Verdict: Though readers who have faced substance abuse may be particularly drawn to this raw and engaging story, The Girl You Deserve will appeal to anyone who has confronted loss, pain, or inner conflict.
Edite Vidins, a woman of Latvian heritage raised in Australia, begins this compelling memoir with the disclosure that the love of her young life, a man named Warwick, has died of hypothermia after wandering out of a bar and into a blizzard.
Vidins’ prose weaves fluidly between past and present, re-visiting her first date with Warwick in 1986, the course of their romance, and her fall into disillusionment and alcoholism after his death the next year.
Divorced and the mother of a toddler at the onset of the story, Vidins (aka Dee) is devastated when her lover dies. Alcoholism runs in her family, and though she tries to pull her life together—enrolling in college where she will study and eventually teach computer arts—maintaining physical and emotional equilibrium after her loss is a daily challenge.After years of struggle she is told by a fellow artist (whom she eventually marries) that she must stop drinking if their relationship is to continue: close to rock bottom, she finally achieves sobriety.
As a teacher at the cutting-edge of the information age, Vidins frequently finds herself defending the use of a computer in a fine arts program, and sagely advises her students to “save as you go.” (Each chapter is accompanied by a computer-generated image, many of which Vidins exhibited).
In this poetic and poignant memoir, Vidins follows her own advice, saving her memories in order to recreate the experiences, people, and struggles of her past with a clarity that is as rare as it is wonderful. Though readers who have faced substance abuse may be particularly drawn to this raw and engaging story, The Girl You Deserve will appeal to anyone who has confronted loss, pain, or inner conflict. Vidins’ journey to recovery is authentic and inspirational. (An accompanying playlist of music ranging from David Byrne and Pink Floyd to Philip Glass is also available at iTunes.)
Reviewed by Kathryn E. Livingston for IndieReader