Book Buzz: I’m The One Who Got Away

With scorching honesty infusing her gorgeous prose, Andrea Jarrell looks back at her unconventional childhood in this brave coming of age memoir, I’m the One Who Got Away.

Book Buzz: I'm The One Who Got Away

I’m the One Who Got Away. The title itself is bittersweet. Jarrell did get away, finding the normalcy in love, marriage and parenting as an adult that eluded her as a child.

But did she really get away?

Her past caught up with her in a blinding moment, when the brutal murder of an acquaintance in the small community where she, her husband, and two children had once lived evoked a visceral response. It wasn’t just the horror of the crime and the loss of an innocent life; she flashed back to her own experience as the child of a possessive single mother and the mercurial, frustrated actor father who was in and out of their lives.

The murder victim, a single mother named Susannah, was someone Jarrell knew through their children’s preschool, a mom whose son was the same age as hers.

Although they had been casual friends, Jarrell had always felt uncomfortable in Susannah’s presence. Susannah’s life was centered on her son; the two were inseparable. Just like Jarrell and her single mother had been. The two of them against the world. “Just we two,” her mother often reminded her.

The murder is the catalyst that forces Jarrell to revisit her own relationship with her parents.  Her bright and adventurous mother was married at 16 to a man whose insecurities and alcoholism were a constant threat. Jarrell’s mother loved her husband but loved her daughter more, and with the escalating abuse she knew there was no other solution than for mother and daughter to flee.

Jarrell’s mother, in her youth both valedictorian and homecoming queen, had aspired to be a photojournalist or graphic artist and was offered several scholarships. Instead, she married a man who turned out to be toxic. She never went to college. Throughout her life, Jarrell questioned her mother’s choices, especially when she let her father back in their lives. Would this be her future, too, putting her dreams on hold for a man who held her back?

Eventually, she comes to terms with her past. Her mother did what she could with the imperfect cards she’d been dealt. She didn’t complain about the trajectory of her life, but made the best of it with no apologies.

The loving, complicated relationship between mother and daughter is truly the backbone of I’m the One Who Got Away.

Jarrell’s life would turn out to be different, but not without its stumbles. That’s what life is.

Not simple, or perfect. But if we can choose the best of what we had, what worked really well, and pack away the worst of it in an old cedar chest in the attic to be examined when we need a reminder, we’re the artisans creating the future that we want for ourselves and our children, which is exactly what Jarrell has done.

As she says at the end of the book,

“… I’ve learned again that I can’t go over, under, or around, and I can’t turn back. No matter how high or rough the surf, going through every stage is where the living is.”


I received a copy of I’m the One Who Got Away from She Writes Press.
The text and views are all my own.

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33 Thoughts on “Book Buzz: I’m The One Who Got Away

  1. Sounds interesting, Helene. I agree that whatever life hands us we can’t go around it, we must step through. Love that this character used that quote. Yay!

    Another wonderful review, my friend.
    P.S. I think my mother had a car like the one on the cover. Ha!

  2. This sounds like it could be a good read – however, I don’t have too much time to read, yikes! It’s embarrassing to admit the last time I even OPENED a book!

  3. This sounds like a provocative story that I need to add to my reading list. Some of the story line sounds like it resonates closely with my own, and it may be a therapeutic read.

    • hbludman on August 29, 2017 at 3:18 pm said:

      Wow, let me know if you read it, Jen. I would love to hear your thoughts.

  4. How meaningful the story is! I really love the word “bittersweet” you used, Helen. That’s the best word to describe life I think. Thanks for your sharing. Hope to see more reviews about books from you.

  5. Sounds fabulous!

  6. This sounds like a really interesting read, I have to admit to being a fan of who done its, they alway get my brain pondering.

  7. Sounds like a really good book. I will definitely check it out!

  8. I am not a fan of reading fiction book but this sounds very interesting. I travel long journeys to work and this might make thing a bit more interesting! Hopefully it’s available as an E book!

  9. Must. Read. This. going on my list right away. Thank you!

  10. Jenn JG on August 29, 2017 at 7:55 pm said:

    Sounds like an awesome read that I could really get into! I am looking for a new book now that the kids are back in school!

  11. Oooo another book to add to my list, thank you! It sounds like something I’d devour in a day!

  12. Not much of a book reader, but it seems to me that it’s gonna be a hit movie or tele-drama if they were to make it one.

  13. Utminh on August 29, 2017 at 9:43 pm said:

    Sounds perfect. Great. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Claudia Krusch on August 29, 2017 at 9:51 pm said:

    I am always looking for new books to add to my read list. I have a vacation coming up and this would be a great read for while I am away.

  15. It truly does sound like a bittersweet narrative but we can definitely learn some important life lessons from it. I think the most apparent would be that we must confront issues in a past to move on with the present but sometimes it takes something unexpected to happen to jolt us into action x

  16. This sounds like a great read! I’ll definitely be adding it to my list to read!

  17. I was immediately attracted to the title of this book, which is also sitting on a pile on my nightstand. I have to keep moving books to the top of the pile after reading your reviews! This one sounds great.

  18. Jessica Taylor on August 30, 2017 at 10:07 am said:

    I will most certainly be adding this to my library! It sounds awesome! I am always looking for a good book

  19. Robin Rue on August 30, 2017 at 3:59 pm said:

    This sounds like it would be such a great read! I need to pick this one up for sure.

  20. Blair villanueva on August 31, 2017 at 1:06 am said:

    Sounds jnteresting book, unfortunately this the kind of book that I don’t read.
    Good review. Looking forward for your next book review.

  21. Agentszerozerosetter on August 31, 2017 at 6:53 am said:

    Looks as an interesting book! I love reading stories like this, where there is an interior growth!

  22. This sounds like a really good read. I think it has a little mystery or intrigue to it, which I like.

  23. Sounds like it’s a pretty intense book about the relationship between a mother and daughter. I can only imagine how a murder would heighten that intensity. I’ll have to check this out when I get the chance.

  24. Rebecca Swenor on August 31, 2017 at 7:17 pm said:

    This sounds like a great read indeed. It is a book that maybe can help a lot of women who have been in abusive relationships. Thanks for sharing this awesome read.

  25. This sounds so interesting. Something I can somewhat relate to in this stage of my life. I think I’ll be picking this up this weekend. Thanks for sharing!

  26. Sounds like such an interesting book!I would love to read it.

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