Cracks of Destruction

A Daughter's Search for Home

Non-Fiction - Autobiography
340 Pages
Reviewed on 06/25/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Cracks of Destruction: A Daughter's Search for Home is a work in the autobiography, family issues, and emotional memoir subgenres. It is best suited to mature adult readers owing to themes of domestic violence, death, abandonment, and trauma. Penned by Sherrie Lancaster, this harrowing and heartfelt work explores the author’s mother’s lifelong influence on her while she was growing up. As her mother’s wild mood swings inspire move after move in young Sherrie's unsettled life, her mother's sudden absence creates even more problems. Riddled with abandonment and loneliness, we watch the author’s life unfold as she searches for healing and peace.

Sherrie Lancaster writes with raw emotion in this honest work that fully explores the devastating effects of trauma that can stay with a person for the rest of their life. There’s a tremendous amount of sympathy and empathy to be found in the work, and it’s admirable to see Lancaster write about her mother with such a degree of forgiveness and compassion, using an adult perspective to explore the confusion she felt as a young child. This doesn’t mean that she shies away from the bitter truth of her mother’s condition, life choices, and eventual demise either, and some very intense moments in the story highlight how devastating life’s twists and turns are and how we must all seek healing for ourselves first and foremost. Overall, Cracks of Destruction is recommended for fans of emotive memoirs dealing with profound family dynamics.

Christine Nguyen

Cracks of Destruction: A Daughter's Search for Home by Sherrie Lancaster opens with Sherrie, at twenty-two, returning to a small town in Southern Idaho; to Boyd’s Lounge, where her parents met. She revisits her first barrack house, which is the most memorable home she can remember. Sherrie recounts numerous childhood adventures as one of five children, with her being the youngest and only girl. Sherrie did not realize that her upbringing was unusual, having moved seventeen times with her parents because her mother could not stay in one place too long. When her mother was happy, the whole family was happy. Her mother then abandons the family, and Sherrie moves another eighteen times between different family members to finally find a more stable home with Dorothy and Harold, who help give her a semblance of stability and a sense of belonging.

This powerful autographical account by Sherrie Lancaster captures so much of the loneliness and isolation that she experiences after being abandoned by her mother. She writes in visual detail of historical events that span many decades of American history, which was fascinating to revisit. Cracks of Destruction is a heartbreaking story of a young girl trying to find her place in life, while always seeking the love of her mother, who was able to leave. Sherrie shares her pain with adults who have been abandoned in their childhood so they do not feel so alone. A harrowing and emotional read that will make you reflect on your childhood and what level of dysfunction exists in other families.

Amy Raines

Cracks of Destruction: A Daughter’s Search for Home by Sherrie Lancaster reveals that every time Sherrie’s mom cried, there was another move about to take place. The last time, her mom left the family for good, giving them only a couple of keepsakes and a hollow promise to write to them once she was settled. Sherrie and her brothers tried to lead a normal life, despite the upheaval. After their mother left, they stayed with their unstable father. The blur of schools, homes, and couches Sherrie slept on left her numb and longing for her mother to return. She discovered that having the ability to do the most basic things like finding a good job, receiving equal pay, or purchasing a car was clouded by discrimination against women. Her life had several ups and downs. She viewed her brother as her best friend and craved the love of her mother no matter how much she had hurt her and the rest of the family.

Cracks of Destruction by Sherrie Lancaster is the account of events, people, places, problems, and solutions the author has experienced throughout her life. Her survival is nothing short of inspiring. Lancaster’s story about living with abandonment and what she learned from it shows amazing character and perseverance. Dealing with so many other pressing issues, such as knowing about her brother’s secret long before he ever told her, is proof that anyone can be a kind and loving person no matter what is going on in their world. I admired the way Lancaster maintained her pride, dignity, and her love of family regardless of her circumstances. I recommend this memoir to anyone who enjoys autobiographies that reflect a personal view of the world from someone who endured so much controversy and adversity.

Asher Syed

Sherrie Lancaster's memoir Cracks of Destruction is a true recall of the author's difficult life. In her honest account, Lancaster shares her tumultuous upbringing as one of five siblings, trapped in a chaotic cycle of constant moves orchestrated by two parents who essentially enabled each other's worst traits. By the tender age of ten, she had already endured a staggering seventeen relocations, only to face an even harsher reality when her mother deserts the family for another man. Both parents remarry and let their daughter down. Her dad is under the thumb of his wife and her mom is gone, resurfacing later as a heavy drinker. Lancaster's coming of age is paved with a desire to simply survive, working hard but getting very little back. She has highs like the birth of her son and lows that would destroy a weaker person, but Lancaster perseveres.

Cracks of Destruction by Sherrie Lancaster is an unflinching portrayal of a life plagued by fractured relationships, yearning for love, and the enduring resilience of the human spirit. My heart broke when she lost her brothers which, as a reader who has a deep connection to my siblings, would be too much to overcome. Through Lancaster's introspective prose, she invites readers to bear witness to her struggles, painting a vivid picture of a life marked by profound longing, heartbreaking disappointment, and the unyielding pursuit of healing. Cracks of Destruction is not an easy book to read but it is a worthy one. It will resonate with people who appreciate intimate testaments to the power of resilience and the unbreakable bonds that we often have to create ourselves in the family we build in our adulthood that bring us the love we deserve in our lives.

Jamie Michele

Cracks of Destruction: A Daughter's Search for Home by Sherrie Lancaster is a memoir revolving around the author as she tells her story, one that is built on issues of childhood abandonment. Lancaster is one of five children in a family with a dangerously impetuous mother who picks up and relocates the family repeatedly. Still unsettled even after continuing a pattern of resettlement, Lancaster's mother decides she'd rather live with another man and leaves her husband bereft and her children without a mother. When her father finds a new partner in Claribel, Lancaster is still without a maternal figure and she bounces from home to home and family to family. In young adulthood after multiple additional losses, she attempts to create another emotional connection with her mother, who is an alcoholic in an abusive partnership. It is not a successful endeavor and has no chance of being one after she makes the decision to cut her mother off for good and focus on being a supportive, loving, and present mother to her own children. To be the mother that she never had.

The cycle of neglect that happens with the children of the neglected often carries on for several generations, and it's heartwarming to read that Sherrie Lancaster was proactive in being the one to break the cycle in Cracks of Destruction: A Daughter's Search for Home. It is clear that Lancaster loves her children and, unlike her own parents, their best interests were at the forefront of the life choices she made when she was in a situation where choices were available to her. I lived in Las Vegas for over a decade and it was interesting to revisit it in another decade through Lancaster's narrative. The writing is clean but occasionally does wander off into the weeds, and there are times when attempts to convey her social and political standings are clumsy. Where Lancaster does show her authentic self comfortably is in how she will, genuinely, do anything for her children—and that's who I think this book will touch the most. When it comes to legacy memoirs, Lancaster gives her family a piece of their history that will no doubt be treasured by them for generations to come.