(8 customer reviews)


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Incidentally, Daughter is also available in paperback format here.

Listen to an audiobook sample here:

SKU: Daughter - A Memoir Category:

As a young girl, Alda Sigmundsd贸ttir 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鈥攅specially Alda鈥檚 chance at intimacy and love.

In this searingly honest memoir, the author of the beloved 鈥淟ittle Books鈥 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.


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eBook, Audiobook, Signed copy

8 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鈥檝e followed Alda鈥檚 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鈥檚 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鈥檚 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鈥檚 childhood is disrupted first by her parents鈥 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 鈥渂e good鈥 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.

  6. Ann Hearn Tobolowsky

    Courageous Journey of Self from Lost to Finding:
    I was lucky enough to read an early draft of this book and found it riveting and terrifying like a mystery you can’t be sure will be solved. After publication, small changes and expanded story reinforced the beautiful story-telling I experienced the first time. Even knowing the outcome, I found the journey even more compelling. Alda is a beautiful writer; clear imagery, emotionally powerful, reinforced by humor, insight and discernment.

    How we are formed as children, how our families may support or undermine us, how we find ourselves in the world and discover our voices and truth is at the heart of this journey. An autobiographical story, it’s not a given the characters will be okay. In this book Alda’s struggles may echo our own, or recall some dark path we may have also walked. It is easy to slide into the story, to experience the joys and darkness and hope revealed.

    Other reviews may describe the story in detail, but I think the less you know leading into it, the more captivating it is. Honestly, I loved this book. There is a great deal of hope and strength here, very little blame, a lot of heart and soul revelation of what rings True. The trauma of a child, the confusion of growing up, the making of a foundation of an adult. I finished inspired. Please give yourself this book.

  7. Laura E.

    In this age of audiobooks, it鈥檚 increasingly rare for me to get completely lost in a paperback book. 鈥淒aughter鈥 was a brilliant and absorbing exception; I plowed through it in two sittings. Each and every one of the stories Alda wove together brought up a memory of my own, a connection to a friend鈥檚 experience, or deep empathy for Alda. After years of processing my own family experiences and slowly allowing myself to label things for what they were, I cannot overstate how utterly validating it was to read about someone else鈥檚 experiences – written so intimately and with such clear recognition of the damage done. Yet Alda鈥檚 book was also filled with awareness and empathy. It was beautiful to see someone on the other side of abuse, deeply processing and growing beyond it, using it to forgive the past and better the future.

  8. Dawn Odenwald

    They say we are all living in various states of disfunction, I think what Alda manages in her memoir is to show us that within the family unit each member can experience events and circumstances very differently. The abuse was subtle, her family is always sort of 鈥榬ight there鈥 but unreachable. Parents seemingly just moving on from her to new lives that they forgot to include her in. No real roots in Iceland or Canada. Sadly finding this all out slowly, painfully one lie and broken promise at a time.

    While on one hand I felt so impressed by Alda鈥檚 independence and resiliency 鈥 as her family and friends would seem to view her 鈥 when she was really crumbling, barely holding it all together, on the other I found my self worried for her, sad as each new realization hit, surprised she didn鈥檛 fall to a darker place.

    I鈥檝e read a few memoirs, and am always very aware while I read them that this is someone鈥檚 truth that also exposes other peoples stories.
    Alda takes a very real risk in telling HER story from her perspective, its uncomfortable to read at times knowing that these other 鈥榗haracters鈥 may be hearing her version of her life for the first time.

    Daughter feels very matter of fact, unembellished, neither over or understating the circumstances of the life that was inflicted on her by her parents.

    Written without feeling vindictive or blaming the reader can share in the catharsis of the story no matter if you鈥檝e shared a similar childhood experience or not.

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