Nunzilla Was My Mother and My Stepmother Was a Witch
on Aug. 20, 2010
Sorry it took me so long to get around to writing this review. But I am glad that others have said it better than me. This is an encouraging and hopeful story of survival of a child who was dropped into an alien world at the age of four after her mother had a nervous breakdown. What's in a name? Today's Terry was called "Terfina" by the abusive nuns who took her into "St. Ann's Infant Asylum" in Columbus, Ohio. She thought that was her name until many years later she discovered her name in her native Italian language had been "Concetta" (Gelormino). "Terry" symbolizes the author's marvelous adaptability, making lemonade out of the many bitter lemons "the cruelty of strangers" would deal her, as she adapted to the culturally insensitive and blunted atmosphere of asylum and orphanage. Preserving her sanity, personality and creativity in such adverse situations proves what Humanistic Psychology teaches: each one of us has within ourselves the capacity to grow and to heal "with a little help from our friends." Terry's indomitable spirit helped her find helping hands, faces and hearts on the inhospitable plains of the her habitat. She preserved her sense of humor, her playfulness, her goodness, and her sensitivity in a truly miraculous way. Read the poems she wrote and with which she adorns some chapter introductions.
I would strongly recommend this book as healing for all those who have had similar experiences, and as inspiration to parents, educators, social workers and therapists and all those who want to learn about what helps and hinders a growing child. And to all of us who want to make peace with our past.