Traci Inez Rapier
Outskirts Press (2015)
Reviewed by Tracey Rock for Reader Views (04/16)
In Traci Inez Rapier’s memoir, “My Life As Traci,” readers get to know Traci as she shares her personal life experiences growing up in the 1970s and 1980s.
Traci was raised by her mother in a small, rural Kentucky town. She doesn’t remember when her parents divorced, but visiting her father and his family in Illinois was something she did on a regular basis. Over time, going back and forth between her Kentucky family and her Illinois family became difficult because they each had extremely different parenting styles. Many times, she would forget which family member required her to act or speak a certain way and would be punished for what her mother considered acceptable behavior but by her father’s standards was considered rude and disrespectful.
Visitations became more difficult as she got older because her stepmother and half-sister grew more and more jealous of the relationship she had with her father, who only seemed to want everyone to get along. So much so, that he tended to turn a blind eye to the way his family treated Traci. As challenging as her relationship with her father was, nothing had more of an impact on Traci growing up, than the death of her cousin, Chad who was killed in a car accident. At the time, Traci didn’t quite understand what death really meant, but this single event had a profound effect on her life.
Everyone handles death in their own way, but after much trial and error, Traci found positive ways to understand its significance and eventually learned how to appreciate her own life and still celebrate the memory of the loved ones who passed away.
In “My Life As Traci,” Traci Inez Rapier shares her emotional journey of life, death, and inner peace. Readers should note that Traci experienced childhood during a time when the United States was in flux. Inflation, unemployment, and the Energy Crisis were devastating to our economy. Divorce and teen suicides were at all-time record highs. States, particularly in the South, were aggressively trying to desegregate their schools, while laws were being passed throughout the country in support of separation of church and state. All of these socio-economical issues shaped the lives of the people of that time, and Traci’s story is evident of these facts. Rapier did a great job in describing her childhood memories during this period. I would recommend this book, especially to those who have experienced the death of someone at an early age.