I don’t remember how Ann Best’s name first came across my computer screen. Perhaps it was while I was searching for memoir writers on Twitter. Or maybe she found me first and commented on my blog. In this digital world, names representing individuals pass across my screen. Some float across, never to return and others stick.
Ann Best’s writing sticks.
I visited Ann’s blog and read through her page Brain Injury: A Journey. With my experience having a sister with severe developmental disability, I suppose you could say I immediately connected with Ann’s writing and my heart went out to her.
I bought her memoir In the Mirror: A Memoir of Shattered Secrets, which is largely about her relationship with her first husband Larry who, after four children with her and eleven years of marriage, announced that he had been having relationships with other men. Ann responds to her husband’s infidelity the way she responds to the rest of the challenges she faces in her life, with faith, resilience, and inner strength. Ann and her husband try to hold the marriage together for eight years, but ultimately are not successful. In the memoir Ann also writes about the fateful accident that left one of her daughters with a severe pelvic injury and the other with a devastating brain injury.
In the Mirror is an honest and frank story about the additional challenges Ann faced in life: romantic temptation, financial hardships, alcoholism of a second husband, and difficulties with raising four children. In fact, Ann faces so many challenges in her life, through no fault of her own, that if In the Mirror were fictional, it might not be believable. Oftentimes truth is stranger than fiction.
Through it all Ann maintains a strong focus on her faith. Good friends, her religious community, and at times, minor miracles see her through.
Ann writes courageously with a clean, clear style that keeps the reader engaged with it’s simple honesty and moving dialog. In addition to her captivating life story, Ann surprised and educated me about the strength of the Mormon community and the tenets of the faith which include the powerful role of the Bishops in individuals’ lives.
In the Mirror deserves a place on the shelves of women’s literature. It is the story of a woman in the 1960s and 1970s, long before the world embraced the empowerment of women in new roles, who got knocked down, picked herself back up, followed her dream, and scraped her way through to peace and contentment.
I read it in two days.
I am grateful that Ann Best’s name floated across my computer screen. I feel now like I not only know her, but am so very proud of her.
Ann Carbine Best was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. She now lives in the Shenandoah Valley, her favorite place, where she is full-time caregiver of her disabled daughter. Ann lives not far from her and Larry’s other three children and seven grandchildren. Over the years, she has published and won awards for stories, essays, and poetry, and is currently plotting two other memoirs. “I’ve lived long enough,” she says, “to write memoir.” (http://widopublishing.com/ourtitles.aspx)