Mary DeMuth is an engaging writer from Texas. My first read of hers was Thin Places: A Memoir. Thin Places is a wonderful series of interconnected reflections on growing up a child of 60's parents, her sexual abuse and healing journey, and the impact her abuse had on her dating relationships and marriage. I highly recommend it to anyone, but especially men and women who have childhood sexual abuse as part of their story.
I enjoyed reading the book, especially the dialogue and inner thoughts of Willa the main character. A minor criticism of the book is occasionally the descriptive passages are a bit overdone, but thanks to the well written dialogue it wasn't a distraction to the story.
Willa has an inability to trust others. Even though her beau, Hale is making some headway through his tender, persistent pursuit she still isn't able to fully give herself in relationship. She eventually leaves Seattle for TX returning to her childhood home to hopefully uncover some missing pieces from her younger days.
When she arrives in Rockwall her father's former funeral home is being transitioned into a bed and breakfast by Genie, the caretaker of Willa and the Muir house since before Willa was born. They disagree on the value of knowing all of the past. Willa asks Genie, who is also a caretaker of secrets, "Why is the truth so hard to tell? And why would that change everything? What are you so afraid of?"
Willa leans harder into her questions as the story progresses, 'How can it threaten anyone for me to know what happened? Who would be hurt? In the darkness, I hurt. In the shushing of secrets, I burn and ache and bleed. Doesn't anyone care about me?'
DeMuth writes well about the many themes of those dealing with the aftermath of a dysfunctional home (which is most of us in some ways). She touches on the choice to live in chaos or not, different ways to cover ones real heart, the dignity and depravity of those we love or see as enemies or both, dealing with feeling hated by a parent, being drawn to drama and intensity versus consistent love and real intimacy, and how knowing the truth will set you free but often it first makes you hurt like hell.
There is much depth woven throughout the pages of The Muir house. I highly recommend it for anyone, especially those taking a healing journey into their past or one who has a troubled relationship with a parent.