A childhood in a parsonage: A review of A Sugary Frosting

A Sugary Frosting: A Memoir of A Girlhood Spent in a Parsonage by Denis Ledoux

A Sugary Frosting: A Memoir of A Girlhood Spent in a Parsonage by Denis Ledoux is a memoir of a childhood in a patronage in New England during the 50s, 60s, and 70s. It is the story of Martha, a girl growing up as a minister’s daughter under the shadow of her parents, whose Christian values dominated her life and suppressed her dreams.

The author, Mr. Ledoux, introduced me to his book when it was still in writing progress and I read it in advance. Mr. Ledoux is a professional memoir writer and mentor who lost his wife Martha to breast cancer in 2008. Over the years Martha wrote stories of her life, which her husband compiled into a memoir of her childhood, with the intent to tell her legacy to family members.

Mr. Ledoux narrates a series of stories in chronological order with some flashbacks on family roots and historical events. Martha’s family moved first in the parsonage in Athol, then to Boston, to Marlborough, and last to Yarmouth. As she grows up, Martha learns that her actions can damage her parents’ Christian reputation. Her family’s lifestyle put her dreams on hold and strained her relationship with her parents. Her father made some decisions for her without consulting her, such as sending her to Milton Academy, which was certainly a bad fit for her. Her mother, on the other hand, lived only to please others and she didn’t offer much guidance or support to Martha. Martha found some ways to “escape” her parents’ grip, such as studying singing, until she became a student at Bates College and started experiencing life in her own terms.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Martha’s story. It was informative of the cultural norms in a parsonage over almost three decades; it reflected how parents can be overpowering to please everyone else but their child; it was depressing to know how Christian lifestyle suppresses a girl’s character and dreams; it reminded me of my young age and how teenagers’ interests conflict with their parents’ interests, when, the former try to find their identity and make sense of the world. The book will appeal to memoir lovers, and readers who reminisce the influence of their own parents in their lives.

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