Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Book Review - Love! Laugh! Panic!


Love! Laugh! Panic! Life with my Mother

By: Rosemary Mild
Publisher: Magic Island Literary Works
Publication Date: 2014
ISBN: 978-0-9838597-7-2
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: April 16, 2014

Rosemary Mild pens a bittersweet memoir in her latest work, Love! Laugh! Panic! Life with my Mother.

The story begins in 1943. Rosemary introduces her mother, Luby (Bragernick) Pollack and shares her recollection of having to take weekly piano lessons with Miss Parchel. Her parents’ (mother’s) goal was to provide Rosemary with cultural rounding. There is a distinct tone concerning Lucy’s persona once she insisted upon something and Rosemary’s only choice was to embrace the notion. Complaints from Rosemary were not an option (even if she didn’t have the talent). Somehow, through the many choices her mother made on Rosemary’s behalf; the outcome usually had a silver lining. In the case of piano lessons, handsome Tommy Brown was the prize. Easy on the eyes, Tommy had a propensity for mischief which translated to something to look forward to for Rosemary.

As the story progresses, I couldn’t help but think the purpose of Ms. Mild penning this story was to pay homage to the intricate workings of her mother’s larger than life persona. While each chapter is devoted to the experiences Ms. Mild had growing up, there is a distinct spotlight that is constantly shone upon her mother. Early on, there is an entire chapter devoted to Luby (Bragarnick) Pollack’s education. It details the immediate launch of her journalism career shortly after her graduation from the University of Wisconsin in 1929. She lands her first job with the Boston Store in Milwaukee shortly after graduation and eludes such accomplishment was merely a door opener to a long and fruitful career as an esteemed writer.

In many respects, Ms. Mild paints a clear picture of the devotion and undying love she has (and had) for her mother, yet there is also a perception that no matter what Rosemary accomplished (at least while her mother was alive), there was an innate sense she never quite measured up to her mother's standards. This is not a pontification of malice toward her mother by any means. Rather, I interpret this story to be a cathartic account that Ms. Mild needed to set to paper.

My interpretation of Love! Laugh! Panic! Life with my Mother is that Ms. Mild embarked upon a journey to pay homage to a woman who was a tremendously important cornerstone in her life. She portrayed Luby Pollack’s strengths (sometimes overbearing), but her insistence that she was the most important teacher in Ms. Mild’s life resonated throughout. I give her great props for penning the myriad of accounts ranging from utter embarrassment to borderline rage. The overall message, however, was an account written by a daughter in memory of a mother whose life ended too soon. Luby (Bragarnick) Pollack died of stomach cancer in her early 40’s. Her legacy to her daughter was a trunk filled with memories of her larger than life existence and how integral her presence was in molding the woman Ms. Mild became. In short, the author has written a sometimes whimsical, other times eyebrow raising account of her life and what it meant to be the daughter of Luby Pollack.

Quill says: Live! Laugh! Panic! is a daughter’s heart-felt rendition of memories of the most important person in her life… her mother.