Believe in Me is a profound, deeply personal journey into the mother daughter relationship as Bet tries to understand her mother, her past and then to be able to continue to understand herself, to be free from ‘blame’; to live her life, to find love.
Absorbing in the sparsity of the wording, the flow of words leaves nothing to the imagination as they are carefully presented, setting out in their attention to detail the life of Sarah, from her exile in Australia until her death; an enigma until the end.
Growing up in the deeply religious community of Ploughkeepsie in upstate New York, Sarah realizes the restriction of her mother’s deep faith, is a bit of dreamer and wants to discover the world outside of her immediate community. She is close to her brother Levi, an artist who also dreams of one day being able to move away.
She is allowed to accompany Isaiah Woolcott, a Pastor in the Faith of God Assembly Church to Sandpoint, Idaho where he is hopeful of establishing a new church. He rapes the naïve and innocent Sarah on the journey and once it becomes apparent she is pregnant he refuses to accept the child could be his.
Returning home to her mother, Greta, she is finds out she is to be sent to Australia, to her Uncle, until the child is born. In 1974 when this story commences, to have a ‘child out of wedlock’ was an appalling social and religious event!
Bethany is born and it is only with the help of Dora, a midwife at the hospital, Sarah manages to leave with the child before it is taken from her and put up for adoption. So begins a complex and varied story that segues in and out of the boundaries of mental health, love, affection, family ties and ultimately, the seeking of the truth about who you are and where you came from.
Sarah is a complex character, filled with endless love for Bethany, but also plagued by the demons of depression and self-doubt. Bethany, or Bet, carries the legacy of a mother who cannot altogether be trusted in some of her decisions. Dora, the other strong character is the archetype woman beginning to emerge in the hedonistic times of the 1970’s, when women began to realize they too had a choice in how they lived their lives.
Is this Lucy Neave’s personal story’? If so it is a story many born in those years will relate to, if not it is a creatively beautiful look at what is family, how deeply the bonds hold even after death and how the actions of one, can continue to have a lasting and unforeseen effect down through the years.
|Publisher||University of Queensland Press (UQP)|
|Distributor||University of Queensland Press (UQP)|