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BOOK – The Storyteller’s Daughter by Maria Goodin

| 2 February 2013 | Reply

Published by Allen & Unwin
Published November 2012
Rrp: AUD$27.99
Reviewed by Trulie Pinnegar

Storytellers Daughter - Maria Goodin Book

The stories that our heroine was told throughout childhood about her birth, infancy, and general upbringing can be taken as quaint and sweet when you first come across them in this tale. You may even be thinking ‘what a novel way for a mother to encourage and enhance her little one’s imagination’. However, as the book follows this little one into older childhood, adolescence and adulthood your belief of this is challenged somewhat as you experience with her, her realisation of the difference between imagination and truth.

Another thing we experience alongside the heroine is the exploration of a daughter’s feelings towards her mother. Loving and devoted? Towards the end of the book yes, but as the truth emerges, we experience a daughter struggling to comprehend how a parent could hide so much truth from her child; a truth that would have made that child happier as she grew older; a truth that the child always felt was out there; a truth that she will never be able to share with her mother as it becomes apparent that the mother’s truth is very different to reality.

As a result, our heroine vows to focus her adult life on the scientific seeking and proving of facts. She settles for a partner who does the same; one who leaves nothing to chance, does not belief in fate, elaboration or anything else as equally fiction so as to never be betrayed. She takes solace in this relationship as she peels away more and more fictional layers to reveal a truth she never thought possible. She plans to distance herself from her perpetrator, deciding to live her adulthood the way she decides, a life based on actuality.

At one stage the reader is left wondering which truth to actually believe – the storyteller or the daughter? Does the daughter have disturbed memories of her upbringing, meaning she has twisted the truth in such a way as to have lived a fantasy childhood? Has she always known the real truth and are her memories of it slanted so as to protect herself from what really happened? Is she blaming her mother so as to avoid bringing the sordid memories from her sub-conscious into her conscious? Is it she who is ill and not her mother?

But as her search for facts and her questioning of her mother’s motives reveal previously untold stories that, like the pieces of a jigsaw, fit together and make our heroine feel whole again, so this leads her down a path of empathy and understanding that she never would have thought possible. She may not be able to forget, but she certainly learns forgiveness and with that, gains a new perspective on her past and as a result gains an intuitive view of life, love and her future.

Goodin takes us on a journey that encourages us to look inside ourselves and explore what our truth is. We may share our life with someone and remember truth in completely different ways. Is that a bad thing? Not always. Is it a good thing? Not always. Is it right? Only when we acknowledge that our truths may be different and only when our intentions are of non-maleficence.

Category: Book Reviews

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