Pieces of Pie
by Pie Dumas

Skye's the Limit Publications, LLC, 2005. ISBN 0976560801.
Reviewed by Lisa Check
Posted on 02/08/2006

Nonfiction: Memoir; Nonfiction: Relationships; Nonfiction: Body Language

This book starts with the comment, "I was about to share my 'secrets' with nine strangers." Dumas ends up sharing her story with many more strangers than that. Pieces of Pie, a story about surviving love in its many forms, chronicles the life of author Pie Dumas, an Armenian-American woman.

The author reflects on her childhood and young adulthood, through the experiences that molded who she is today. The book is broken into five parts. The first part, entitled "The Early Years," tells of Dumas' horrific childhood dominated by a father who abused her emotionally and sexually from the time she was two or three until she reached her teen years. An alcoholic, Dumas' father had a wife, a mistress (his wife's sister), and a daughter with whom he regularly had sex. He also had a daughter by his mistress, but she somehow escaped the abuse. He seems to only shower her with love and kindness while regularly abusing in one way or another the other three females in his life. "The Early Years" was told very eloquently, and Dumas' descriptions affected me viscerally.

The second section of the book is titled, "Becoming Worldly." Dumas had the opportunity to travel the world many times. For instance, she went on a European trip with her mother; a sales trip that lasted many months with her father; and another trip to Europe with her cousin/stepsister Maggie. These stories reveal how the author eventually became strong and independent.

After the first two sections of the book, I expected to read about a lot of self-destructive behavior in "Men"—the third section. While Dumas certainly engaged in a lot of that, she also had an amazing though short love affair. This union brought about a pregnancy at the age of fifteen. Dumas gave up the child for adoption. In the next section, we learn how the author found her daughter and about their reconciliation after a lot of therapy and a lot of forgiveness. Finally, in "Appreciation," Dumas tells of parting with her father and mother, and the forgiveness she was able to give. It is hard to believe that someone could reach out and show appreciation to her abuser.

This is a beautifully written account of a woman who could have lived a broken life defined by abuse. Instead, she triumphs to live a full, rich life.

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