By: Christine Macdonald
Publication Date: March 8, 2023
Review Date: October 4, 2023
Author Christine Macdonald presents a lively memoir of life experienced at its fullest, with reflections and heart-felt suggestions on how to change, grow and make the best of what has gone before in her memoir, Face Value: From Working the Pole to Baring My Soul.
Macdonald had a childhood in Hawaii, with scenes from some of her earliest years suppressed even as she has tried to recoup them. When her parents split up, she observed her mother’s struggles, and frequent failures, to manage what was happening. There was a stepfather, Dick, a dominating US military veteran probably tormented by PTSD, driving Macdonald’s mother to seek solace in booze and repression. Dick inveigled the family to live in Waikiki.It should have been paradise, but the author’s earliest memory is of being arrested as a third grader for shoplifting and having no idea at the time why she had done it. Worse would come when at age 13, she developed a rare skin disease that covered her face in ugly bruises, resulting in cruel mockery from her classmates and extensive treatments including surgeries that continued even as she was seduced and raped by a fellow highschooler. She began using booze and drugs, some of them prescribed but most snorted or smoked, and wound up as a stripper, calling herself Stephanie and table dancing for tips. For some years she relinquished all connection to the mainstream ambitions, rather proud of her talents “on the pole.” Her love life included serial partners both male and female, with few lasting attachments. The journey from that lifestyle required therapies, mentoring, and respectable office work, all part of a hard-won renunciation of her long walk on the very wild side.
Macdonald composed her vividly depicted recollections over a period of years, as her true grit gradually took hold and she was able to move away from her checkered history. However, she has skills as a wordsmith, indicating a high intelligence and an unusually advanced ability to organize the materials she shares here. Her vibrant chronology offers horror, hilarity, and a high-minded view that one would not have thought possible in one so steeped for so long in the madness of alcohol, cocaine, depression, physical illness, and sex. She has included photographs of herself at various stages of this mad trek, showing an adorable child grown to a beautiful young woman literally plagued with nasty facial abrasions, scars, and endowed with enviable shape and a lovely, if practiced, smile during her “pole” years. As she appears now, relaxed and inwardly redeemed, she says, “I’m such a work-in-progress.” That statement well characterizes the inner resolve and helpful hopeful attitude that she generously shares with her readers.
Quill says: Macdonald’s highly diverse personal recollections offer sage advice from one who has “been there” and come back triumphant and will doubtless inspire others to follow her example.
For more information on Face Value: From Working the Pole to Baring My Soul, please visit the author's website at: https://www.poletosoul.com/