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Monday, April 16, 2018

Ollie Ollie in Come Free by Anne Bernard Becker (*Audio via Audible)

Ollie Ollie In Come Free
         A Memoir of Swallowed Time

Written by Anne Bernard Becker


In the 1950's and 60's families are expected to deal with death privately and silently. This is no different for the Bernards, a large Catholic family that tries to rebuild after the loss of their three oldest children. Yet the deaths haunt the author's emotional development into adulthood with a subtle force she can only uncover in psychoanalysis while mothering her own young children.

Ollie Ollie In Come Free is an immersion in the secrets of a young girl's inner life and unexpressed grief. Brimming with memories of Midwestern childhood during an era of social upheaval, it offers moving insights into Anne Bernard Becker's personal healing journey as well as universal themes of loss and growth.


Review of Audio Edition via

Just as a rock rolls recklessly down hill, the traumatic events of author Anne Becker's childhood have rolled through, into, and over every aspect of her life. . . right up to the very moment, the adult, wife, and mother penned this emotionally charged, intimately personal memoir.

Growing up in the turbulent 50's and 60's would have been confusing enough. We can hardly imagine what it was like. Elvis was changing rock-n-roll, and his "vulgarity" had parents "all shook up." The push for equality and civil rights was in it's infancy.  Oh, and you didn't "air your dirty laundry" either. Nor did you "talk about your feelings." Today talking about your problems is encouraged. Gosh, the morning and afternoon T.V. line-up is full of the talking. But just 50 years ago it wasn't that way. When things happened, you just "sucked it up and dealt with it."..even death. You simply went on with your life. It was how her parents did things. How her parent's parents and grandparents did things. It was simply the way you did things...but, what if you couldn't?
Ollie Ollie is Anne's search for a way to forgive and heal herself. . .to heal the adult that is still suffering the child's trauma. She has undergone psychoanalysis (see full definition below)  therapy to treat anxiety and depression. Readers will feel Anne's pain as she realizes, these deep scars have affected her entire life.  She shares that she suffered a different kind of traumatic scarring at the hands of her grandfather. 

Death is difficult for anyone of any age to deal with. There are countless ways to seek help today, but no so back then. You were left to your own thoughts and imagination. Which we have learned that internalizing any kind of traumatic event will have negative repercussions, especially on children. While a heart-wrenching memoir, this is also a cautionary tale. Kind-of-a look what happened to me - don't let this happen to your children story. For readers, this is an emotional experience. Have the tissue stocked before you hit play. Brave and unflinching Anne shines an honest light onto the darkest of memories. Calling herself out, forgiving others and acknowledgment of the guilt that has haunted her, just to mention a few. From elementary, to adolescence to womanhood, the writing grows with Anne. The disjointed, unorganized dialogue of young Anne gives way to the fluid, polished adult speaking Anne. The writing style adjusting with the ages gave it a sense of realism and authenticity. It felt as though I witnessed a child maturing in a manner of hours.

If you love memoirs you will not want to miss this one.

psychoanalysis - a system of psychological theory and therapy that aims to treat mental disorders by investigating the interaction of conscious and unconscious elements in the mind and bringing repressed fears and conflicts into the conscious mind by techniques such as dream interpretation and free association

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