Heather Siegel was six years old when her mother disappeared, sending her father into a tailspin that took Heather and her siblings down with him— from a comfortable suburban home to a barely habitable basement apartment, a dark world they soon found themselves fighting to return to from the exile of foster care, then fighting even harder to escape.
Forty years later, Heather Siegel tells the remarkable story of how she and her siblings, Jaz and Greg, banded together to find out what happened to their mother and fight their way Out From the Underworld with nothing but their wits, determination, unbreakable bonds and gifts for humor and compassion to sustain them. A wrenching, inspiring story filled with heartbreak, hope and love, Out From The Underworld will move you to laughter and tears.
We need more books like Heather Siegel's Out from the Underworld. There's a lot of crap that goes on in the world, but it is possible to move beyond the bad things that happen. For the times when it's difficult to see a way out, it is extremely valuable to have someone either to relate their own experience or to guide and/or support you on your journey.
When their parents split, their mother first took Heather and her siblings away. Then their father found them and took them back - not to their house, but to the
cave - er, make that the below-ground 'apartment' that was the basement of their paternal grandparents' home. There was bad blood between the father and his parents, so there was little interaction between all the residents of the house.
Inevitably, the children were taken into foster care. As good as it was to get them out of the all-too-human environment in which their father lived - well, foster care is a roll of the dice. There are many good experiences, I am sure, but most of the ones we hear about are iffy or downright dangerous, and the foster children jump from the frying pan into the fire.
Some time after the fact, the siblings learned that there mother had actually died and they had to fight to be able to go to see where she was buried. But they overcame those obstacles and hopefully received a measure of closure.
Siegel's writing style is on the money. She writes about her experiences conversationally, without being either detached or maudlin. If you enjoy 'true life' books or 'light at the end of the tunnel' (my term) books, you will enjoy Out from the Underworld by Heather Siegel.
Heather Siegel holds an MFA in nonfiction writing from The New School. Her work has appeared on Salon.com and in The Mother Magazine and Author Magazine, as well as in various trade publications. She was a finalist for the 2010 Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary Award in Nonfiction Writing, the 2011 San Francisco Writers Conference Nonfiction Writing Award, the Carolina Wren Press 2012 Doris Bakwin Award and the 2012 Kore Press First Book Award. A multi-creative person with interests in the arts, nutrition, health and beauty, she has founded several independent businesses, including a coffeehouse, a café, an organic juice bar and a natural beauty bar. She currently lives with her husband, Jon, and daughter, Julia, in the woods of Long Island in a house filled with light.
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(Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher via iRead Book Tours in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.)