If You Walked in My Shoes is an
emotionally moving tale that grabs readers' attention from the start.
Forster evokes empathy with the situations that mother and daughter
Vivid details add realism and depth and create smooth transitions
throughout. This ranks as one of Forster's most thought-provoking reads. -
Coreen Holmes Treadwell is well respected in Bakerville, North Carolina, but
when she is called to testify before a senate committee, she is paralyzed
with fear that her secret will be revealed. While in high school, she was
raped and became pregnant. Thrown out by her parents, she gave the baby up
for adoption, went to college, became a hardworking and valued social
worker, and married a man named Bates, becoming stepmother to his two
children. Now she is afraid that Bates will find out about her past troubles
and that she'll lose his love and respect. Meanwhile, unknown to Coreen, her
child, Frieda, is looking for her and seeking revenge because her adopted
father abused her. Mother and daughter are on a collision course that brings
out the worst in both women, causing them to jeopardize the good in their
lives. Forster's understated style allows for an insightful inquiry into the
plight of African American women and the men who abuse them. Patty Engelmann
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
In Charlotte, North
Carolina, Leon Farrell finally persuades seventeen years old classmate
Coreen Holmes to allow him to walk her home from school after several weeks
of pleading. However, in an isolated locale, Leon rapes Coreen. She gives up
the child for adoption.
When Frieda Davis turned twelve she had her first period and everything
changed in her adoptive home. Instead of tucking her in her bed, papa rapes
her. He continues to molest her until at seventeen Frieda ran away from home
vowing to one day confront her biological mother.
Almost thirteen years later Frieda has made something of herself, but now
stalks Coreen from afar learning that her mother led a wonderful life
married to Bates Treadwell and having raised two stepsons Glen and Eric with
him. As Coreen continues to do good deeds to improve society, Frieda sets in
motion a plan to destroy her.
This reviewer cannot think of anyone who can write a better contemporary
poignant drama than Gwynne Forster consistently does. Her latest tale
borrows its title from a famous Native American saying "try walking in my
moccasins" as the two lead females will learn what it is like to be the
other. The story line is character driven but never dips into soap opera
territory as the cast seems genuine and the ending realistic. Ms. Forster
once again provides one of the most astute yet entertaining tales of the
year, which is why I am a fan.
The prologue for IF YOU
WALKED IN MY SHOES alerted me that there would be a day of reckoning.
Coreen Holmes was raped by one of her classmates when she was seventeen
years old, and her die was cast. Thirteen year old Frieda Davis was
sexually abused by her adoptive father, a fate which continued for four
years; until Frieda fled into the night.
A much older Coreen Holmes Treadwell is on the brink of fulfilling her
dream as the president of the International Society of Social and
Welfare Agency. For the past 29 years she has dedicated her
time to social and welfare issues. And for that same period she has
lived behind a façade, with the fear that her darkest secret would be
unveiled. But how long does a secret remain a secret? Coreen's fear is
manifested when her past walks into her present.
Frieda needs closure to her past; her adoptive parents are deceased and
she needs to know her roots. Also embedded in her heart is the drive to
fulfill a vendetta against her biological mother. But will her
vindictive intent produce an outcome more devastating than her past?
IF YOU WALKED IN MY SHOES is a dramatic story about two women
emotionally damaged by violent acts, and the aftermath that reverberated
throughout their lives. The destiny of these women was propelled by
outside forces at a time when neither was mature enough to accept the
outcome. And while each chose a different way to deal with their past,
somehow that difference had an element of sameness. Premature in their
judgment about one another, things become clearer
when they share the opportunity to walk in each other's shoes. Ms.
Forster methodically highlights the emotional anguish of the characters
and the havoc the repercussions caused in Coreen and
Frieda's lives, yet it is the very havoc that served to strengthened
Reviewed by aNN
of The RAWSISTAZ™ Reviewers