I Found My Tribe

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Jan 2018

Member Reviews

Last year, I stumbled across IT'S NOT DARK YET: A MEMOIR, by Simon Fitzmaurice, and the book touched me in ways I didn't anticipate.  While my terminal illness is much slower acting than ALS there were things he described that verbalized things I'd been yet unable to say.  Things about how there are moments when you do things because you fear this could be your last chance to, or other times when you're in the middle of doing something and it suddenly hits you that tomorrow you might be physically incapable, so you put your all into it all that much harder.

"How does this relate, when I should be reviewing I FOUND MY TRIBE?" you are probably wondering.  I came to my own terminal illness from a unique place.  I was the child of someone who had spent 14 years hearing he only had a few weeks left to live.  I am acutely aware of what it did to me as a child.  I'm also aware of what it took for my mother to survive it.  And as I watch my spouse now handle the course life chose for us, I felt like maybe Ruth Fitzmaurice's story would help me help him.  It did.

I see the way we've built our own tribe.  I think unless you're building up a support system in this kind of situation, it's hard to understand why it's a "tribe".  I read a lot of reviews in advance about "Where did the title come from?" but it's more than building a family, it's building an entire support network.  It's more than just the people in it, it's the places in it.  It's so much bigger than any one small piece of the puzzle.

I think it's important for people to go into this book knowing that Ruth waited to tell her story until after Simon had passed.  Sometimes, telling our side of the story is better that way, so we save those already suffering at least one piece of pain, because if they knew you hurt for them, it would only hurt them more.

My heart is heavy for the Fitzmaurice children.  I have an idea what their life has been like and what it will continue to be like, and that is hard.  I'm grateful for Ruth's story just as I was grateful when I found Simon's last year.
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I kept asking myself how does she do this and I appreciated the very introspective writing. Very honest, moving, and brave story.appreciated Ruth's writing and the strong connection to the sea was magical. I kept asking myself how does she do this and I appreciated the very introspective writing. Very honest, moving, and brave story. Writing about such suddenness and misery was so raw and real, I appreciated it greatly. Thank you  Bloomsbury USA  for the ecopy arc to enjoy.
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Thanks to Netgalley for my copy.

I previously read the husband's book which was an amazing read. Whilst undoubtedly a brave and strong woman this book felt disjointed and choppy. I admire her strength and the loyalty of her friends but felt disconnected emotionally.
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I loved this book. So well written. I found this book unputdownable!!
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I Found My Tribe by Ruth Fitzmaurice is a poignant debut book. 
     Her tribe consists of her husband, Simon, whom is living with Motor Neuron Disease. Her children are also a major part of the tribe. Simons only form of communication is with his eyes. 
     MND is a condition that affects the nerves and brain. There is NO cure and always fatal. This horrific disease is most commonly know to the public as, ALS. 
     The other tribe members that play a significant role in Ruth’s life, consist of her swimming friends. They refer to themselves as, “The Tragic Wives” swimming club. They meet to cope and share the challenges of their daily lives. Cathartic in so many ways. 
     This story is told by Ruth, Simons wife. In reading it you will learn of her everyday struggles and challenges of being a caregiver, but mostly as a wife, as she watches her husband deteriorate. 
     This is a book that proves how having a strong support system can help the caregiver find strength in her daily struggles. 
     Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a digital copy to read and review, in exchange for an honest opinion. 
     As a retired nurse and previous caregiver to loved ones... you have my utmost respect, Ruth.
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The story is sad yet inspiring, truthful and harsh at times in its reality.  It makes one wonder what they would do in similar circumstances - and hope they never have to find out.
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I received this book from Netgalley to review.
Simon Fitzmaurice has Motor Neuron Disease and this is the story of how his wife, Ruth, copes with the everyday struggles. She copes by forming  a group called the Tragic Wives Club. To deal with their stresses they swim in the cold water at the local cove near her house in Greystones, Co Wicklow. At home she deals with her ailing husband, her 5 children and a slew of caregivers. Everyday she meets with her group and swims. Here she is free and everything is washed away. Soon her group begin to swim naked on each full moon of every month. This makes it more freeing and allows her to deal with her troubled life. This group is her tribe. This is the story of ger tribe.
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I think this was a case of reader/writer mismatch.  I like the idea of this book but could not get in to the story due to the execution and the style of writing.  The sentences were too short and chopped up for my taste.
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Ruth has five active children, and a husband, Simon, with Motor Neuron Disease. Simon can only communicate with his eyes. Ruth’s life is filled with children, caregivers and healthcare professionals, and her love for Simon, but she needs more.

Fortunately, Ruth has her tribe:  The Tragic Wives’ Swimming Club, a group of close friends who help each other through the obstacles they face every single day in their lives, and the waves and frigid water they face in their swimming. Swimming in Greystones cove saves them, and their favorite thing is moonlight swims in the ocean under the full moon.

Sometimes, the most unlikely things can save you.

I think a lot of us are looking for our “tribe.” The fortunate ones find them. Ruth is blessed to have friends who both surround her in her difficulties—and they are so very difficult—and who can fully sympathize because of their own similar circumstances. Ruth is an amazingly strong woman:  she’s raising FIVE kids essentially alone, while writing full-time and caring for a husband who needs total care and an army of medical staff. I cannot even imagine the kind of strength this takes. This book is a wonderful read about the friends who help us shine a light into the darkness surrounding us.
 
Note:  Ruth’s husband, Simon, passed last October.

(Galley provided by Bloomsbury US in exchange for an honest review.)
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As a wife and mother of 5 small children,  this author writes truthfully  and poetically of her struggles for a normal life with her desperately ill husband.
She describes her days with a revolving staff of nurses and caregivers in her home with wit and charm and never seems to let anyone feel sorry for her.  Her best moments are when she is swimming with her friends, all members of "The Tragic Wives Swimming Club".
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Beautifully written. Honest, raw and at times sad. All the things that go with being a caregiver to one who is terminally ill. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys a story that evokes emotions.
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So heart wrenching Simon and Ruth ayoung couple parents to five children.Simon a film maker is struck with a motor disease that slowly destroys all his bodily movements.Ruth a loving woman shares her pain her raw anguish seeking out friends her special swimming cove while loving her husband who has recently passed away,a book you will close but not forget.
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I didn't realize until I started reading that I already had her husband's memoir It's Not Yet Dark. I kind of wish I had read it first, because neither spouse was Bfamiliar to me before I started reading. But I decided to keep going with this one since it was release day. I'll read his story next.

Poetic, great imagery, and not completely depressing. I might add more later. Thanks, Netgalley, for giving me the chance to read this book.
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This book was so touching.  A wonderful example of coping as best as possible with an extremely horrible situation.  I plan to call on Ruth’s strength whenever I find myself needing support. Thank you NetGalley for the ARC.
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This is Ruth Fitzmaurice's love letter to her husband Simon, her children, and her friends Daragh and Cath.  Some might question the wisdom of getting pregnant when you already have three kids and your husband has ALS but Fitzmaurice is not daunted by much of anything.  This could have been a very maudlin story- it's incredibly sad- but it's not.  Wonderful book.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.
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I often struggle to connect with memoirs, but this is easily one of the most honest, heartfelt, beautiful books I've ever read. Ruth Fitzmaurice's husband, Simon, has Motor Neurone Disease, which leaves him motionless and only able to communicate via an eye gaze computer. I Found My Tribe is Ruth's commentary on her married life -- not one given in a chronological timeline, but rather one that switches back and forth as she tells of her relationship with her husband, their five children, and her friends. She alternates between tales of what happens inside her home and her own head, and how she and her friends -- the self-named Tragic Wives Swimming Club -- cope with their life challenges by swimming in the sea. Ruth's words are equally humorous and lump-in-throat-forming, and I Found My Tribe is a delight to read from start to finish.
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Thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and Ruth Fitzmaurice for the opportunity to read and review this book.  

This is the story of Ruth, a young mother of 5, whose husband is stricken with Motor Neurone Disease (ALS).  He can communicate only with his eyes using a computer.  But instead of focusing on the disease, this is more of a letter on how Ruth copes with the diagnosis and her life.  By finding her tribe - the people and the places that nurture her spirit - she is able to continue forward.

The book was written in a different style and it was somewhat confusing to shift in time the way it did, but it allowed us to see all the love and joy Ruth and Simon experienced in their life before MND and how she struggled to keep that alive.  Takes brave souls
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“Finding your people is more important than what kind of house you live in. Decide whether you’ve found your tribe and go from there.”

What a beautiful tribute and personal story by Ruth Fitzmaurice. I highlighted many passages of thoughtful and beautiful writing.  Her love story with Simon, “the reader, writer, poet, aspiring film-maker, weaver of dreams,” is simply stunning. Ruth shares their hopes and dreams of the past to current day’s tragic circumstances as her deeply loved husband lies in a state of only being able to move his eyes as he succumbs to the devastating Motor Neuron Disease (MDS). A cruel twist of fate and my heart hurt for Ruth, Simon and their children.

“MND had turned our big bed into a battleship. Well, if this is war, I thought, then hear me roar. Bring it on you bastard. I want my daydreams and my bed back.” 

In addition to being primary caregiver to Simon, Ruth juggles the care of their 5 young children, who clearly she cherishes. She appears to be raising caring kids who brighten her day and I hope one day she will write another memoir letting us know how she and her children are doing.

“Bed is the birthplace of dreams and daydreams. Bed was my safe harbor after steering the dark waters of reality all day.”

Thank goodness for the dedicated nurses, “a merry band of the kindest souls mixed with some wonderful freaks,” and her network of devoted friends “The Tragic Wives Swimming Club” who have experienced their own challenges. This book is an inspiration, a love letter, and a wake-up call to live life to its fullest and cherish even the simplest things that may disappear tomorrow.

*Will be posting in additional online venues upon publication.
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Last year, I read Simon Fitzmaurice’s memoir, [book:It's Not Yet Dark|22340465], about his struggle with Motor Neuron Disease. At the time I read his book, he was still alive but he could only communicate with his eyes, and used special technology that allowed him to communicate and type his memoir with the use of eye movement. Sadly, Simon Fitzmaurice died in October of 2017.

In a way, I Found My Tribe is a companion to It’s Not Dark Yet. Ruth Fitzmaurice is Simon’s wife and she writes of the same time period from her own perspective. At the time she wrote her memoir, Simon was still alive. I read an ARC that was clearly written before Simon’s death, and don’t know if it will be updated to reflect this sad fact. But, regardless, both books are a beautiful tribute to love, life and dealing with — and not dealing with — the crappiest of circumstances. 

Simon and Ruth had five young children — the last two are twins born after Simon was already significantly incapacitated. They live in a small town in Ireland, close to family and good friends. And, thankfully for Ruth, close to the sea where she and a small group of friends find odd solace by jumping in at all times of year. Ruth’s memoir is not linear nor is it particularly fact focused. It’s poetic, honest, gritty, funny and a bit chaotic. Underneath, it’s full of sadness, but these aren’t the emotions she dwells on. Mostly, she dwells on her means of emotional survival — close friends, her deep love for Simon, the ways in which her children take their odd life in stride and always the pull of the sea. 

It’s a short beautiful book. It can be read with or without reading Simon’s own memoir. I expect that Ruth has a lot more writing to do. She is very talented and original. And my heart aches for her and her children. But I suspect they have the right tools to find a way to carry on.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy.
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I have never not finished a book that I started.  But this will be a first.  I actually feel awful writing the review because I know that the author spent so much time and effort on the writing of this book.  I can't decide if it is the writing style or the story itself that I just cannot get through.  I will not delete this from my kindle but I am going to have to put it to the side for now.  I find the description of the book to be interesting but after getting 16% in I just don't seem to care.  I did receive this from NetGalley and I do appreciate it but I will not be finishing this one for now.
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