Dear Andrea (aka Taylor’s mom),
This is a little letter from the mother of two girls to thank you for all you have done for me and my family.
By raising a daughter like Taylor, by nurturing her talent, by being by her side through it all, I say thank you.
As I said, I have two daughters. Right now they are 12 and (in three days) 11. Both of my girls look up to your daughter as a role model. And that’s been fine with me. Her songs are catchy and not raunchy. I could listen to them in car with the girls and not lose my cool, which is always nice. She values friendship and family, and writes from the heart. To me, that was good.
And then, this last week, we were lucky enough to go to Taylor’s 1989 concert in Columbus, Ohio. Her show, her words, her performance greatly enhanced my perception of her (I thought highly of her already). And my appreciation of you, as her mother, grew immensely.
As I said, I have two daughters. Both LOVED the show. But watching them both take her words of perseverance to heart, watching them both listen with full ears to her messages against bullying and about being yourself, it made me think of the mother you must be. Because not only did you raise a strong, confident daughter with what seems to be a tremendous moral compass, but you did it with many of the difficult years spent in the public eye, with her making a great deal of her own money. With surrounded by those that would want to take from her, and to take her down.
My elder daughter’s row to hoe isn’t easy. Libby is a normal 12 year-old with a pretty good head on her shoulders and a marvelous work ethic, which is nice. But she’s the older sister to a special needs child; that makes her an advocate and her sister’s angel, but she also lives a bit in her sister’s shadow. Her little sister, Katy, has Down syndrome, and is filled with a big personality and a big heart. I worry about ways in which Libby may try to find her own space in the world, separate and apart from just being Katy’s big sister.
But I know how much Libby (and Katy) loves your daughter and her music, and that heartens me. The messages she heard last week at Taylor’s concert really resonated with her. The fact that your daughter can not only reach audiences with her music but also with her words is amazing. She has a way of talking to a large audience in a way that is incredibly personal, making everyone feel like she is having a conversation. I can only imagine her one-on-one.
After this concert, when I think of Taylor, I think of you, and that makes me think I can do it. I can raise my daughters in this crazy world of social media and online presence. I can help her find her true self, her own self, because you did it. You did it with a much bigger magnifying glass on you, and especially on your child.
If you can raise such an amazing woman through all that scrutiny, I can do it, too. My world is much smaller, our magnifying glass not as intense. If Taylor can hold onto herself and her inner sense of right and wrong, I think Libby can find her own positive place in this world.
With my help, of course.
And now, I can draw strength from your lead.
Kyle Anne Uniss
P.S. Your daughter puts on an amazing show! WOW!!!
Okay, onto my review of In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware.
When Nora agrees to a weekend with her old friends to celebrate an upcoming wedding, things take a dark and dangerous turn, and she’s forced to face the past she’s been trying to forget.
Leonora, known in her past as Lee, but now as Nora, has set herself up as modern day recluse. Making her living as a crime writer, Nora leaves her tiny London apartment for runs and little else. She likes her little life. But when she is invited to the hen party (what we Americans call a bachelorette party) for an old school friend, she is as surprised as anyone when she agrees. She and another old friend make the trek to the modern, slightly eerie, glass-fronted house deep in the English woods.
Forty-eight hours later, Nora wakes up in the hospital, injured and knowing someone died. But she is unsure of exactly what happened, or if she did it. As she lies in the hospital bed, Nora attempts to piece together the weekend, trying to remember the details of what happened, what she did, and exactly who it was that died.
In a Dark, Dark Wood is the best kind of thriller. I was on the edge of my seat throughout the entire book, and my thoughts on the identity of the killed and the killer changed a multitude of times. The plot line moves quickly along, and the characters are given pretty good backstories, creating complex, scarred personas.
I really couldn’t put In a Dark, Dark Wood down, reading it straight through in a little more than a day. I loved the intensity of it all. The pace was perfect for a thriller. The psychology of the characters was intense, explained not all at once, but slowly and with real breadth throughout the novel. The group dynamics of the cast is perfect. A modern day Agatha Christie novel, with twists and turns in abundance.
Ruth Ware did a fantastic job in her debut novel, and I can’t wait to read more from her.
I give it 4.5 stars. This would be a great way to spend a fall weekend!