Wednesday, May 3, 2023

New Release! Underwater Daughter by Antonia Deignan ~ My Thoughts and a #Giveaway! #UnderwaterDaughter @AntoniaDeignan @GoSparkPoint

Congrats Antonia
on the recent release of
Underwater Daughter!

Underwater Daughter: A Memoir of Survival and Healing by Antonia Deignan
Memoir, Nonfiction, 272 pages
Published May 2, 2023 by She Writes Press

Tuni’s father began sexually abusing her when she was just four years old. Her mother, though aware of the abuse, was a silent witness—one either incapable or unwilling to intervene—and the abuse continued until Tuni was eleven. Three years later, when Tuni was fourteen, she was raped by an adult actor who was part of her cast in a professional theater production. These traumas would go on to shape much of her life.

Underwater Daughter follows how Tuni grappled with her relationship with her parents, the aftermath of her rape, an eating disorder, drug and alcohol excesses, and shame as she came of age and began to build a life. In order to not lose her inner innocence, in order to protect herself, in order to believe in love, she began early on to create imaginary worlds into which she could escape—to use dreams to transport her away from her fears. 

By early adulthood, she was well practiced at slapping lipstick (pink, frosty, kiss-me, gloss-over, perfect lipstick) over whatever darkness might be bubbling beneath. Hired by a dance company right out of high school, she found success as a dancer in Chicago and New York, but in her personal and emotional life, she continued to struggle. Ultimately, it took her decades of dancing, hiding, faking, fucking, costuming, implanting, dissociating, marrying, divorcing, and purging—all while staying silent about her past trauma—before a bike accident at age fifty-five forced her to stop and truly take stock of her life. As she did, she came to a resting place, finally, in regard to her father; developed the loving relationship she’d always wanted with her mother; and came to understand that, in the end, love is all anyone wants—or needs.

My thoughts about Underwater Daughter ~~

(I love to note the first lines of the books I'm reading. First lines can really grab a reader's attention and I love seeing where the author takes the reader after their first lines.)

First lines—"Dream One: Once upon the waves of a great sea stood a very large iron-framed bed. It was mine. The sea was active and infinite underneath."

Memoirs are sometimes, and more likely always, a bit hard to read. I know that going in and still I enjoy reading them. Memoirs, even as they are hard to read, are also full of self-reflection and growth for the author. And honestly, I usually learn something to help me in my life as well. Sometimes it triggers a memory and how I could maybe deal with it but mostly memoirs give me perspectives to think about to make my life better. 

Underwater Daughter was one of those hard life stories but I appreciated all of the wisdom and reflections that the author brought forth. Tuni did not have an easy life, for sure. And somehow she survived and was able to carry on, resolving issues and ending up with a pretty good life for herself. 

This memoir is filled with facts that will break your heart and soul-searching that will give you hope. After you read it, you will want to just sit and reflect about your life, all the good and bad in it, and realize that you will get through it. 

I received a copy of Underwater Daughter from and this is my honest opinion.

About the author

Antonia Deignan is the mother of five grown children - three young men and two young women. But years before the adventure of motherhood, she parlayed her childhood years of theater into a professional ballet and jazz dance career. Following a bike accident at fifty-five, which temporarily eliminated movement from her daily existence, she found new expression through writing. The years of recovery after the accident became a gift. She rediscovered, and ultimately, found sanctuary in processing survival of childhood trauma through her body’s art and her mind’s dreams. One thing she has learned through writing her memoir is this: her most favorite thing is moving alongside the rhythms within her; it is her soul’s calling. To move is to connect with the rest of the world. She has multiple publications in magazine and online formats, and this is her first book.

Connect with Antonia


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