(5 customer reviews)


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SKU: Daughter - A Memoir Category:

As a young girl, Alda Sigmundsdóttir yearns to be close to her beautiful, distant mother, yet is never able to win her affection. When her parents divorce, a dark symbiosis between mother and daughter is forged, with devastating consequences that threaten to derail everything—especially Alda’s chance at intimacy and love.


In this searingly honest memoir, the author of the beloved “Little Books” on Iceland tells the story of a childhood marred by trauma, the denial she employed to survive, and the struggle to regain her authentic self. In unpacking her personal history, Alda discovers the elusive nature of truth and its indispensable part in making us free. Inspiring, touching and brave, this book speaks to anyone who values emotional freedom and longs to break away from the destructive patterns of the past.


5 reviews for Daughter

  1. Ian Hefele

    A very wonderful, poignant, sometimes sad, yet surprisingly hopeful read.

    I’ve been following Alda’s writing since my first trip to Iceland in 2012. I especially appreciate hearing from the perspective of the child in a parent-child relationship. My husband and I just finalized an adoption of two siblings who came from a home with very narcissistic parents as well. I appreciated the glimpse into how narcissism affects a childhood experience.

    Alda’s writing is a brave retelling of coming to terms with the life one’s given and I’m very appreciative of the opportunity to come along for the journey. I know I’ll be coming back to this book again and again as my own daughter grows up – Alda’s honesty in the writing has affected my parenting almost from page 1. I cheered for her wins and wanted to hug her on her lows, but thankful she prevailed in order to write about it for the rest of us. I will be purchasing more “Little Books” next time I’m in Iceland.

  2. Amy Elizabeth Clifton

    This book grabbed me from the first page. I’ve followed Alda’s writing career since I first moved to Iceland over 20 years ago and have always appreciated her honesty, candor and easy flowing writing style. This book is the story of the author’s early childhood and coming of age in Iceland and Canada and the impact of growing up with a narcissistic parent. There has been much written recently about the trauma of childhood physical and sexual abuse, but perhaps not enough about the insidious effect of daily psychologic abuse which leave no apparent scars on a child’s body. In this book, the author captures the constant tension, sense of insecurity, self-doubt and self-hatred that festers and grows inside a child when a parent is, at best, not emotionally present and, at worst, actively abusive. The author’s childhood is disrupted first by her parents’ separation when she was 5 years old, and subsequently by her mother leaving Iceland with her for extended stays in Canada and Cyprus, back to Iceland and then ultimately to settle in Canada when the author was 10 years old. Thus, she was uprooted not only from her father and grandparents, but also from her culture. Most of the book focuses on how the author coped with these circumstances within the context of a complex, disturbing and co-dependent relationship with her mother and fear and loathing of her stepfather. Her childhood attempts to “be good” at home, to fit in at school, to be invisible in social situation and to hide her feelings at all costs morph into acting out during her teenage years with sex, drugs and alcohol which eventually lead to a breakdown. Finally, we read of her journey from despair to balance with the help of psychotherapy and a move back to Iceland where she reconnects with her father and her cultural roots.
    This book is very well written, honest and extremely relatable. In my family the narcissist was my father. I identified strongly with the emotions and behaviors the author describes of growing up in a dysfunctional family. At times it was painful for me to be reminded of experiences in my own childhood that caused such similar emotions. But in the end, the book delivers a message of hope for growth and recovery. (less)

  3. Vanessza Emmert

    I had the opportunity to read this book as an ARC reader – I hereby thank the author again for sending a copy of this memoir.

    Before summarizing my impressions of the story, I’d like to highlight the exquisite use of language in this book, it’s such a delight to read – even when the plot is anything but easy.

    If you know Alda through her writing (and if not, I highly recommend to read her work), it’s clear she’s very intelligent and witty, someone who comes across as a really interesting and fun person you’d surely enjoy to hang out with. In her memoir, she tells with admirable vulnerability and honesty how hard she had to fight to become the healthy and grounded woman she is today.

    Reading the book felt like someone is going through old photographs and reliving moments from the past, except sadly – without giving too much away – that giddy, nostalgic and joyfol feeling we associate with this activity is painfully rare in this story.
    This book is a memento of a young girl’s astonishing yet gruelling fight to step out into the light, to break free from the iron grip of her demons, inflicted upon her by the person who should have been the epitome of unconditional love and safety – her mother.

    I think it is of paramount importance to break the taboo and stigma surrounding mental health and the traumatizing effect psychological abuse has on children and people in general. We should not turn away, we should not sweep the topic under the carpet, we should not belittle it – society really needs to truly see these people and use any chance to lend a helping hand.
    In my opinion Alda’s book is not only an intimate and raw insight into her life, but also a beautiful and curageous act of giving a voice to trauma victims and survivors who can’t yet speak for themselves.

  4. Karen G.

    What children need most from their parents is unconditional love and security; a feeling that they are safe and protected and cherished no matter what. Possessions and privileges mean very little when the most important things are lacking, or have even been deliberately withheld. This memoir is the story of what happens when a parent’s mental illness finds a target in their own child, and is about the darkness that can be inflicted on someone from a very young age, even while the outside world sees nothing wrong. If you have grown up like this, or known someone who has, you will be able to identify with Alda as she tells her story, and her struggle to emerge from that darkness, and find out that it is indeed possible to do so, and to grow, and heal, and break the cycle. It is very well written, and at times hard to read, but worth it all the same.

  5. James Griffin

    This memoir resonated with me of a deep level, and highly recommend to anyone that has made the effort to endure.

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