Misfortunes of Innocence: My Journey
by Veronica Garcia
Stratton Press Publishing

"Life has dealt me some strange cards, but what can I do?"

Resolving the past and hoping for the future are twin themes of this dynamic memoir. Garcia was born in the ethnically diverse Trinidad and Tobago. After being raped as a teen, her mother partnered with a spouse who initially fulfilled his loving promises, giving Garcia a childhood of stability in a rural, natural setting with visits to loving grandparents being a highlight. But several disastrous events made her life suddenly and irrevocably more stressful. By age thirteen, she had been physically and sexually abused by older family members. Though her family was Catholic, she became attracted to the tenets of Islam. Later, voodoo, in both its horrific and healing aspects, would play a role in a chaotic life that included living near the scene of and being affected by the 9-11 attacks, contracting syphilis from an unfaithful partner, and motherhood with no steady fatherly support. Yet with "incredible stamina and tenacity," she survived, worked hard, fought adversity, and believes that better things are to come.

Garcia writes from a prodigious memory, clearly recalling even the smallest events on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis. Through her eyes, the reader perceives the damage done to young people who are sexually harassed and secretly mistreated. Too, she underscores how quickly relationships can change, and those trusted can take on criminal, almost animal behaviors. The theme of family pervades her realistic narrative, as she and her mother, siblings, and children weather many emotional storms while retaining cohesion. The trials of immigration and the fears it can engender are also highlighted. Garcia's account of a life of nearly constant change and the lessons that come from accepting the positives and combatting the negatives can inspire readers who will look forward to the sequel implied in the final, reflective chapter.

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