Book Review: 11 On My Own

11 On My Own is a story of one woman’s pain — pain from three failed marriages, betrayal, and abuse, but mostly pain from a source which was created to alleviate it: the Family Court System. A mother of eleven children, deserted by her husband, Kristin Luscia is left without means to support her eleven children in a dilapidated home that is subject to an impending foreclosure.  Kristin’s ex-husband owes her over $60,000 in child support, and has paid none of it. Yet the court continues to insist that he has ‘rights’ to see his children bi-weekly, at least those he hasn’t managed to alienate yet. Ted has warrants out for his arrest that haven’t been served, and yet he manages to show up in court unscathed. He is the Teflon Deadbeat Dad. This is the tragically unjust outcome of Kristin’s exhausting three years in the Family Court System of Connecticut.

Rights for men and poverty for women. Sadly it’s a familiar story from my days as a Social Worker at Catholic Charities in New York. One case stands out from 25 years ago: the wife of a cardiologist, living in a mansion without heat, where she and three small children were reduced to living in the living room heated by a kerosene heater, keeping warm under quilts, came to me seeking food for her family for Christmas Day. The not- so-good doctor had fled to warmer climes with his girlfriend, emptying the bank accounts, leaving his wife with nothing but a Bloomingdale’s credit card. You can’t buy food at Bloomies, so her children were well-dressed, and hungry. His lawyer settled the child support while he was on medical leave for an operation, and without income. The doctor had NO obligation to support his children. According to Family Court, two years later, while touring his hospital, the same doctor boasted about his large donations to charity. Bound by confidentiality, I replied icily, “Charity begins at home, pal!” Both this man and Kristin’s ex-husband planned the abandonment of their famlies by cleaning out the joint bank accounts. When their wives fought for support, they discovered that their husbands could afford better lawyers.

Addressing this widespread problem though her personal crisis, Kristin speaks in a colloquial voice as she describes her situation, and takes the reader back to her childhood as an only child of adoptive parents. She tells the story of her troubled marriage to a narcissistic sociopath with candor and without self pity. Far from the latest blame-my-mother book, 11 On My Own is set apart by Kristin’s humble admission of own her role in her disastrous marriages. This as well as the frequent references to Canon Law, Papal Encyclicals, and The Catechism of the Catholic Church, makes 11 On My Own somewhat akin to Confessions of St Augustine, one of two saints to whom she dedicates the book.

St Augustine said:

“I came to You late, O Beauty so ancient and new. I came to love You late …  You were with me but I was not with You. You called me, You shouted to me, You wrapped me in Your Splendor, You broke past my deafness, You bathed me in Your Light. . . You touched me, and I burned to know Your Peace.

Kristin says;

In my past, I had chosen several times to follow Jesus’ path without fully knowing why: I had my babies baptized in the Church and gave my mother a proper burial before I was a practicing Catholic.

Yes, I had also chosen sin through many foolish and poor life decisions. My parents believed in God, yet they didn’t take me to His Church. I had the benefit of graces received in Baptism, but had no idea how to channel them. I am sure that my devout Babci (Polish for grandma) praying in the Church triumphant for my soul was a means of shaping my destiny to begin making the right choices.

There is hope for me, thank God. No sin of mine (or anyone’s) is greater than God’s love. No matter what your past has been, we can begin anew.”

Despite disturbing descriptions of abuse suffered, and intolerable legal injustice, ultimately 11 On My Own is a tale of hope. Hope that the poor sinner reading this book can learn from the hardships that Kristin endured as a result of her own sin and that of her husband. Hope that readers will then take advantage of the graces bestowed on them through Baptism, and make good confessions in order to live in the grace of God. It’s never too late. If ever there were an important message to a world with a 50% divorce rate, wounded from sin, it’s this one.

Highly recommended for adults and mature teens, due to a sprinkling of four letter words, and sexual references. This may be just the book your son or daughter needs to read before heading into a disastrous life decision.

In the interests of full disclosure, I must tell you that I am the Leticia whom Kristin mentions in the last line of her book, and who wrote the blurb on the book’s back cover.

I came to know Kristin within the past year, through our daughters’ friendship. I was impressed at the purity and holiness of her children, as well as her determination that she would remain faithful to God and not surrender to bitterness, despite the terrible events she and her children have endured. It was the witness of her beautiful family and the enormity of the injustice she has borne at the hands of the courts which prompted me to support her book. May it be a blessing to you.

[Help support Catholic Exchange by getting this important and moving book from our online store.]

By

Mother to three daughters and a Literature instructor, Leticia has always loved writing, good literature, and classic films. She became a blogger in 2006, and began to include film reviews on her blogs, Causa Nostrae Laetitiae, and Cause of Our Joy Suddenly Leticia was thrust into the world of film criticism when Eric Sheske of the National Catholic Register mentioned her blog as a source for Catholic film reviews. The next day, an invitation arrived to attend a film premiere in Hollywood, which she accepted, and a film critic was born. Leticia began Catholic Media Review to guide parents in their decisions on whether to let their children see a particular film. She also promotes independent family films like “Bella”, and “Fireproof” so that they can reach a larger audience. Her goal is nothing less than a transformation of the culture to what Pope John Paul II called a “Culture of Life”. She realizes that the pivotal role the media has to play in this transformation, and is determined that those who would defame Christ’s message do not have the last word. She writes film and book reviews for the following publications: MercatorNet, Catholic Exchange, Catholic Online, and “National Catholic Register”. Her reviews have been posted at the websites of Reuters, IMBD, USA Today, Chicago Sun-Times, and various TV news stations.

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  • http://cradlerocker624.blogspot.com/ Madeline

    This was an excellent article, so I hate to be a downer, but it doesn’t look good for the future of womens rights at all.

    Historically things have never been great for women. Men have been lording it over women since the fall. Life for women through most of history resembled what you see in middle eastern countries all the time, if not worse. The only time women began to have any kind of decent treatment from the law is through Christendom with it’s pinnacle reached in American culture, and now we are in a post Christian era society,with our constitution being ripped to shreds, with statest totalitarianism on one side or Sharia coming at us from the other it will decline. Is it any wonder that the first thing attacked it the sanctity of a woman’s body with abortion on demand.

    My heart goes out to these women, but in reality, they aught to just be thankful they weren’t locked in a room or honor killed or dragged to the abortuary to have the baby forced out of them. There are more and more incidents of women being dragged to abortuaries by husbands/boyfriends, and the law is no friend to them.

    In this brave new age, women must be diligent to protect themselves while they still have the power to do so.

  • http://cradlerocker624.blogspot.com/ Madeline

    PS: That means from day one establishing separate bank accounts, keeping certain things in her name, and have both parties sign a prenuptial agreement that he will actually honor his vows and if he doesn’t then he forfeits all rights to the children and will pay child support, because family court is a joke.

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