Book review: The Sitting Swing

Irene Watson’s memoir The Sitting Swing: Finding Wisdom to Know the Difference is a heart-wrenching novel about digging into your past to make the most of your future.

Irene’s story begins at Avalon Center, a rehabilitation facility in Quebec. Her reasons for being there are vague: she doesn’t have an addiction, but wants to be able to speak the Avalon language with many friends who have spent time at the center. Irene plans to use the 28 days as a personal retreat, reflecting on her life and making a difference on her own.

For me, the most interesting part of the book– although the most heartbreaking to read– was when Irene recounted her childhood. The only daughter of an overprotective mother and largely standoff-ish father, Irene’s childhood consisted of a very small world. She grew up in Alberta, Canada, suffering from emotional and physical abuse from both family and acquaintances.

There were times when this book was difficult to read– my heart actually hurt for Irene and the pain & misunderstanding she endured as a child. It also opened my eyes a little bit to the effects of a mother who won’t let her child out of her sight. Granted, my children are small and still need to be in my sight for the time being, but it still gave me pause to read that section of the book.

Without giving away the ending, I will say that Irene’s time at Avalon ended up being productive and ultimately, very rewarding. She was able to reconcile with her past in order to make clear decisions about her future– something which we all, I’m sure, could learn from. I really liked the book and I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys memoirs and stories of redemption.

Counting My Kisses: I’m thankful I had the opportunity to review this book! I enjoyed it, and I know there are a few pieces from it that I’ll still be reflecting on years from now. I think the title– The Sitting Swing— is great, and the subtitle is especially fitting: finding the wisdom to know the difference. Isn’t that life in a nutshell?

Disclosure: I was compensated to write this review. All thoughts & opinions stated in this review are my own.


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