Ever had one of those days when your car is nearly totalled by a flying cow and the only clothing you can find during a house fire is an old robe that doesn’t close in front? Well, misery loves company, so join Karen Fainges as she journeys through some of the moments in her life that didn’t seem quite as funny at the time. Contained in this book are the stories of a family that lives in interesting times.
GENRE: Humour ISBN: 978-1-922066-49-7 ASIN: 1922066826 Word Count: 28,414
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3.0 out of 5 stars Totally Dysfunctional
I understand that there is a problem with physical abuse in the family, and it is a problem that needs addressed. Yet, this book has virtually everyone in it being physically abused, and the victims all deal with the abuse in non-healthy ways. No one learns to stop the abuse. While it's true that victims do attract other abusers, I would have liked to see these women become strong emotionally and refuse to continue to be victims. MaryEmma was physically and sexually abused by a brother-in-law, yet the only way that was resolved was when he died. Then she learned to depend on Jordan to help her feel worthy of being loved. MaryEmma's sister Shelley had a physically abusive boyfriend, and this problem was only solved when he too died. Danny emotionally abuses his wife for being attractive to other men. Wow, that's the way it is all through the book! I would not recommend this book to anyone. There's nothing redeeming or upbeat about the characters at all. I gave it 3 stars because the author IS a good writer, but all the people in the book are sick, and stay sick.
4.0 out of 5 stars A very intense story that deals with the very personal and touchy subject of abuse.
When MaryEmma Gold, her sister Shelly and their childhood guardian, Pam Garland, need to move again, MaryEmma can't help but remember the house she lived in as a child and the great garden it had in the back. When she discovers that the house next door is for sale she decides that it would be the perfect place to move to. As the three women settle into their new house and new life, MaryEmma is saddened to see the once beautiful garden next door over run with weeds and itches to restore it to its former glory. She gets her chance when she learns that her childhood crush Jordan owns the house and he offers her the chance to reform it. While ignoring the advice from Pam to stay away from Jordan before they become to close, MaryEmma is also dealing with her sister's wild ways and her niece Ariel. When Shelly's new boyfriend is found dead, the police start looking into the three women's past and discovering that they all have secrets they want to protect. Can Jordan and MaryEmma get past everything that is standing in their way or will the past keep them apart? Tears On Stone is the second book in the Falcon's Bend Series and can be read as a stand alone book. Authors Karen Wiesner and Chris Spindler have written a very intense story that deals with the very personal and touchy subject of abuse. I think these ladies did a fantastic job of bringing the subject to the forefront and dealt with it extremly well. I could feel the fear, pain and confusion coming off MaryEmma in waves and wanted her to have the warmth and safety she so deserved. The pain of Pam's past also came through with her advice to MaryEmma and Shelly and at times I just wanted to jump into the pages and shake her! I really love a book that can make me feel that wide range of emotions and I have to give Tears On Stone 4 Angels and say well done ladies! By Tammy Fallen Angel Reviews
Can You Smell Burning?
My grandmother always said you had to wear a clean and chaste nightdress, because what would you do if there was a fire? I never had the guts to tell her what I was thinking once I got past about the age of 14. That if I was stark naked, I would probably be one of the first ones rescued. I did tell my mother though, and she nearly wet herself laughing and then talked about grounding me.
I can say I do actually know what I would do if I was naked in a fire. In my case, it was wrap a dressing gown around myself and one around my daughter and bolt for the door. The fire was a dryer full of nappies and we had been in the bath when the alarm went off. I was standing on the lawn, valiantly trying to hold the dressing gown shut (I have never known where the belt was on any dressing gown that has been through the wash since I was about ten), trying to make sure all the pets and most importantly, my daughter, were out of harm’s way.
My husband had reacted in perfect calmness, turning off the electricity, getting the hose and eventually putting the fire out, managing the whole thing, while I sat on the fence and coughed. As an asthmatic, the ambulance and fire brigade were a bit worried about the smoke I had breathed in while rushing back into the burning building to get my dog out, then going back in again for the car keys so I could move the car out of the garage and away from laundry. They were even more worried when I remembered my grandmother and started laughing so hard I almost choked. I can still remember the fireman’s worried face as I flapped away his concern and tried to catch my breath. She was always worried I would be caught naked in a fire, and what do you know, the one serious fire I was in and I was.
That was one of the times in my life that confirmed my basic philosophy in life. Life can kick you in the teeth but if you turn around, you can use that same foot to give you a kick in the butt and get yourself going in the right direction. Everything in life is just a matter of focus and timing. The stories in this book just go to show how true that is.
There is a saying that if life hands you lemons, make lemonade. Whoever it was that first said that had the right idea. I remember my own childhood version of that, “when life hands you dead fish, make a terrarium”.
I was about 12 or so. As a school project, I had to take care of a living thing and write a diary project on how it grew. As luck would have it, a nearby garage sale had a cheap fish tank for sale, so I decided I would raise gold fish. After all, how hard could it be? For all of you that watch Top Gear, please groan now. That phrase is the equivalent of chocolate left down on a table in a house full of dogs. It just screams trouble.
It all started well enough. I set the tank up by the front door, reasoning that I would see it every day and be reminded to feed them and make notes in my diary. The tank even had a little ledge that was perfect for holding my notepad and pencil. So I borrowed a book out of the library on how to raise goldfish and carefully followed the steps. I let the water settle, treating it for chlorine. The book didn’t say to take out the little bits of river weed and one of the small wormy/eel like thing that came out of the tap, but I used my initiative and took those out too. After all, it was drought time and you had to make allowances.
Once the water was ready, I placed my fish gently in the tank, letting them grow accustomed to the water before removing the bag that they had been in for the short trip from next door’s outside pond. (Stop thinking that, I had permission.) It was all going rather well, I even had colourful stones for the bottom left over from a different project and a small frog figurine from a school fete lucky dip in there to keep them company.
Now we had previously found that mammals did well as members of our family, but birds were a complete wipe out. We had killed so many budgies over the years, my mother refused to ever get another one. But we hadn’t tried fish before and there was no little ladder for a fish to strangle itself in, or a little bell to concuss itself on, and fish can’t fly into windows, at least not these types of fish, so I figured we should be OK. What I hadn’t counted on was the cat.
It seems that bright orange fish are an irresistible draw card to a curious cat. She wasn’t really ever that interested in eating them, but she did watch them very closely. Fearing the abrupt end of my project, I made sure I put the cover firmly on the tank. That would keep her out and keep my subjects safe. And it worked, for a while. Till all the cat fur clogged the filter and the fish suffocated. There was a tear filled farewell held in the bathroom as we gathered around the porcelain coffin and I went to ask the neighbours for some more fish. Luckily, they had quite a few.
Now adding a few knickknacks to the top of the tank would stop her from sitting on the tank and getting fur in the filter, right? WRONG. What it did was cause her to slip and land heavily on the cover, adding dangerous shards of glass, and piles of knickknacks, to the enraged pile of cat that fell into the tank. Flush two fish, wash and dry cat, get a piece of board for a new, stronger tank cover and start again. After all, I still had a few weeks before the assignment was due.
OK, week three and all was going well. New fish were gathered from the obliging neighbour and the water was once again strained of errant mozzie larvae and treated. Everything was back on track. Except…remember how I said I had placed the tank near the door? Well apparently, fish are susceptible to shock, especially the shock of a door that didn’t quite close properly and managed to slam open leaving the fish open to the harsh wind and forty degree heat (that’s 40oC for my American friends). It turns out, that although that temperature is not quite enough to boil tank water, it is enough to cook goldfish in the time it takes for you to get home from school. Flush fish, start again.
This time I thought to move the tank away from the door and under a shelf low enough that the cat would not fit on the top of the tank. Good idea you think. Huh! Apparently, a mere dunking into water surrounded by shards of glass is not enough to deter the cat, she was a cat of determination. It was enough to make her cautious though and change her station for studies of the tank to the top of the TV. This was fine, until a loud gunshot from a cowboy movie caused the cat to jump straight for the shelf. The shelf containing a pot plant. The shelf containing a pot plant that was heavy enough to go straight over the shelf and through my new tougher, stronger cover and turn the tank water into mud.
I was trying to find the fish amongst the shards of pot and strands of dying plant, musing that I really should stick to mammals and wondering if I could coax my mother into allowing me to have a guinea pig. As a farmer’s daughter that had been through a mouse plague or two, it was probably a big ask. And a rabbit was not going to happen as the last one “ran away” when I found that it could kick right through a shirt leaving a four inch long scar across your chest. And it was not cute and fluffy when doing it. Feeding it carrots also meant having to clean up the resulting throughput. Rabbits cannot be house trained. So what to do? I doubted my teacher would allow me to report on the cat or dog, living animals or not. And baby goats really do eat your homework. Maybe an ant farm?
My determined effort to find the fish was successful though fruitless and I was forced to consign them to the briny deep via the flushing funeral home. I was wondering how to drain the tank when my mother came home carrying the remains of yet another plant killed when the cat, terrified by the sound of shattering pot plant and dying fish, had leapt through the door, forgotten a similar plant on the step and smashed it too. “Now where am I going to get another pot?” Mum moaned. Finding plants was never hard, after all, walking the dog while carrying a plastic bag and a pair of pruning shears meant you could liberate any number of cuttings and indeed, our entire garden closely resembled anything in a three block walk that grew close to the fence line. But pots cost money and that we did not have. After all, we had spent all that money on the fish tank.
A long moment passed as my mother and I watched the little light come on behind each other’s eyes. An idea had sparked. A trip to the public library later and I was the proud new owner of a terrarium. And guess what, the cat didn’t care less about plants until one fern had the misfortune of growing higher than the edge of the tank, and by then, my project was finished and handed in. Besides, who said you can’t include cats in a terrarium?