Where You End and I Begin

A Memoir

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Pub Date 7 Jul 2022 | Archive Date 7 Jul 2022

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When eight-year-old Leah's parents get divorced, her mother, Cessie, flees her conventional life as a suburban housewife in search of a glamorous big city career in journalism. In the chaotic years that follow Cessie lurches from one apartment, job and toxic romance to the next, with her adoring daughter in tow. Cessie describes her parenting style as 'benign neglect' and their family motto 'Commitment sucks the life right out of you' is tacked up on every rental fridge.

In the aftermath of a disturbing sexual experience at a pool party, Leah finds herself crippled with anxiety. When she confides in her mother, Cessie makes an astonishing disclosure in turn, one that alters everything: from the age of twelve to fifteen she was in a clandestine relationship with her middle-aged, married riding instructor. The damage inflicted by the 'Horseman', Cessie explains, is the reason for all her regrettable life choices - marriage, divorce and even motherhood itself.

Both women spend the ensuing decades haunted by the spectre of the Horseman, until they decide to investigate what became of him - an ill-conceived quest that will test the bonds of love and redefine their relationship forever.

Written with unflinching candour and wit, Where You End and I Begin explores the dark reverberations of victim narratives and the power of filial love.

When eight-year-old Leah's parents get divorced, her mother, Cessie, flees her conventional life as a suburban housewife in search of a glamorous big city career in journalism. In the chaotic years...

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ISBN 9781529373691
PRICE £16.99 (GBP)

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Featured Reviews

This is a book that the writing of plays a part in the narrative . Where You End and I Begin is a powerful memoir by Leah McLaren centring around her relationship with her Mother Cessie.
At 8 years-old Leah's life is turned upside down when her parents divorce and Cessie leaves the family home to embark on a life of unwise choices, moving from place to place,job to job and a string of car crash relationships. As a young teenager Leah goes to a party where she makes her own poor choices that leave her traumatised and anxious. On telling Cessie she hears her Mother's dark secret,she was groomed and from the age of 12 had a 3 year relationship with her middle-aged riding instructor.
With the Cessie's childhood experiences having affected both of their lives Mother and Daughter decide to track down "The Horseman" as they label him with Leah deciding to write a book about their quest.........this one,a decision that pushes their relationship to its limits.

The actual search for "The Horseman" doesn't take up much of this book,though it is the catalyst for a large part of it,to explain more would be a spoiler. I say this so those who from the publisher's description are expecting the whole thing to be some kind of detective story,as I did ,realise that it's not.
While it wasn't the book I thought I was going to read it is a very powerful and emotive piece of writing. Leah McLaren pulls no punches and is almost brutally honest about her misadventures as a vulnerable young woman finding her place in the world with very little guidance and her damaged Mother as a role model. There are some quite explicit scenes described which might offend the more shock-able.

A very honest and thought-provoking book that is superbly written. It wasn't what I was expecting but it's a book that I was still thinking about several hours after I'd finished it.

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A unique mother daughter relationship told incredibly truthfully and intensely. I loved the way Leah intertwined the present and past in her writing.

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