Book Reviews

BOOK REVIEW | MEMOIRS OF A WREN

Book Blurb


Memoirs of a Wren is a story of growing up in a dysfunctional home in the eighties in South Africa. The “Wren” of the title refers to the name my father gave me as a little girl – Jen-Wren – and by which I was known until he died. The story weaves its way through childhood experiences that include verbal and physical abuse, sexual abuse and alcoholism and, in the midst of the struggle, the loss of the one parent who had brought stability to it all. The issues are dealt with in a way that brings the humour and pathos out of each situation but whilst they tell of deep dysfunction and loss, they also lead to triumph and hope. A strong thread throughout the story is the choices we make every day in the effort to survive family strife and the difficulty life throws at us every day.


Amazon Book Blurb

Memoirs of a Wren is a poignant, sometimes funny, sometimes sad tale of growing up in a dysfunctional household in the eighties, in South Africa. It is a search for the child, Jen-Wren, who disconnected herself from the trauma of abuse and alcoholism in order to survive it. It is proof that hope in the face of dysfunction and loss is key to overcoming it. Life makes sense in stories – that’s why we tell them, and in the telling, in the remembering is where healing is to be found.


I was not prepaired for this book. It was an emotional read.

This book is the telling of the author’s memories and musings of her life. Her story told through the eyes of the child she once was, while understsnding as the woman she is today.

I commend her bravery to share her life with us. It could not have been easy as she endured many years of abuse, in many forms at the hands of her mother and a few others.

She breaks down her story in many ways, explaining her thoughts and feelings in great detail. This book of musings seems to have been a way for her to begin healing and understanding when to let go.

Today, I can sincerely say ‘nothing’ without judgment or criticism because life has since taught me that to be in such a hold of addiction and its crutch usually comes with some deep deficit, some need to live in a haze rather than the sharp clarity of pain, loss or abuse, and growing up, she was a victim of all three.

Her story was very moving and gives you another perspective of addiction. You see things through her eyes as she records her memories. It was not an easy road for her, but she is a better person today now that she has started to “open her arms to the sky” and let go.

She is a seven year-old; a ten year-old; a fifteen year-old; confused, lonely child who never dared to raise her arms to be lifted out of fear and into safety in case no-one extended their arms down in reply to the risk she was taking to be noticed.

Overall this book is well written and laid out perfectly. Her story has something everyone could relate to and possible use as courage for themselves.


Author Blurb

Jenny Grinwis lives with her husband, Jason, in the mountain village of Underberg in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. Her interests are varied, from writing books and studying literature, to painting and creating and enjoying the great outdoors in their beautiful, rural area which hosts the great Ukhahlamba Mountain Heritage Site. She has four adult children and an ever growing pack of Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs. Jenny has a rich background in education and teaching and her story is used far and wide to inspire people to address trauma and move on from it from a standpoint of connecting with it, processing and understanding it and then moving forward from there. As she says in her book, “Letting go of the past has nothing to do with forgetting; and everything to do with remembering well.”

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