Strand of Pearls

One Woman's Journey to Light and Peace

Non-Fiction - Memoir
284 Pages
Reviewed on 05/13/2012
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Author Biography

Deborah Livingston lives with her loving husband, Joel, in Massachusetts, and is the proud mother of a college-age daughter, Cassandra. She is a practicing AOBTA-certified traditional Chinese medicine therapist, intuitive medium and believes in life's gifts whatever forms they may take.

Her passion in life is to guide people into healing with her message. Her message is that everything we need to navigate through life's journey is within us. That is the pearls of life are peace, light and love.

In her memoir, STRAND OF PEARLS, Deborah Livingston recounts her journey from childhood abuse, frequent tragedy and adult addiction to a spiritual transformation that brought her an inner peace and joy available to us all. Deborah was the first of three children born to parents--a Canadian father, a New England mother--who were worlds apart in their own upbringings and views of the world. From two to sixteen, when she was finally able to break free, Deborah suffered abuse at the hands of her father. Her freedom from that abuse took her to abuse at the hands of others, and to a tragic accident that cost the life of a friend. Her misfortunes early in life and her inability to see them as the "pearls" they actually were led to serious addiction in her early forties. And yet this addiction saved her life, preparing her for the inner transformation she would experience. In STRAND OF PEARLS she invites the reader to elicit their inner responses and emotions to their outer life experiences.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lorraine Carey for Readers' Favorite

"Strand of Pearls" is a poignant memoir that delivers a very powerful message to all of us. Here the author metaphorically compares her tragic early life to a strand of pearls. Deborah’s early years of verbal and physical abuse brought tears to my eyes as she becomes a prisoner to a father who was out of control. She was not at all a happy soul and took it out on his little girl. His wounded spirit was really helping her build a suit of armor to endure the rest of her life. As each event is chronicled I could not help but weep for Deborah. Whenever there was a positive touching moment for her I felt the well-needed comfort she wanted. The events are written with such emotion that you can feel the hurt in the author’s tone. You will also find passages where she reflects and makes a connection to the event that proves she interpreted each as a learning experience. This child is shattered throughout most of her childhood and the effects pour into her adulthood where she remains on a collision course with herself as she becomes self-destructive.

You cannot put the book down as you become vested in the soul of this character and have to read on to find if there is an end to the constant suffering. She has a few stable people in her life and strangely different people emerge into her life, just as she needed help and time to change direction. You will see that her life keeps following in the same destructive pattern. It seems some divine intervention is at play here for Deborah, but she will come to realize this later on in life. Just when you think her life was coming together it takes another shocking twist. The reader becomes her cheering crowd throughout the book. A surprising mystical spiritual awakening happens to Deborah and she finally puts all the pieces of the pearls together to restrict her once broken necklace. And how she does this will have you reflecting on your own life.

Deborah Livingston writes with such reflection and emotion. I found myself now coming to the realization of how all the events in our life and the people who come into it do so for reasons and provide us with that spiritual awakening. I did lots of reflecting during and after reading the book. "Strand of Pearls" will give anyone the incentive to seek within himself or herself the real power of our journeys. It gives you much hope that your life lessons are your own pearls and teaches you that how you assemble them is up to you.

Tamera L.

If only the 1960's families stuck together even though it wasn't always for the best! Often to suffer the consequence were the children. Deborah Livingston was one such child. Deborah's parents were very different from each other. Her father was much older than her mother and very controlling. Her mother was young, innocent and tried to please her husband despite his violent mood swings and drunken fits. And having unwanted children only flamed this reunion in an ugly way - especially when sons were preferred to daughters. Deborah can remember breaking her mother's pearls as a baby. Her innocence faded as her father beat her. The hands that could be so gentle had turned into weapons of rage. This began a childhood of fear, confusion and pain. 'Stupid' was a phrase often sent her way. Whippings were a common occurrence. She was not the only one to suffer. Deborah's mother was another victim to her husband's violence. This woman had failed to protect Deborah in so many ways.

Emotionally scarred, Deborah grew up burying her emotions. Thus began a lifelong battle to control her roller coaster of feelings and learn how to accept them for what they are despite her fears of rejection. "Strand of Pearls" is a heartfelt memoir, honest and intriguing as Deborah learns how to love, forgive and accept her fears. What a wonderful title so fitting to the emotional links in Deborah's story. I thoroughly enjoyed this touching tale and can relate to some of the book's content. Nicely done.

Brenda C.

In "Strand of Pearls" the author allows us to see how childhood abuse shaped her adult life, until she finally found freedom from the pain that she carried for years. Deborah was a young girl who could never measure up to what her father expected of her. His cruelty and abusiveness towards her lasted until the age of sixteen when she somehow found the courage to flee her home. Unfortunately, though, Deborah began a journey of self destruction by turning to alcohol, because she was carrying the burden of feeling as though she never measured up. After all, that was what her father taught her to believe. As her drinking continues to get worse, she also finds herself in several bad relationships. Deborah shares a story that is often heartbreaking, but she is ultimately triumphant as she finally finds spiritual healing, learning not only to forgive others but to find forgiveness for herself as well.

If I had to describe this book in one word it would be 'inspirational'. Abuse and addiction is something that isn't easy to talk about, but the author shares her story in a very honest, down to earth way, hiding nothing. I found myself riveted to her story, needing to know if things would ultimately work out for her. This story will resonate with many, and give hope that there will be a brighter day for anyone who is going through a difficult time in their life. Inspiring and encouraging, it is a soul-stirring story that had me thinking about the author even long after I finished the final page.