Book Review: When Ties Break by Margaret Norton

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

"This is the true story of my life. It is a story of emotional and physical abuse, loss and pain, the struggle to find myself and to understand God. It is a story of survival and rebirth, and it is my hope it will be an inspiration to those who are discouraged, desperate to find their way, or whose faith in God has grown weak."
Beginning with the death of her father, Margaret Norton's memoir, When Ties Break, examines what led her brother and most of her remaining family to sever ties with her and her children.
The author recalls growing up with a preacher (her father) and a mother who was mentally ill and absent from the home during much of Margaret's childhood. Her strict upbringing keeps her sheltered and, in many instances, naive about the outside world. Through it all, she expresses love for her parents, yet she wants to escape the oppressive environment.
Thus begins Margaret's journey down a bumpy path. An abusive husband, abortion, divorce, drugs, drinking, casual sex, remarriage, sexual abuse, drug addiction, homosexuality: these are a few of the roadblocks Margaret encounters. Despite the setbacks, she bounces back from each episode with a renewed sense of self and God.
Norton compares several incidents to selections or quotes from Forrest Gump. Similar thoughts crossed my mind while reading the book. How many tragic incidents can happen to one person? And perhaps more importantly, why do bad things happen to good people? Some of those "happenings" are a result of making poor choices, but the lesson conveyed is that the struggle will make you stronger if you maintain faith.
The 260-page memoir provides quick reading, although some of the same information, especially regarding faith and the rehashing of past incidents, is repeated, perhaps too much. For this reviewer, it slowed the natural rhythm of the storytelling.
If you are searching for answers about your own life, or if you need inspiration or reason to connect with a higher power, Margaret Norton's memoir will show you that perseverance and determination make a person stronger.
Margaret's book is available through Tate Publishing and will be available on August 3rd at Amazon.
Review by LuAnn Schindler. Read more of LuAnn's writing at


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