Crossroads: A Memoir
by Ellie Connelly
Ellie Connelly is grappling with problems that began long ago, when she was the least favored child in her family. Her older sister, saddled with her care, endlessly teased and tormented her. Her parents were mean-spirited and perverse, and they mentally and physically abused her. As she grew up, Connelly suffered from gynecological illness that caused her pain, required expensive medications, and made her third childbirth perilous. She had many women friends, enjoyed professional success as an administrator in a real estate office, and was elected to her town council. But her relationships with men were always extremely problematic. Her first husband, father of her two daughters, proved cold and eventually, unfaithful. Other lovers included a kindly workmate locked in a dreary marriage, who made promises he couldn't keep, and an older man whom she married, who betrayed her after they had a son together and she had nursed him through major illness. These failures and others created a burden of guilt and sadness.
Now in her fifties, Connelly has gained some sense of empowerment through her ability to keep a journal and compose poetry. Written in a chronological, rather breezy style, probably taken from her journals, the book shows her too often rushing through events without considering consequences or caring for herself when she should have. Her memoir therefore seems to be a cry for help, affirmation, and a safer path rolled into one. Writing about her experiences was probably therapeutic for the author, but though Connelly hints of a sequel offering a brighter picture, readers looking for silver linings will not find them inCrossroads. Still, some women who have faced abuse and rejection may find it helpful.