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@Download Epub · She Left Me the Gun: My Mother's Life Before Me È A chilling work of psychological suspense and forensic memoir, She Left Me the Gun is a tale of true transformation the story of a young woman who reinvented herself so completely that her previous life seemed simply to vanish, and of a daughter who transcends her mother s fears and reclaims an abandoned past One day I will tell you the story of my life, promises Emma Brockes s mother, and you will be amazed Brockes grew up hearing only pieces of her mother s past stories of a rustic childhood in South Africa, glimpses of a bohemian youth in London and yet knew that crucial facts were still in the dark A mystery to her friends and family, Paula was clearly a strong, self invented woman glamorous, no nonsense, and frequently out of place in their quaint English village In awe of Paula s larger than life personality, Brockes never asked why her mother emigrated to England or why she never returned to South Africa never questioned the source of her mother s strange fears or tremendous strengths Looking to unearth the truth after Paula s death, Brockes begins a dangerous journey into the land and the life her mother fled from years before Brockes soon learns that Paula s father was a drunk megalomaniac who terrorized Paula and her seven half siblings for years After finally mustering the courage to take her father to court, Paula is horrified to see the malevolent man vindicated of all charges As Brockes discovers, this crushing defeat left Paula with a choice take her own life, or promise herself never to be intimidated or unhappy again Ultimately she chooses life and happiness by booking one way passage to London but not before shooting her father five times, and failing to kill him Smuggling the fateful gun through English customs would be Paula s first triumph in her new life She Left Me the Gun carries Brockes to South Africa to meet her seven aunts and uncles, weighing their stories against her mother s silences Brockes learns of the violent pathologies and racial propaganda in which her grandfather was inculcated, sees the mine shafts and train yards where he worked as an itinerant mechanic, and finds in buried government archives the court records proving his murder conviction years before he first married Brockes also learns of the turncoat stepmother who may have perjured herself to save her husband, dooming Paula and her siblings to the machinations of their hated father Most of all, She Left Me the Gun reveals how Paula reinvented herself to lead a full, happy life As she follows her mother s footsteps back to South Africa, Brockes begins to find the wellsprings of her mother s strength, the tremendous endurance which allowed Paula to hide secrets from even her closest friends and family But as the search through cherished letters and buried documents deepens, Brockes realizes with horror that her mother s great success as a parent was concealing her terrible past and that unearthing these secrets threatens to undo her mother s work A beguiling and unforgettable journey across generations and continents, She Left Me the Gun chronicles Brockes s efforts to walk the knife edge between understanding her mother s unspeakable traumas and embracing the happiness she chose for her daughter From BBC Radio Book of the Week Warm and moving memoir in which the author uncovers dark family secrets.Books of the Times Family Ghosts, Kept at Bay NYT review From BBC Radio Book of the Week Warm and moving memoir in which the author uncovers dark family secrets.Books of the Times Family Ghosts, Kept at Bay NYT review Although the author expresses herself well, the book needs editing Too many events are thrown in in an unclear fashion The author s family is large and I could not keep everyone straight, other than the author s mother s seven half siblings, at least when they were identified with their given name A mother is spoken of and you wonder is that the author s mother or her mother s mother or..which mother There are wives and cousins and friends and enemies galore Few had the same opinion abo Although the author expresses herself well, the book needs editing Too many events are thrown in in an unclear fashion The author s family is large and I could not keep everyone straight, other than the author s mother s seven half siblings, at least when they were identified with their given name A mother is spoken of and you wonder is that the author s mother or her mother s mother or..which mother There are wives and cousins and friends and enemies galore Few had the same opinion about a given event The whole story becomes confusing, and it is unclear what information is reliable Squabbles and drinking influence everyone s story And yet, in any family, don t we all have different versions of the given events Life in South Africa is also thrown in, with some brief sections on Nelson Mandela and a few other political figures, but what is the purpose of this book Is it to relate how historical events affect families No, I don t think so Is it the author s attempt to understand her mother and her own family She says that is why she is writing it, but then why does she say she will return but doesn t Or is this simply someone writing a memoir about their family Ahhhh, this will make an exciting book I ve got a story to tell Everyone nowadays wants to write their own memoir The basic story here is about a dysfunctional family, about alcoholism and sexual child abuse, and yes, the events are shocking My guess is that the author needed to work through her own loss of her mother after her death That IS reasonable, and it IS great to hear of her mother s strength of character, but I see this as a personal story, not one that I can empathize with Maybe that is my fault rather than the author s, but that is how I reacted Maybe the author through writing the book reached closure, but do you write a book and publish it when you are doing this for yourself I, the reader, am left confused and without closure This book will perhaps beappreciated by one who has dealt with child abuse and alcoholism in their own family for them, this may be a helpful book In the audiobook the author reads her own book, and she does this very well She has a British accent, since her Mom had her after she had immigrated to England England was her home if never really her mother s It is interesting kids should realize their parents have had a whole life before they ever arrived on the scene and often we know very little about that previous life Do we ask and do our parents tell us I did like this book, but it should have been better organized, made less confusing and cleaned up a bit, so for me it ended up just being OK Often, but not always, I did like how she strung together her words How an author writes is important to me Some authors have such a talent and others just don t I do think I would try another book by this author Not exactly the work of chilling suspense promised in the blurb but that s OK What I enjoyed about this book was the way in which the author conveyed that disconcerting feeling that your parents are both people you know and, at the same time, historical characters with a whole life before you existed. This was a difficult book to read on several levels First, it describes the worst imaginable situation for children in a highly dysfunctional family there were many things in it that just plain made me sick.Style wise, the book jumped around a bit as the author embarked on a journey of discovery about her mother s life before having a husband and child of her own There were so many different people involved in the story, and so many different accounts of what happened that I had difficulty fo This was a difficult book to read on several levels First, it describes the worst imaginable situation for children in a highly dysfunctional family there were many things in it that just plain made me sick.Style wise, the book jumped around a bit as the author embarked on a journey of discovery about her mother s life before having a husband and child of her own There were so many different people involved in the story, and so many different accounts of what happened that I had difficulty following it at times.Still, the author s journey to understand her mother s before life before was engaging and illuminating in some ways