Teetering on Disaster
Teetering on Disaster is the memoir of Michaela Renee Johnson, and has earned itself the title of the 2009 San Diego Book Awards Winner. Michaela’s autobiography is essentially about the power of love and the strong ties that exist among family. The first half of her memoir starts with her family’s loss of nearly all earthly gains, minus the strong family unit. Being a pre-teen with two younger brothers, she is forced to leave her mini-mansion and manicure trips for a life in a double-digit square-foot sized trailer in the middle of nowhere with no electricity or running water. The stories that Michaela shares from that period in her life include humor, sadness, creativity, as well as normal female teenage feelings. Learning with her to “rough it” while off the grid, the reader will gain a sense of respect for her family while watching them still gain valuable life lessons that are comparable to those of people of any economic class. The first half ends with things looking up for Michaela and her family.
The second half of her life story transports the reader to another dark time for Michaela, yet this one will be much darker and more difficult for her to safely exit. Only in her twenties, Michaela is going through a divorce and experiencing the difficult trials of discovering her true self hidden under who she has become since graduating college. With this half of her life going much differently than the first half, the reader can tell that she has been deeply affected by the act of abuse, and afterward, like many, she must learn how to do many “basic” life-skills, such as being in a relationship, trusting, and loving again. At the beginning of the new year, she will not do a resolution, but rather she sees more benefit in re-examining her life from the past year and making changes as needed to better her and her surroundings.
Throughout Michaela’s autobiographical story, she sent me through a rollercoaster of emotions. Not being able to identify on a personal level with the extreme of both of her situations in each half of the book, I still felt that as a human being I could sympathize, and it helped me to have a greater appreciation for what I currently have. Michaela’s story had me happy at all of her highs, sad at the many losses, and emotionally confused concerning her relationships. I would read it as a love-story but then have to remind myself that love can show itself in many different forms, and not always in an obviously positive way; sometimes when you love someone so much, one might need to know when to step away and still be able to keep the good feelings inside. I am glad that Michaela included both halves of her book and didn’t start with the second half so that the reader can get a sense of who she was while growing up to be able to see how she is able get back to her roots. What it all boils down to is that at times, being a grown-up, and a female, can be very difficult.
|Author||Michaela Renee Johnson|
|Page Count||302 pages|
|Bookshop.org||Buy this Book|