ABOUT THE BOOK
Two little girls
Live in a seaside village in postwar England.
American-Mexican mother. Daddy, a retired Royal Navy commander, is an inventor.
Two different cultures
When Daddy’s inventions fall through, their mother takes them to live in Mexico City with their grandparents.
Enter Ian, a retired British colonel
“He’s one of those people who you can never be sure of. His mouth smiles but that’s all.”
Their mother remarries Ian who sets hard-to-follow house rules:
“You are not to go out with your mother without my consent.”
“Under no circumstances are you to use this telephone.”
Ian uses spy tactics to scare them into submission.
“Ian stares at us with bulging eyes, pinning us with his gaze. He’s trying to hypnotize us, invade our minds and take them over.”
A scared mother.
“I’m convinced Ian hypnotized Mummy. She behaves as if Ian’s taken out her guts and left mush in their place.”
A crazy stepfather
“I always suspected he had some loose screws,” Grandpa says. “Now I know he’s a nutcase.”
A great-aunt suggests “Murder would not be a mortal sin.”
“I don’t want to feel guilty. I don’t want to feel like a murderer.”
“I just want to get rid of Ian.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
England, my country of birth, childhood, and youth, shaped me. Mexico, the country where I lived thirty-eight years imbued me with its culture and a Latina identity. The U.S., the country where I currently reside, opened up new opportunities that have led to a challenging new life.”
Penelope’s parents, a British naval commander in his forties and her mother, an American-Mexican in her mid-twenties, met in New York City during WWII. Despite age and cultural differences, this unlikely pair was married three weeks later. She was born in a seaside village on the English south coast where she lived until ten. Then, in a traumatic cultural change, her mother took her and her sister to live in Mexico City where she spent her adolescence.
“Ian: Is he a pompous jerk? A control freak? A psychopath…or maybe all of the preceding? Whatever he is, he has few redeeming qualities. And two little girls from England want to get rid of him. Why is that? He terrorizes them; throws out their personal belongings; throws them out late at night; denies bathroom privileges; keeps a tight rein on the time spent with their mother, and makes weird demands. Finally, the two girls have had enough. So what do they do? Read this can’t put-down memoir to find out.”
Marsh Cassady. Author of The Professional Writer: Getting Ideas; Avoiding Pitfalls and 54 books.