks at a tropical resort in Mauritius, calling upon an extensive catalog of spiritual practices, including Lakota prayers, mandalas, and visual meditation. An array of locals, resort employees, and fellow travelers joined her to share wisdom and encouragement. Here she offers a range of artifacts from her life—loving emails she sent to her husband, letters of forgiveness to her parents.

She returned home, ready to bring her spiritual growth to her daily life. While her husband welcomed her back, others in her life were less quick to embrace her. The emotional fallout of abandoning her family and friends for nearly a month hit Banyan hard, and she struggled to find the balance of being true to herself and meeting the needs of all of her loved ones. Recording her experiences became the vehicle necessary to hold her own.

When it comes to her past, Banyan writes about abuse in searing detail, and readers may believe that this is a recovery memoir. But instead, the author chronicles the minutiae of her daily life, especially as she defends her journey to family and friends.

Clocking in at more than 700 pages, the original momentum of her unhappy marriage and the horrid abuse she experienced is quickly lost. The author vividly describes Australian countryside and beach vacations.

Kirkus Indie, Kirkus Media LLC, 6411 Burleson Rd., Austin, TX 78744

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