Nancy Key Roeder
Plain View Press, LLC (2015)
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views (7/16)
“Desert Daughter” by Nancy Key Roeder, describes the impact of being “invisible” or emotionally neglected by fathers, behavior which often has an impact on future relationships with men. Many times women who are neglected experience low self-worth and appear to be passive. This story describes how these women were able to work through the issues, re-gain self-confidence, and live fulfilling lives. Through the eyes of Linda Richardson, the author wonders about her life, her background, her role in the family and in particular, “who is her father?”
Growing up in the desert Southwest reminds Linda of the search for the father who abandoned her. Once initially the “apple” of his eye, she suddenly finds herself outcast from her dad with little support from her passive mom who always went along with her husband’s rules, even though she didn’t always agree with them.
The book begins with Linda and her daughter Christi returning from Albuquerque after getting Christi’s possessions from college and visiting Linda’s parents. Interestingly enough, as Linda and her daughter discuss Linda’s dad’s declining health, the subject is brought up about death and religion, which Linda has no desire to discuss. She cuts her daughter off with an, “I can’t talk about this when I am driving.” Christi is quite persistent and wonders what is going on with her mother.
Prior to her father’s death when Linda and Christi spent time with her parents, Linda realized how submissive she was to her parents growing up- from what she ate, to the man her father wanted her to marry. She also began to reflect on her own parenting skills and how much she had become like her parents. During one of her father’s rants about aliens and the corrupt government, Linda questioned her father about his crazy ides. It was then, she realized, that his approach to religion led her to question her own faith and her obedience to her father’s rules. The man Linda eventually had a child with ultimately became the same as her father, controlling and demanding his way.
“Desert Daughter” by Nancy Key Roeder covers numerous topics on dysfunctional families and relationships. When reading this many readers will say “I will not be like my mother or father,” and yet somehow they are. How do we break that chain, or can we? Do we even want to? Roeder really gives readers something to think about, subtly encourages self-reflection, and gives inspiration and strength.