Frock Off

Living Undisguised

Non-Fiction - Biography
320 Pages
Reviewed on 04/04/2014
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Author Biography

Jo Dibblee was in hiding for 35 years - she was a key witness in a murder investigation. Out of necessity she wore frocks of protection, she lived in disguise and not even those closest to her knew the real story. She was successful and often acknowledged for the good work she did, even winning international awards; yet she lived in constant fear of being discovered. She is scrappy, a fighter for justice and the people she serves and is ever the optimist. She has been featured on Canadian media nationwide. Jo is described as fiercely loyal, adaptable, quick witted, driven, persistent, and philanthropic, she prefers to shine the light on others.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Carine Engelbrecht for Readers' Favorite

The saying goes that clothing maketh the man, but all too often, clothing serves as armor and disguise, hiding the pain and heartbreak of derailed human lives. Jo Dibblee knows all about hiding. As Frock Off: Living Undisguised chronicles, some of her earliest lessons in life revolved around hiding her dysfunctional family's doings from the outside world and protecting her flawed and damaged parents from the interference of social workers. At times, an 'earth angel' offers a respite from the tension. At times, hurtful family secrets are uncovered. With grim determination and an occasional lucky break, she is able to turn her life around.

Frock off: Living Undisguised is ultimately a well-written and uplifting tale of survival - both physical and emotional - against great adversity and against all odds. The book graphically illustrates exactly what potential dangers are faced by youth at risk, (especially when parents are incapable of providing adequate support) as well as the potential for damage that is realized when society turns a blind eye. I liked the honesty and introspection with which the author tackles her own past. I enjoyed her voice and her fighting spirit - people who have faced a struggle or two in their lives make worthier role models than overachievers born with the proverbial silver spoon in their mouths. I think this book can serve as great inspiration for anyone who strives to turn a damaged life around. It could also provide greater insight into the dynamics of dysfunctional families. Jo Dibblee should be praised for sharing her past with such courage and integrity.