Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Open Mic Wednesday - "Malignant Memory" - an adult bookwrap

Unwrapping some quotes to ponder...

Unwrapping today's featured book...

"Malignant Memory"

Authored by:
Barbara L. Paterson, PhD

Unaddressed trauma can have a negative impact for generations to come...

New Novel Aims To Bring More Healing To Canada's Sordid Residential School History

About the book...

Canada's residential school system was a dark part of the country's past.  These Facilities for Aboriginal children tore apart families and were estimated to cause the death of more than 6,000 children. The last residential school finally closed as recently as 1996, and Canada didn't formally apologize for the program until 2008.  The pain from this history still reverberates today.

Barbara Paterson, a nurse and researcher, after spending time with those suffering, wanted to shed light on how much damage (both mental and physical) these victims suffered.  She desired to expose the healing power that is available from acknowledging and supporting such deep grief.

Her wonderful novel tells the story of two friends one who survived in a residential school and one who grew up in an orphanage.  Both women were exposed to horrific trauma as kids but found comfort, love and forgiveness from each other and those around them.  

"Malignant Memory" portrays Elizabeth, a young farm girl from a family of ten children, who leaves her home and goes to reside with her grandmother, Andy, who she barely knows.  Andy is well respected in her community but it is soon revealed to her granddaughter that she has a dark side to her.  She begins to abuse Elizabeth as her furies" overtake her.  Secrets of her past life begin to unfurl and Elizabeth tries to make sense of these uncontrollable outbursts of rage from her grandmother towards her. 

Totally beside herself and unable to escape and return home she seeks council and help from those who know her grandmother best.  A beautiful Cree woman who is her grandmother's best friend and a survival of residential school provides both love and care to both women, creating a pathway of healing, understanding and a bond of love between the two that was once unthinkable but now is unbreakable. 

The scenarios penned in the book of abuse, trauma and grief are based on actual accounts Dr. Paterson received in her work as a nurse and researcher.  "Malignant Memory" is both a heartbreaking tale and a heartwarming one offering hope and solace to victims of  terrible abuse. 

Dr. Peterson states:

"This failure to acknowledge the devastation of grief in people's lives has caused us to focus on eliminating the behaviours that are manifestations of profound grief, rather than on addressing the trauma and loss that led to those behaviours.  An example of this is how we have centred on the addiction, abuse, suicide, and family dysfunction among survivors of residential schools rather than to effectively address what happened to them in those institutions."

I thoroughly enjoyed the book.  It is so well written engaging you in the narrative on every page.  You feel like you are a third person in the story just being still and observing all this unfolding before your very eyes.  It is a book that will pull at your heartstrings and have you wondering how this ever could have happened in your country... but sadly it did.  It also fuels your compassion for the Aboriginal people and motivates you to somehow, even in a small way, become part of a loving solution to so many who were devistated by such an unspeakable atrocity and contribute to their much needed healing of the past.  

About the author...

Barbara has two main interests as a professor and nurse educator; chronic illness care and prevention and nursing education. She has received awards for her excellence in teaching (e.g., the national 3M Award and the UBC Killam award) and research (e.g., RNABC Award of Excellence and the Canadian Diabetes Association Novo Nordisc Award). Her dissertation on clinical nursing education won the Outstanding Canadian Dissertation of the Year Award in 1991.

Barbara has led over 20 funded research projects in the areas of chronic illness or nursing education. 
Barbara received all three of her degrees from the University of Manitoba. She took a three year hospital-based diploma program in nursing before obtaining a BN in 1971. In 1981, she completed a masters in adult and post-secondary education. In 1991, she graduated with an interdisciplinary (nursing, psychology & education) PhD.

Barbara has been a bedside nurse, a hospital administrator, and a nurse educator in LPN, diploma and community college and university nursing programs in three Canadian provinces. She has supervised over 100 graduate students. She has been an invited visiting scholar in universities across the world, including in Japan, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Australia, as well in several Canadian (e.g., U of C) and USA universities (e.g.,Duke University).

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