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After her mother's sudden death in 2010, Mary dug deep to understand the events that led to Anne's unraveling. At 21 Anne entered a convent and committed to a life of prayer and helping others. But lengthy periods of enforced fasting, isolation from her beloved students, and constant humiliation eventually drove her to flee the convent almost a decade later. Hoping to find new purpose as a wife and mother, Anne instead married an abusive, closeted gay man - their eventual divorce another sign of her failure. Anne retreated into chaos. By the time Mary was 10, their house was cluttered with broken appliances and stacks of unopened mail. Anne promised but failed to clean up for Mary's high school graduation party, where she was being honored as her school's valedictorian, causing Anne's perfectionist daughter's fear and shame to grow in tandem with the heaps upon heaps of junk. In spite of everything, their bond endured. Through the white dresses, pivotal events in their lives were celebrated-even as Mary tried in vain to save Anne from herself. Unflinchingly honest, insightful, and compelling, White Dresses is a beautiful, powerful story - and a reminder of the unbreakable bonds between mothers and daughters.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Chuck on 04-06-18
A good listen
I had to read this for book club and thought, oh boy, a book about dresses. Well, as it turns out, it's a book about life, and a family, and some really noteworthy women, that led interesting and inspirational lives. Depression rears it's ugly head at times, in the telling, but it's no wonder, with the situations that the author's mother lived through. That she turned out to be the kind and loving woman she became, is a testament of resilience and fortitude. You might surmise this came from her faith and I believe that may have played a huge role, but I believe she was just one of those people with inherent goodness that shoulder on with enormous amounts of empathy for others while sacrificing the dignity of themselves. The author tells her story beautifully and in a voice that is clear and bright enunciating each passage clearly. Overall, this was a great selection and I believe, time well spent.
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