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Reviewed by Jon Michael Miller for Readers' Favorite
Becoming Home is a heartfelt memoir by Ashleigh Stevens. It takes the reader through the rooms (chapters) of her life as discovered in a therapy program in which she faces her trials and errors in a journey to understand her life and to recover from the terror of an abusive step-father and a boyfriend, as well as from the grief of family tragedies. Her specific steps of therapy are woven into her personal story as she moves toward acceptance and forgiveness. She accounts for her most traumatic issues by entering each one as a “room,” which she describes with the colors and designs that fit the eight particular traumas that have affected her personal growth. By facing them systematically, she has managed to free herself from their negative results. Within the rooms, individual chapters demonstrate the problems and the solutions which she describes as “joy and sorrow twirling together in a dance.” Little doubt exists that Ms. Stevens is a survivor, and she reveals her struggles with power, truth, and honest self-blame.
I would strongly suggest any reader of Ms. Stevens’ memoir have a box of tissues handy for both the sorrows and the joys. Not long into the book, I discovered her heartfelt and brutally honest attempt to tell her story for the sake of helping others, particularly teens, in facing their troubles and in escaping from self-condemnation. One thing became especially clear to me: in her personal growth, Ms. Stevens felt the impossible need to be perfect. She blamed herself for nearly everything that happened to her (most of which was not her fault or anything that she could control). Yet, through a structured mental therapy program, she eventually gets free from self-blame to achieve her professional goal of becoming a teacher and her personal goal of achieving happiness in spite of her difficult young life. Becoming Home by Ashleigh Stevens will marvelously achieve her goal of helping others free themselves from the deep troubles we all face, young and old, as we make our way through our lives.