WINNER, 2019 Next Generation Indie Books (Memoir: Overcoming Adversity)
SILVER MEDAL, 2019 IBPA Ben Franklin Awards, Best New Voice (Nonfiction)
FINALIST, 2019 National Indie Excellence Awards (for Memoir and Regional Nonfiction: The West)
From the outside, Vanya’s childhood looked idyllic: she rode horses with her father in the solitude of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and attended flamboyant operas with her mother in the city. But life for Vanya and her family turned dark when ghosts from her father’s service on a Pacific destroyer in World War II tore her family apart.
Set in postwar California, this is the story of a girl who tried to make sense of her parents’ unpredictable actions—from being left to lie in her own blood-soaked diaper while her Christian Scientist mother prayed, refusing to get medical help to watching her father writhe on his bed in the detox ward, his hands and feet tethered with leather straps—by immersing herself in the beauty and solitude of the wilderness around her. It was only decades later, when memories began to haunt her, that Vanya was able to look back with unflinching honesty and tender compassion for her family and herself. In this elegant, haunting narrative, Erickson invites us to witness it all—from the gripping, often disturbing, truths of her childhood to her ultimate survival.