Cover Image: The Missing Pieces of Mum

The Missing Pieces of Mum

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

A very powerful and gripping story that is difficult to read in some parts but worth sticking with. This is a first for me by the author and one I enjoyed and would read more of their work. The book cover is eye-catching and appealing and would spark my interest if in a bookshop. Thank you very much to the author, publisher and Netgalley for this ARC.
Was this review helpful?
Phyllis grew up feeling unloved. But by Sally bringing her story to the world she had given us all a chance to love her.
Was this review helpful?
loved this book!
generally i am a lover of non-fiction but this was very very good! honestly love its secrets that were uncovered
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this book about Sally and her relationship with her mother. Her mum spent most of her childhood in an awful children's home where she was not shown much affection. Sally and her brother knew they were loved by their mum, although at times it was very difficult. Sally is desperate to find out about her mother's life and what happened to her birth family. What is clear throughout the book is the special relationship between Sally and her mother and how they support each other. A lovely book that explores how important it can be to know our history and how we find our place in the world.
Was this review helpful?
A very emotional read. An easy one for the way it is written, but absolutely not easy for the themes treated.
This book is a love tribute of a daughter to her mother and it's impossible not to love it. A huge thanks to the author for this heartwrenching memoir / autobiography, it was an "unhappy" pleasure to read it.

Thank you to NetGalley and te publisher for providing me with an arc in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to Net Galley, Ad Lib Publishers and Mardle Books for the advance copy of this book. The heart of this story is the author's mother, Phyllis, who grew up in an orphanage in Ireland, and subsequently endured a loveless marriage and never was able to feel like she belonged anywhere.  As an adult her daughter begins the search for her mother's long lost family.  The story is heart wrenching and tackles many social injustices.  The first how her mother had ended up in the home in the first place, and then how difficult it was to get any information due to bureaucracy and government.  This book is well written and informative. A beautiful tribute from Sally to her mother, who she clearly loved very dearly.
Was this review helpful?
What an extraordinary tale; part memoir, part genealogical discovery Sally Herbert documents what is known, and unknown, about the life of her mother Phyllis

Phyllis was born in 1937 and by the time she was 16 had two different birthdates, either March or December of that year. Her early life was dominated by institutions firstly the Bethany House where she'd been born to an unmarried mother and secondly the church-run orphanage, both in Ireland. Yet, by some measure Phyllis had been lucky she had a 'Guardian' a devout protestant well-wisher who paid for her education and kept an eye on her early adulthood. Phyllis always wondered if her attention was due to more than her faith.

Sadly, after a difficult start, Phyllis's adulthood was also full of woes and that in turn meant that her daughter Sally had a difficult upbringing too but mother and daughter remained close. This book is testament to that and Sally's determination to find out who Phyllis's mother really was...

An engaging read which relates the difficulties faced by many of those named, without sinking into misery memoir field.
Was this review helpful?
Beautiful family story with lots of twists and turns. Very interesting,  unpredictable and kept you hooked with every chapter. This was an emotional journey that was written very well.
Was this review helpful?
A 5 star read.

Sally Herbert's mum had been abandoned as a baby, and was brought up in an orphanage. The author is middle aged and now is time to find out more about her roots. Sally had got interested in genealogy, and started to trace her family history.

A family story with many twists and turns; hardship. Although I've read a few true stories with similar subject matter, this wasn't all the same again, it was unpredictable, and very interesting and intriguing.

An excellent book with so many threads to it- not just the trying to trace her mum’s birth mother etc.

An emotional journey, very well-written, and an absorbing read.
Was this review helpful?
This book is dedicated to all those brought up in institutions and long to know who their families are. 
It is based on both Sally’s frustrating experiences trying to track down the missing maternal grandmother, and her conversations with her ailing but resilient mother Phyllis.
The obfuscation by Church, and State of Ireland prolongs the sadness, cruelty and tragedy, records have gone amiss.
Birth certificates, dates of admission and names have been changed, seemingly, to protect the families of unmarried mothers.
Phyllis is born into the Bethany Home in Dublin in 1937.
Her brother is collected by the mother a year later but Phyllis is left behind and shifted to another Dublin orphanage in 1940.
She was frequently visited by a mysterious Auntie Bea who showed her kindness, affection and generosity. Phyllis has no idea what her connection with Auntie Bea is, and is not confident enough to ask questions.
After incidents of ill treatment and abuse at the orphanage become apparent Auntie Bea asks Phyllis if she would like to come and live with her instead. 
Here, I was shocked at young Phyllis’s “safe” decision, which was a fine example of ingrained self-worthlessness, confounded by ego belittling by the sanctimonious and cruel carers.
Fear runs like a river throughout the orphan’s lives. 
Phyllis is released from the orphanage when she turns16.
She is assigned to work as a children’s nurse, but hasn’t been taught any worldly life skills such as independent decision making and budgeting which affects, or rather afflicts everything that happens in her adult life.
For 60 years Phyllis believes that she is unloved, unwanted and has no other family. 
With new DNA technology Sally finally makes a breakthrough, without this Phyllis would have died no wiser to the circumstances surrounding her fate.
“Suffer Little Children to Come Unto Me” is part of a phrase from the Christian Bible that was deliberately misquoted as a justification for the ill treatment inflicted upon these poor young souls in the name of religious betterment.
It’s hard to say I enjoyed this book, but it’s a well written compelling story which inspired me to look into some history around these barbaric institutions.
Phyllis’s shattered life is but one of thousands, unmarried mothers included, who are displaced, bereft and adrift because of destroyed, concealed or hidden documentation.
Hail Sally for all her hard work, passion and patience in searching for her beloved mother’s family.
This memoir is written with warmth and humour, and I would recommend it to anyone trying to solve a genealogy mystery.
Thanks to NetGalley and Ad Lib Publishers for sending me an ARC in exchange for an independent review.
Was this review helpful?