In Moonlight on Linoleum, Terry Hilwig has written an emotionally charged story of a daughter forced to grow up before her time and become responsible for an entire family when she couldn’t count on her own mother to do so. Rather than writing her story with self-indulgence and a heavy dose of blame, she manages to tell her story, her mother’s story and her family’s story with love and acceptance. This combined with excellent writing made the book a joy to read.
Carola Jean married young in an attempt to escape her unhappy life. Shortly after, she had Terry. Eventually she left her first husband and searched for a better life with Terry. More husbands, more children and lots more destructive behavior later, Carola never seems to find her happy ending.
Because of Carola’s shortcomings as a mother, Terry is forced to grow up very quickly. She becomes a mother figure to her many sisters and the love she has for them is amazing to read about. It’s also heartwarming to read of the love she has for the man she calls “daddy”. “Daddy” is not her biological father, but the stepfather who she adores and who cares for her and her sisters as if they were his own. Unfortunately “daddy” is a seismographic driller for oil and his work takes him away most of the time, leaving Terry to deal with the troubles at home by herself.
Although Moonlight on Linoleum deals with a great deal of painful subjects, the amount of love that Helwig has for her family shines through and this book never once felt like a "woe is me" journey. It was refreshing to read a memoir that was straightforward and honest but not self-indulgent. I never expected to feel uplifted after reading this book, but I truly did. I’m honestly glad that Moonlight on Linoleum was written and I would recommend it.