An Honest Reflection
Some of the most interesting people are the product of upbringing and circumstance. The lives of people we’ve never met can be full of gripping stories, complete with the daily drama that unfolds in the background. Ms. Perin’s latest autobiographical novel is an honest and courageous presentation of a search for truth within one’s own life. For me, the genre itself is interesting because it differs from a memoir in that the author chose not to claim the story as a 100% accurate presentation of events. That in itself lends credibility to the story as I find most memoirs to be the author’s ideal perception of self. In Perin’s novel, names may have been changed, some details of locales, and maybe even of events may have been slightly altered, but I’d venture to guess that most of what the author’s main character, Tosca experienced throughout the story was largely based on fact and truth.
Tosca Ring, is the 4th offspring in a family of 9. Her mother was a movie and opera fanatic and so named the Ring children after movie stars and opera singers. The story opens with the Ring family living in NY City and for unknown reasons started taking holiday trips that turned into extended moves. Tosca and her siblings were in a constant state of adjusting to new schools, new rules, new friends and neighbors, all the while never able to disclose anything about her family situation. Her parents were secretive, irresponsible, and ultimately abusive toward their children. On the outside, the Ring family may very well have been perceived as mysterious, intriguing jet setters. However, the dreary and disturbed lives that each of the children endured were amplified by the lack of attention and extreme treatment received from their parents. The story spans the most influential years of Tosca’s life, from a young age until late teens.
As an avid and curious reader I’m of the belief that authors are motivated to create and publish for a multitude of reasons. Perin may have written this novel in order to confront the naked truths of her own life. Beyond pure entertainment, my interpretation of the result was that Ms. Perin found peace by confronting the reality of her life in the process of sharing it with others. A review of the author’s accomplishments as an artist, writer, and musician are a testimony to the possibility of overcoming family disfunction.
Young adult readers/parents should be warned that some of the passages in this novel contain vulgar language, promiscuous situations, and violence. All of it felt genuine, honest and written with purpose. I came away with a realization that family disfunction and abuse can be a thin layer away from what most of us might see. I also came away reflecting on the resiliency of resourceful and hopeful individuals. Margo Perin – I suspect many readers will identify with Tosca and the lives of her sibs and maybe find peace in the knowledge that they are not alone.