All Alone: Washington to Rome, A 60's Memoir
by Patricia Daly-Lipe


xLibris, 2010. ISBN 978-1-450-05459-1.
Reviewed by Martha Meacham
Posted on 02/22/2011

Nonfiction: Memoir

This is the story of a daughter looking for her connection to her family through the past. Patricia Daly-Lipe carefully chooses somebody else's words to kick off each chapter of the book. Then the reader encounters her voice through words written in her journal in the 1950's and 60's as she grows up. We meet an adolescent bewildered by family attachments based on intellectual values more than affection and expressions of love. As a result of an absent father and lack of siblings, she was quite alone when she lost her mother. Her journal pages reflect her philosophical retrospection. She longs to find "who I am and what I am supposed to do with my life." Her story is full of family history intertwined with world history. The entries from her journals about how world events are a part of her life is fascinating.

The author shares her soul in this memoir in such a way that I found it easy to relate to her story. For those of us who grew up in the times of the Bay of Pigs and JFK and Vatican II, her memories and account of events resonate. Perhaps, I too became a seeker of truth due to the social milieu and political climate of my adolescence.

Sadly, her family kept many secrets. At the young age of 15, her mother's doctor asked her to bear a dreadful burden by keeping her mother's cancer diagnosis a secret from her. After her mother's death, Daly-Lipe finds hints of a secret French lover in her mother's life!

Any woman who has also had an experience in international living or studying abroad would find this narrative interesting, I believe. We find that through learning a new language and love of a new place and people, the world is brought closer together. Ultimately we are a family of humankind sharing at our roots, not just a historical past, but one heart and soul.

I was left wondering and wanting to know more about how her relationship with her mother and father influenced her first marriage. Her story ends abruptly at the recent past, the era of raising her children. This is understandable as is so much easier to look back into the distant past than to write about present life and family members.

Overall this little memoir is full of lessons about a life well lived and the twists and turns that we find on our life's journey.


Patricia Daly-Lipe, Ph.D. is an author, artist and speaker who presently lives in Haymarket, Virginia with her horses, dogs and husband. Visit her website.

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