“Guilt was my old friend. We understood each other and needed each other. It was guilt that had always protected me from despair.”
Around the age of 7, Anne’s older brother, Paul, passed away. At an age where she could start feeling deeply, this death and that of an older sister she can’t remember and weighed deeply on her heart and soul. Her oldest sibling had also drowned before any other children were born. Anne’s parents dealt with the death of three children by keeping their emotions to themselves, not even consoling each other. They just tried to move on with the children left behind, not knowing that their little Anne and the other children needed to work through her emotions in order to move on in a healthy way.
I was asked to review Ollie Ollie in Come Free: A Memoir of Swallowed Time by the author through my blog. I was given a free copy of the book in exchange for a fair review. I thought it sounded interesting to see grief from a child’s perspective.
Ollie Ollie in Come Free: A Memoir of Swallowed Time is not only Anne’s memoir, but her way of finally working through her grief of losing her siblings, her guilt of not feeling normal and wishing her parents had helped her as a child. As an adult, she goes through a few years of psychoanalysis to uncover all the layers that are emotionally crippling her.
I found the book interesting, but it is long at more than 400 pages. I think the overall theme is to make sure children are looked after emotionally, not just physically. If Anne’s parents had helped their children deal with grief, Anne wouldn’t have carried unnecessary guilt around for decades. However, in that time period, people didn’t talk about their emotions as much. There were times in the book where I just wanted to find the little girl and help her see reality and remove the guilt from her life.
I would recommend this book to adults who like to read memoirs. There are some memories of abuse by her grandfather and there is a lot of insight into dark thoughts Anne had growing up.
Do you enjoy memoirs? Why? Comment below!