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Reviewed by Carine Engelbrecht for Readers' Favorite
The saying goes that clothing maketh the man, but all too often, clothing serves as armor and disguise, hiding the pain and heartbreak of derailed human lives. Jo Dibblee knows all about hiding. As Frock Off: Living Undisguised chronicles, some of her earliest lessons in life revolved around hiding her dysfunctional family's doings from the outside world and protecting her flawed and damaged parents from the interference of social workers. At times, an 'earth angel' offers a respite from the tension. At times, hurtful family secrets are uncovered. With grim determination and an occasional lucky break, she is able to turn her life around.
Frock off: Living Undisguised is ultimately a well-written and uplifting tale of survival - both physical and emotional - against great adversity and against all odds. The book graphically illustrates exactly what potential dangers are faced by youth at risk, (especially when parents are incapable of providing adequate support) as well as the potential for damage that is realized when society turns a blind eye. I liked the honesty and introspection with which the author tackles her own past. I enjoyed her voice and her fighting spirit - people who have faced a struggle or two in their lives make worthier role models than overachievers born with the proverbial silver spoon in their mouths. I think this book can serve as great inspiration for anyone who strives to turn a damaged life around. It could also provide greater insight into the dynamics of dysfunctional families. Jo Dibblee should be praised for sharing her past with such courage and integrity.