Review of The 12 Foot Teepee

by Frank Ochieng, April 18, 2009

Life experiences--past or present--serve as literal landscapes for our livelihoods yet to be determined. We all draw from a previous colorful road map filled with memories of joy and sorrow, convenience and complication, revenge and redemption. New England-based writer Marilyn Armstrong provides the ultimate challenge in presenting her heartfelt memoirs of a nostalgically scarred existence of child abuse in the devastatingly personal novel "The 12-Foot Teepee". Armed with candid reflection and a confident sense of healing, professional scriber Armstrong delves into her psyche of personalized horror from yesteryear. The results are refreshingly therapeutic for Armstrong...not to mention the readers that climb into her shell of shock and gradual search for stabilization.

Skillfully, she combines her lingering heartache with a hearty sense of empowerment through the spiritual metaphor of a traditional Native American domicile--the teepee. In short, Armstrong's quest for piecing together this cloth-made sanctuary is analogous to her emotional and psychological placement of her tarnished disillusionment. Granted that there have been convincing horrid stories about being compromised physically and mentally that may carry more weighty sensationalism. Nevertheless, Armstrong's distinctive pathos in the way her narrative flowingly handles an unredeemable childhood with an adulthood filled with love and longing but continued financial and health-related chaos is indeed a winning account of elusive self-discovery. "The 12-Foot Teepee" is daringly insightful, gently witty and undeniably resourceful for those that know the taboo-driven family-oriented abuse all too intimately.