“Evidence of Insanity” Carol Piner

Heartbreaking, heartwarming, heart-searching, this is a tale of survival through a dysfunctional childhood and an almost inevitably fraught adulthood strewn with relationships that sometimes worked and often didn’t. There is “evidence of insanity” but also of sanity in the face of odds that could easily have crushed anyone less indomitable.

Callie derives her strength and values from her mother: using humour and anger to deal with often terrible circumstances, and freely admitting that such childhood experiences can turn you into an adrenalin junkie: getting high on fear, risk and potential/actual violent confrontation; but she is also acutely responsive to beauty and truth, and to virtues displayed more by her pets than by many of the deeply damaged human beings she has found herself dealing with along the way – herself included (she does at one point refer to herself as “a chaos magnet”).

Her mother was the major formative influence in her life. In spite of overwhelming odds, she taught her how to love, to dress, to have a strong moral sense and how to stand up for your damn self every time the world tries another of its many ways to crush your spirit and grind your face in the dirt. “Evidence of Insanity” is a testament to personal identity, heroic struggle, tremendous courage, and doing right by those you love the most.

Well written in a witty, free-flowing, anecdotal style, I found it a moving tribute both to Carol and to her mama, warts and all. I thoroughly recommend it. It will make you laugh, cry, smile, wonder, shake your head at times, and will help you get your own life into perspective.