Released in April 2015, Out from the Underworld by Heather Siegel is a captivating memoir that traces the heartbreaking story of how the author and her two siblings survived abandonment, neglect, and abuse. After their mother disappears, six-year-old Heather, her sister Jax and brother Greg, move in with their father in the dank bowels of his parents basement. With disastrous consequences the father places the children in a series of foster homes. The children, left with nothing more than wit and a deep seeded desire to escape their horrible circumstances fight their way out of their miserable existence in hope of normalcy.
As a mother this story tore my heart out and left me shaken to the core. Who voluntarily puts their children in foster care? Why would a mother who had seemingly enjoyed her role in motherhood abandon her children? How could these kids escape the abuses of foster care and the neglect of their grandparents and father? I bit my lip and tore through the 205 pages in a single night eager to know those answers
And I was most certainly not disappointed.
But don’t hold your breath for spoilers. You will have to get your own copy to learn the tragic and remarkable details of this profound example of the resiliency of the human spirit.
Heather Siegel is a master storyteller like none I have encountered. She cleverly blended the wisdom of hindsight with the magic and innocence of the voice of childhood in order to tell her story with clarity, astuteness, humor, and suspense. Her attention to detail from descriptions of adult actions and speech down to living conditions and emotional responses leave the reader utterly and completely wanting to scoop up her six year-old self and protect her from the kinds of hard knock that leaves permanent scars.
By the end of the book I was in tears. The final conclusion brought closure and a sense of satisfaction, but also a bittersweet feeling of worry for this woman who had endured so much.
I give this book a solid five stars and highly recommend it. Readers will be truly enchanted by the lyrical tone but also startled by the gripping events. This is what great books are made of.