From the opening word of her memoir, Lies My Mother Never Told Me, to the final punctuation, Kaylie Jones puts her life in full view for all the world to read knowing full well her self-esteem, dignity, and emotional health will cannon fodder and become casualties of war. A war fought on the home front that ambushes, out flanks, and attacks her head on. The enemy is alcoholism and Gloria Jones, Kaylie's mother, is the face of that adversary. Being the daughter of a WWII veteran, Kaylie soldiers on to resurrect her life from the ashes of the battlefield.
Although Gloria Jones may be seen as an evil character from a Disney movie, Kaylie portrays her realistically, yet tactfully does not post blame. Gloria, despite her horrible comments to Kaylie throughout her life is seen for her physical beauty, grace, sense of humor, and addiction that consumes the real Gloria and those around her. The brutal honesty in which Kaylie writes is an attribute to her as a writer, person, and healer. How does a child hearing numerous times, "If I had to pick between having your father of having you, I would pick your father" and not be cut to the core? This sets the pattern of verbal abuse Kaylie endures at the hands of her mother's addiction. It would be easy for Kaylie to blame her mother, but she doesn't. Kaylie does what all children of alcoholics or children whose parents are divorcing do. She blames herself and suppresses the hurt and anger in order to keep the peace. Having had years of experience, therapy, a supporting husband, and a tough, strong-willed, and insightful daughter, Kaylie is able to filter through the rubble and never place blame, but enlighten us to the true evil mustache-twisting antagonist, alcohol.
Kaylie, herself, turned to the bottle as a way to cope with life. Her entire life she was groomed that alcohol is not evil, but the people who could not handle it are. Alcoholics are degenerates who are homeless and whose lives are in shambles. After all, her father wrote several novels while drinking heavily. That was "proof" he wasn't an alcoholic. Her mother functioned normally, had a wonderful husband and social life, and she drank heavily. Wasn't that "proof" she wasn't an alcoholic? They were alcoholics and Kaylie became one herself, but realized that despite her family's definition of an alcoholic, she faced the sobering truth and admitted it.
Despite all the horrible things Kaylie experienced at the hands of alcohol, including the loss of her father as a teenager, she propels herself upward after hitting rock bottom. What Kaylie experienced was the control that "demon-alcohol" has on a person. As she starts her path to sobriety, Kaylie is met head-on and is refuted by her mother. Kaylie breaks away, not from her mother, but the stranglehold alcohol has on her life. Just as she described, alcoholics circle the wagons to defend their need to maintain their lifestyle. That lifestyle often flourishes because the alcoholic surrounds themselves with other alcoholics or enablers. Kaylie, with her resurrected self-esteem, need for normalcy, and sheer desire to be well, breaks free again. She does so not only for herself, but for the survival of her family.
Lies My Mother Never Told Me is a self-help book brilliantly disguised as a memoir. Whether you are an adult child of alcoholic parents (ACOA), or someone who grew up with other issues, Lies My Mother Never Told Me will contain something for anyone searching for a road map to find solace in their life. Kaylie proves no matter what demons you face, there are always options to free yourself and get your life back on track.
Kaylie has changed her life round and now assists others to better their lives as a teacher, writer, and friend. She is a dedicated teacher who goes to any lengths in helping her students achieve their goals. With the publishing of Lies My Mother Never Told Me, Kaylie is able to extend her assistance beyond the classroom, right into the reader's home. Lies My Mother Never Told Me is a reflection into the past, and outline of the present, and a guide into the future. What could be better than a hand-held therapy session for your personal demons than a friendly copy of Lies My Mother Never Told Me, or thousands of dollars and countless hours of therapy with a stranger? Thank you Kaylie for helping me understand alcoholism and making sense of what I experienced as a child of alcoholic parents. You have given me insight into not only the mind of an alcoholic, but also myself, and why I reacted and did the things I couldn't understand. Lies My Mother Never Told Me can do the same for you if you read with the same openness and honesty Kaylie writes with.