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Pluck: A Memoir of a Newfoundland Childhood and the Raucous, Terrible, Amazing Journey to Becoming a Novelist

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NATIONAL BESTSELLER FINALIST FOR THE 2022 ATLANTIC BOOK AWARDS' EVELYN RICHARDSON NON-FICTION AWARD A deeply personal account of love's restorative ability as it leads renowned novelist Donna Morrissey through mental illness, family death, and despair to becoming a writer--told with charm and inimitable humour. When Donna Morrissey left the only home she had ever know NATIONAL BESTSELLER FINALIST FOR THE 2022 ATLANTIC BOOK AWARDS' EVELYN RICHARDSON NON-FICTION AWARD A deeply personal account of love's restorative ability as it leads renowned novelist Donna Morrissey through mental illness, family death, and despair to becoming a writer--told with charm and inimitable humour. When Donna Morrissey left the only home she had ever known, an isolated Newfoundland settlement, at age 16, she was ready for adventure. She had grown up without television or telephones but had absorbed the tragic stories and comic yarns of her close-knit family and community. The death of her infant brother marked the family, and years later, Morrissey suffers devastating guilt about the accidental death of her teenage brother, whom she'd enticed to join her in the oilfields. Her misery was compounded by her own misdiagnosis of a terminal illness, all of which contributed to crippling anxiety and an actual diagnosis of PTSD. Many of those events and themes would eventually be transformed and recast as fictional gold in Morrissey's novels. In another writer's hands, Morrissey's account of her personal story could easily be a tragedy. Instead, she combines darkness and light, levity and sadness into her tale, as her indomitable spirit and humour sustain her. Morrissey's path takes her from the drudgery of being a grocery clerk (who occasionally enlivens her shift with recreational drugs) to western oilfields, to marriage and divorce and working in a fish-processing plant to support herself and her two young children. Throughout her struggles, she nourishes a love of learning and language. Morrissey layers her account of her life with stories of those who came before her, a breed rarely seen in the modern world. It centers around iron-willed women: mothers and daughters, wives, sisters, teachers and mentors who find the support, the wind for their wings, outside the bounds given to them by nature. And it is a mysterious older woman she meets in Halifax who eventually unleashes the writer that Morrissey is destined to become. An inspiring and insightful memoir, Pluck illustrates that even when you find yourself unravelling, you can find a way to spin the yarns that will save you--and delight readers everywhere.


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NATIONAL BESTSELLER FINALIST FOR THE 2022 ATLANTIC BOOK AWARDS' EVELYN RICHARDSON NON-FICTION AWARD A deeply personal account of love's restorative ability as it leads renowned novelist Donna Morrissey through mental illness, family death, and despair to becoming a writer--told with charm and inimitable humour. When Donna Morrissey left the only home she had ever know NATIONAL BESTSELLER FINALIST FOR THE 2022 ATLANTIC BOOK AWARDS' EVELYN RICHARDSON NON-FICTION AWARD A deeply personal account of love's restorative ability as it leads renowned novelist Donna Morrissey through mental illness, family death, and despair to becoming a writer--told with charm and inimitable humour. When Donna Morrissey left the only home she had ever known, an isolated Newfoundland settlement, at age 16, she was ready for adventure. She had grown up without television or telephones but had absorbed the tragic stories and comic yarns of her close-knit family and community. The death of her infant brother marked the family, and years later, Morrissey suffers devastating guilt about the accidental death of her teenage brother, whom she'd enticed to join her in the oilfields. Her misery was compounded by her own misdiagnosis of a terminal illness, all of which contributed to crippling anxiety and an actual diagnosis of PTSD. Many of those events and themes would eventually be transformed and recast as fictional gold in Morrissey's novels. In another writer's hands, Morrissey's account of her personal story could easily be a tragedy. Instead, she combines darkness and light, levity and sadness into her tale, as her indomitable spirit and humour sustain her. Morrissey's path takes her from the drudgery of being a grocery clerk (who occasionally enlivens her shift with recreational drugs) to western oilfields, to marriage and divorce and working in a fish-processing plant to support herself and her two young children. Throughout her struggles, she nourishes a love of learning and language. Morrissey layers her account of her life with stories of those who came before her, a breed rarely seen in the modern world. It centers around iron-willed women: mothers and daughters, wives, sisters, teachers and mentors who find the support, the wind for their wings, outside the bounds given to them by nature. And it is a mysterious older woman she meets in Halifax who eventually unleashes the writer that Morrissey is destined to become. An inspiring and insightful memoir, Pluck illustrates that even when you find yourself unravelling, you can find a way to spin the yarns that will save you--and delight readers everywhere.

30 review for Pluck: A Memoir of a Newfoundland Childhood and the Raucous, Terrible, Amazing Journey to Becoming a Novelist

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jane Doucet

    I read Pluck in two sittings over 24 hours. I'm at a loss for words on how much it moved me so I'll just say this: You MUST read this book about this author's unlikely, unplanned journey to becoming a novelist, and how she loved and lost—but also gained—so much along the way. I read Pluck in two sittings over 24 hours. I'm at a loss for words on how much it moved me so I'll just say this: You MUST read this book about this author's unlikely, unplanned journey to becoming a novelist, and how she loved and lost—but also gained—so much along the way.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Carter

    LUV… LUV …LUV …this book! Great title. Great cover image. It’s been quite awhile since I read a book I didn’t want to put down. Words that touched me so. This is a book about a woman’s journey. A journey to become all she could be. To believe in herself. In her talents. Her strengths. To not run from her weaknesses. I can relate to so much of Donna’s life. Her journey. Her words are like poetry at times. They are comforting. They remind you that you can survive “bad” times. While reading this book LUV… LUV …LUV …this book! Great title. Great cover image. It’s been quite awhile since I read a book I didn’t want to put down. Words that touched me so. This is a book about a woman’s journey. A journey to become all she could be. To believe in herself. In her talents. Her strengths. To not run from her weaknesses. I can relate to so much of Donna’s life. Her journey. Her words are like poetry at times. They are comforting. They remind you that you can survive “bad” times. While reading this book it reminded me of another book, by a local Maritime Canadian author, Sheree Fitch “You Won’t Always be This Sad” a book of moments. Those moments of pain and loss, grief and of somehow, and carrying on. Donna grew up in an isolated community in Newfoundland, The Beaches. She didn’t start writing until her thirty-eighth year. This memoir is about the journey that led her there. I loved Donna’s mother! The way she never held her daughter back. It was the kind of mother I longed for. When Donna brought home her grade eleven Mid-term report card, with two failing grades in math and science. Her mother said to her: You can keep failing and spend the rest of your life on the Beaches. Or get your nose back in your books and make something outta yourself. That Christmas she gave Donna a gold-coloured three-piece luggage set. In January Donna turned sixteen. Her mother arranged for Donna to go to Corner Brook and find a job and finish night school. Something deep inside me cried: what would my life have been like if I would have had a mother like that? Instead, I had a mother who didn’t care about my education, and never wanted me to leave home. I cry for that young girl I once was, and all she had wanted so badly. Even though I do not regret who I am today. These are the kinds of moments you’ll find in Donna’s memoir. Stories that touch your heart. Not only in the moments of her life, but in the memories and moments of your own. I too have asked many times: why some survive and others don’t. Then there is her brother’s death. Trauma. How it changes you. Everything measured in terms of before or after the event. She worked in a fish plant. I had, too. Though I never lasted as long as Donna. Donna also managed to do what I never managed to do: get a student loan and go to university. A woman realizing, she could become more than she was. That she had other options. I could also relate to her anxiety. Though as a teen, I gave in and took those tricyclic antidepressants. Thankful for the newer classes of antidepressants: SSRIs and SNRIs. As someone else once said, “You’re got pluck, girl.” I agree! Thank you, Donna!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    I really enjoyed this book. The author appears to be completely authentic and genuine throughout this memoir. Her writing is beautiful and vivid. I laughed out loud, I was shocked and at times I agonized (especially during her visit to the dentist). The entirety of her story held my interest. I am now intrigued to read more of her writings. Audio.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Liz McCoombs

    Earlier in December, I finished reading the book PLUCK - Donna Morrissey's memoir - and felt compelled to write something about it. Even though I am a city girl, born and bred in Halifax, and have always lived in my home province, I found I could relate to much of her life story. However, my maternal ancestral roots lie deep in the coves and waters of Newfoundland, and I find sometimes my turn of phrase mirrors that of my Newfoundland friends. In addition, my dad was a commercial fisherman, so h Earlier in December, I finished reading the book PLUCK - Donna Morrissey's memoir - and felt compelled to write something about it. Even though I am a city girl, born and bred in Halifax, and have always lived in my home province, I found I could relate to much of her life story. However, my maternal ancestral roots lie deep in the coves and waters of Newfoundland, and I find sometimes my turn of phrase mirrors that of my Newfoundland friends. In addition, my dad was a commercial fisherman, so her talk of the waters and wharves struck a chord as well. As the youngest of six, I can recall a lot of roughhousing and shenanigans, although my mother was always there to protect me. Normally, I devour a really good book just as I do a good scoff of salt beef and cabbage, but I found as I got closer to the end of PLUCK, I was reading more and more slowly ... I just didn't want the book to be finished. I'll shut up now, but please know that I feel honoured to have met Donna in person, and I could hear her voice coming at me through the pages of her book (as I do with all of her writings). Kudos to Donna for baring her soul. Written (and sent to Donna's personal page) with much love.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Candice

    I sat down and devoured this in one sitting. A touching story of love, resilience, determination and finding their own path through life. I would absolutely love to sit for a tea and a chat with Donna Morrissey.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Paula Hayden

    Donna Morrissey was born 11 years before me in an outport just 11 hours from my suburban home, but our lives could not have been any more different. Nevertheless, Donna's story resonated with me. The spirit and soul of the land and family that shaped her (and that you may know from reading Donna's novels) embraced me and offered me new insight to the woman and author I thought I knew. Following her life story almost as a voyeur - present, but apart - recognizing the truths that she has fictional Donna Morrissey was born 11 years before me in an outport just 11 hours from my suburban home, but our lives could not have been any more different. Nevertheless, Donna's story resonated with me. The spirit and soul of the land and family that shaped her (and that you may know from reading Donna's novels) embraced me and offered me new insight to the woman and author I thought I knew. Following her life story almost as a voyeur - present, but apart - recognizing the truths that she has fictionalized in other works, respecting and being in awe of her vulnerability, reading "Pluck" was an engrossing, engaging, and enlightening experience. In the vein of "Educated" or "The Glass Castle" the notion that we "become" not only as a result of our experiences, but sometimes in spite of them, "Pluck" is a privileged glimpse into a life that has even more to offer and teach us. Highly recommend!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Vernon Bruce

    I believe things happen for a reason. Some time ago I happened upon 3 of Donna Morrisey's books in a small, free library in my neighbourhood. I loved them all and searched out the remainder of her books which I also thoroughly enjoyed as I felt some sort of connection given I am the youngest of 11 children and have also had some struggles in my life's journey. I ordered "Pluck" and waited patiently. Sadly I have just finished reading "Pluck." I didn't want it to end as it stirred thoughts, feeli I believe things happen for a reason. Some time ago I happened upon 3 of Donna Morrisey's books in a small, free library in my neighbourhood. I loved them all and searched out the remainder of her books which I also thoroughly enjoyed as I felt some sort of connection given I am the youngest of 11 children and have also had some struggles in my life's journey. I ordered "Pluck" and waited patiently. Sadly I have just finished reading "Pluck." I didn't want it to end as it stirred thoughts, feelings and memories of my own journey. One example is when Donna spoke about visualization. I had been an unfeeling, "just the facts" Police Officer for more than 30 years when I was challenged through visualization, to face the janitor who had sexually abused me when I was 10 years old. My initial reaction was that this was nonsense and a waste of time yet because I went ahead with it, I was finally able to feel the hurt and abandonment I had buried and in fact hidden with alcohol for many years. The experience changed my life. As I read about Donna's mother's passing, I was reminded of watching my father take his final breath and feeling nothing. I struggle with that today as I feel guilt and shame as I judge I failed for not caring if that makes sense. Donna shares about her life being pretty brutal at times. What makes me feel humbled by her is the manner in which she faced and continues to face her challenges. By doing so and by her willingness to share those struggles, Donna is making a huge difference in other's lives through her example. Thank you for this and it is my sincere hope that Donna keeps writing...I am already looking forward to reading and learning more. Donna is an amazing woman!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Krista

    To those who have grown up around the ocean, there is something so familiar and soothing about being near the water. It’s a feeling that is easy to describe but impossible to understand unless you yourself have felt it. This is the way that Donna Morrissey’s books make me feel, and Pluck is no exception. Reading this felt like home. Laugh out loud funny and heartbreakingly sad in others. Highly recommended to anyone who recognizes the feeling I mentioned earlier, or anyone who has read Morrissey To those who have grown up around the ocean, there is something so familiar and soothing about being near the water. It’s a feeling that is easy to describe but impossible to understand unless you yourself have felt it. This is the way that Donna Morrissey’s books make me feel, and Pluck is no exception. Reading this felt like home. Laugh out loud funny and heartbreakingly sad in others. Highly recommended to anyone who recognizes the feeling I mentioned earlier, or anyone who has read Morrissey’s work and enjoyed it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Joanne

    I’ve read and loved every one of Donna Morrissey’s novels, and now I know why I loved them so. This is one of the best, most honest and heart-felt memoirs I’ve ever read. Every chapter was brilliant, but the last section, Metamorphosis, blew me away. The story of how the whole family worked together to get through their mother’s illness, and the love and devotion they had for each other, made this a truly remarkable work. I loved every word.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ida Young

    I finished Pluck on Audible. I thoroughly enjoyed the journey. I laughed out loud a few times when I remembered happy times of my own, I hurt for Donna a few times when I remembered hurts of my own, and I reminisced of loud times gone by that have been since silenced. I loved the author's imagery, “voice”, and voice from start to finish. Standing out the most was the young defiant Donna on her martyr’s pillow, the innocent sad Donna with the world on her shoulders, the stund Donna who didn’t see I finished Pluck on Audible. I thoroughly enjoyed the journey. I laughed out loud a few times when I remembered happy times of my own, I hurt for Donna a few times when I remembered hurts of my own, and I reminisced of loud times gone by that have been since silenced. I loved the author's imagery, “voice”, and voice from start to finish. Standing out the most was the young defiant Donna on her martyr’s pillow, the innocent sad Donna with the world on her shoulders, the stund Donna who didn’t see that twist a mile away (probably because she was still an innocent Donna), and the grown-up Donna caring and nurturing all in one when it was most needed. Thanks for sharing a piece of you both openly and honestly. Well done, girl, well done.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Virginia

    Once I got settled, I ordered a slice of lemon mirage pie. "Mirage?” asked the server. “You mean meringue?” Fawk! “Well, if you’ve got no mirage,” I muttered with a full understanding of Father’s reluctance to ever leave the Beaches.The best part of Donna Morrissey’s memoir is the living evocation of Newfoundland speech. I loved hearing her with her family - they were right here with me. I loved, too, comparing her East Coast childhood with mine, how her family and village worked, how everyone cop Once I got settled, I ordered a slice of lemon mirage pie. "Mirage?” asked the server. “You mean meringue?” Fawk! “Well, if you’ve got no mirage,” I muttered with a full understanding of Father’s reluctance to ever leave the Beaches.The best part of Donna Morrissey’s memoir is the living evocation of Newfoundland speech. I loved hearing her with her family - they were right here with me. I loved, too, comparing her East Coast childhood with mine, how her family and village worked, how everyone coped with what they didn’t have and didn’t know. So much of her experiences with shame and guilt - the two ugly sisters, she calls them - mixed with the profound trauma of losing family, felt as real as my own. Some of her flowery descriptive passages left me cold, sounding more creative writing class than seasoned novelist, but it seemed much less noticeable as the book progressed. I also had some qualms about the precisely-remembered events and conversations of her childhood - they definitely display some of the “imagination” she develops as a budding writer. They didn’t feel fabricated, exactly, more enhanced for the enjoyment of the reader, and didn’t work as well for me. However, it’s Donna Morrissey’s truth, and as she says, we believe what we believe because we need to believe it. There are a number of fascinating tangents here, and the author’s experience with a compulsive liar was one of the best depictions I’ve ever come across. She can stretch a yarn, eh?

  12. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    When one of your favourite authors comes out with a memoir, you wonder whether you should read it. You worry whether a peak behind the curtain of their life will influence your impression of them for the better or for the worse. In the case of Donna Morrissey’s “Pluck”, it was definitely for the better. The subtitle – “A Memoir of a Newfoundland Childhood and the Raucous, Terrible, Amazing Journey to becoming a Novelist”, - certainly sets the tone. It is a revealing, no stone left unturned look i When one of your favourite authors comes out with a memoir, you wonder whether you should read it. You worry whether a peak behind the curtain of their life will influence your impression of them for the better or for the worse. In the case of Donna Morrissey’s “Pluck”, it was definitely for the better. The subtitle – “A Memoir of a Newfoundland Childhood and the Raucous, Terrible, Amazing Journey to becoming a Novelist”, - certainly sets the tone. It is a revealing, no stone left unturned look into the often heartbreaking path of her life from its beginnings in a remote Newfoundland coastal village. It chronicles her journey through tragic loss, a battle with anxiety and the struggle to make ends meet as a single mother with two children. The redemptive power of love within families is an underlying tone throughout. “Pluck” also serves as a fascinating study of how being a writer is embedded in one`s psyche as well as fed and informed by the emotional rollercoaster that life can be.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Judy Sollows

    Just finished reading Pluck. I’m overwhelmed with emotion, this book hits all the feels . Truly a read for all book clubs It is the NFLD life that is like no other upbringing. My heart is exploding with so many emotions as I read through it. As I know we are fairly close in age, Donna’s experiences and recollection of her life does have some parallels to the those of us that grew up in the 70’s, the music, the fashion, the Hippie life with drugs and slangs like Far out and Dig it...other than th Just finished reading Pluck. I’m overwhelmed with emotion, this book hits all the feels . Truly a read for all book clubs It is the NFLD life that is like no other upbringing. My heart is exploding with so many emotions as I read through it. As I know we are fairly close in age, Donna’s experiences and recollection of her life does have some parallels to the those of us that grew up in the 70’s, the music, the fashion, the Hippie life with drugs and slangs like Far out and Dig it...other than that , my own life growing up was so different. I have to say that Pluck has left me spell-bound as much as “Educated” did, another one of my fav reads. Well done Donna Morrisey, and I say that with so much respect as this is your memoir, not a made up novel of non-fiction. Your life has given you your voice, and your voice is what we love to read in all of your amazing Novels, and I look forward to whatever you have planned next.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Enid Wray

    A fascinating look at a life lived, and a reminder that our lives don’t always follow a singular straight forward course, that coincidences do happen (both happy and sad), and history sometimes seems to repeat itself. Despite this though, nothing about our lives is pre-determined. This title affirms that Ms. Morrissey is one of my favourite Canadian authors. I do wonder though, whenever I read something like this... How exactly does one remember - with such incredible detail - what happened when A fascinating look at a life lived, and a reminder that our lives don’t always follow a singular straight forward course, that coincidences do happen (both happy and sad), and history sometimes seems to repeat itself. Despite this though, nothing about our lives is pre-determined. This title affirms that Ms. Morrissey is one of my favourite Canadian authors. I do wonder though, whenever I read something like this... How exactly does one remember - with such incredible detail - what happened when they were 8 years old? It does cause me to cast doubt on the line between fact and fiction….

  15. 5 out of 5

    VC Calloway

    I’m a fan of Donna Morrissey’s novels and was pleasantly surprised by her foray into nonfiction. Pluck is an incredible and inspiring true story. I devoured it over one weekend. It’s easy to fall into, and if you like shorter chapters, it's a perfect reading rhythm.  Just as her fiction paints vivid characters, so too does her memoir. You’ll feel like you've been dropped into The Beaches and are experiencing the same events right alongside her.  I found myself smiling, nodding, sniffing throughout I’m a fan of Donna Morrissey’s novels and was pleasantly surprised by her foray into nonfiction. Pluck is an incredible and inspiring true story. I devoured it over one weekend. It’s easy to fall into, and if you like shorter chapters, it's a perfect reading rhythm.  Just as her fiction paints vivid characters, so too does her memoir. You’ll feel like you've been dropped into The Beaches and are experiencing the same events right alongside her.  I found myself smiling, nodding, sniffing throughout it, and even though her path differed from mine, I related to her journey. Honestly, by the end of it, I felt like I was an extended family member.  For me, there is something comforting and healing about her story — and intimate, to peek into someone’s private world. She talks a lot about fear, even from her earliest memories, but it takes courage to bare one’s soul. If you enjoy memoirs, I highly recommend this one. It even has a discovery or twist toward the end! (Bonus points! Haha)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kbeckermann

    I decided to read this after going to to Newfoundland, to learn a bit more about growing up there, and was intrigued about her journey to become an author. This is a very personal story about family, hope, perseverance and how life evolves. I have read some of her fiction, and after reading Pluck, I will read more, with a different perspective. You don't need to be interested in both NF and the writing process to appreciate this book. Being interested in one is more than enough. If you're not int I decided to read this after going to to Newfoundland, to learn a bit more about growing up there, and was intrigued about her journey to become an author. This is a very personal story about family, hope, perseverance and how life evolves. I have read some of her fiction, and after reading Pluck, I will read more, with a different perspective. You don't need to be interested in both NF and the writing process to appreciate this book. Being interested in one is more than enough. If you're not interested in either and enjoy good writing or are curious, I recommend it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Stinson

    As a longtime fan of Donna Morrissey's novels, I had the great pleasure of hanging out with her at a literary festival a few years ago. In Pluck I learned more about some of the challenges she'd alluded to during our conversations. Her writing about her family and the losses they've endured is very moving. Her distinctive voice comes through as loud and clear as it does in her novels, and not only because she herself reads the audiobook version of this memoir. Listening to it was like having her As a longtime fan of Donna Morrissey's novels, I had the great pleasure of hanging out with her at a literary festival a few years ago. In Pluck I learned more about some of the challenges she'd alluded to during our conversations. Her writing about her family and the losses they've endured is very moving. Her distinctive voice comes through as loud and clear as it does in her novels, and not only because she herself reads the audiobook version of this memoir. Listening to it was like having her with me, telling me her story. Loved hearing about the road she took to becoming a writer too. Not what she set out to do and I for one am glad she did!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Wayne Woodman

    This is an incredible memoir of a life fully lived with so much love and passion it is difficult to put down. I have enjoyed Donna's books immensely over the years and reveled in the fact I grew up next door in Hampden but being a few years older did not know her then. Some people may find her writing dark and a little too realistic but I think that is the Newfoundland way, we tend to find humour where others find darkness. This is an incredible memoir of a life fully lived with so much love and passion it is difficult to put down. I have enjoyed Donna's books immensely over the years and reveled in the fact I grew up next door in Hampden but being a few years older did not know her then. Some people may find her writing dark and a little too realistic but I think that is the Newfoundland way, we tend to find humour where others find darkness.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Don Kane

    "What a WoWzer of a writer - unfolding the precious precise inside story of her life. Intense honesty, pain and reality of an everyday existence. Deaths, births and disease. She unfolds, her Newfoundland insides to her readers.....sparring them no escapes... each chapter takes you into the aging desires of a wantabe writer. What a story teller she is." Don Kane, Author "Spies, Espionage & Explosions "What a WoWzer of a writer - unfolding the precious precise inside story of her life. Intense honesty, pain and reality of an everyday existence. Deaths, births and disease. She unfolds, her Newfoundland insides to her readers.....sparring them no escapes... each chapter takes you into the aging desires of a wantabe writer. What a story teller she is." Don Kane, Author "Spies, Espionage & Explosions

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nikki Kulba

    Amazing story. Donna’s writing is so visual that I could taste the molasses bread, I could feel the spry of the ocean and I vividly remember the feel of my nanny’s hands. Such an amazing walk through an incredible life. Well done.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dilia Narduzzi

    4.5 I've not read one of Morrissey's novels, for no reason other than they haven't come across my imaginary, but I read about her memoir and felt the urge to read it. What an interesting and full life story, and told by a wonderful storyteller! 4.5 I've not read one of Morrissey's novels, for no reason other than they haven't come across my imaginary, but I read about her memoir and felt the urge to read it. What an interesting and full life story, and told by a wonderful storyteller!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I’ve read two great books by very talented NL authors in a row now… my expectations are set! This time, an autobiographical story of growing up and surviving in rural Newfoundland. It’s no tourism ad. And then forging ahead on her own path in life. Pluck is what it took! I could feel The Beaches in my bones. It’s a story of family bonds, loss, and human resilience. It’s a very real depiction of mental health struggles unlike I’ve ever read before. I highly recommend the audio book. Hearing it in th I’ve read two great books by very talented NL authors in a row now… my expectations are set! This time, an autobiographical story of growing up and surviving in rural Newfoundland. It’s no tourism ad. And then forging ahead on her own path in life. Pluck is what it took! I could feel The Beaches in my bones. It’s a story of family bonds, loss, and human resilience. It’s a very real depiction of mental health struggles unlike I’ve ever read before. I highly recommend the audio book. Hearing it in the authors voice brings a new level of real ness.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    An author whose memoir is even better than her wonderful novels. I couldn't put it down (audiobook read by author). An author whose memoir is even better than her wonderful novels. I couldn't put it down (audiobook read by author).

  24. 5 out of 5

    Em

    Donna tells a tale like no other - your senses are taken along on a journey with every page, so vivid are her descriptions. A truly inspiring and heart warming read. I'm now inclined to read back over the novels that won my heart to smile to myself as pieces fall together in a new way. Donna tells a tale like no other - your senses are taken along on a journey with every page, so vivid are her descriptions. A truly inspiring and heart warming read. I'm now inclined to read back over the novels that won my heart to smile to myself as pieces fall together in a new way.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Some people have so much heartache in their lives. I appreciate that’s reality, but I find it difficult to read, even when it’s as well written and the ending is positive.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kristy

    This was a book club pick, one I would have never picked up on my own, and I so very much enjoyed it. She really does have a fantastic voice that sings off the page. I will definitely read more my Morrissey.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Having read one of Donna Morrissey's books years and years ago, as well as having a family connection to Newfoundland, I decided to pick this up. Many of Donna and her family's experiences were heart breaking. Also I don't think I will ever forget the story about her tooth (it was mildly horrifying in a "bite off your nose to spite your face" kind of way). Having read one of Donna Morrissey's books years and years ago, as well as having a family connection to Newfoundland, I decided to pick this up. Many of Donna and her family's experiences were heart breaking. Also I don't think I will ever forget the story about her tooth (it was mildly horrifying in a "bite off your nose to spite your face" kind of way).

  28. 4 out of 5

    Pam

    I finished this powerful memoir a few days ago. What a testament to a truly remarkable mother and the family she raised. There were so many times the story hovered so close to my own that some nights Donna's words kept me awake with the remembering. That is powerful writing. What courage it must have taken to write such a book. The vulnerability and the scraping away at the scabs. I could not have written with such honesty without choking on the sobs. I highly recommend it for anyone who is an a I finished this powerful memoir a few days ago. What a testament to a truly remarkable mother and the family she raised. There were so many times the story hovered so close to my own that some nights Donna's words kept me awake with the remembering. That is powerful writing. What courage it must have taken to write such a book. The vulnerability and the scraping away at the scabs. I could not have written with such honesty without choking on the sobs. I highly recommend it for anyone who is an aspiring writer, and to all those who love the power of a true story written with an authentic and uniquely distinctive voice.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Thoroughly enjoyed. Will seek out her books.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Marg

    Took me awhile but I'm finally finished. Excellent book. Took me awhile but I'm finally finished. Excellent book.

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