Pardon Me While I Close the Door, by Marjan Sierhuis, is a frank memoir about loss and a toxic relationship.
The author goes for a walk to clear her head and to contemplate the deaths of her father and mother, her relationships, including the memory of a toxic relationship, and the ups and downs in her life. The journey to overcome grief can take time, but it is possible for one to move on.
Opening up one’s heart and soul and pouring words on pages for all to read takes courage. Even more so when an author is penning her own story, not fiction. The author is clear that she confirmed facts when possible and double-checked her personal journals to stay true to her expedition, although she changed some names and details to maintain some anonymity.
It’s amazing how open and honest Sierhuis is in Pardon Me While I Close the Door. Many people aren’t this candid with their friends and loved ones, but the author puts it out there for readers. Her honesty strips away the desire to judge her actions and those in the story and her matter of fact accounting of events allows the reader to see things at face value.
At times it’s hypnotic: the need to know what happens next. Will Marjan Sierhuis find the peace she so desperately needs? Many will be able to relate to her story since most have experience with loss and unhealthy relationships. And her forthrightness may help some see the mistakes they’ve made in their own lives or are about to make.
This short work can easily be read in one sitting. There are some lingering questions that nag at the back of one’s mind. For example, the author sets out on a walk, but after starting the walk, there’s not much mention of it in the following pages. Occasionally, she refers to it, but it’s hard to picture how the walk is bringing memories forward and helping her deal with the emotions.
Also, many pages are devoted to her relationship with Ali, who isn’t the worst person in the world, but he’s not the nicest either. In a nutshell he’s commitment phobic, selfish, unfaithful, emotionally detached, and super private.
It’s hard to understand why the writer stuck with the relationship for so long. It’s easy for the reader to guess the reason or reasons, but a little more in depth analysis and explanation would help see the whole picture. The main flaw is the author’s matter of fact tone, stripping away the emotional connection. The book skims the surface of her life, but many will desire to peek underneath the surface because that’s where all the feelings and answers lie.
Supplying all the facts is commendable, however, when writing a work of this type, it helps the reader if the author is willing to go the extra mile by really letting the reader in completely. Of course with non-fiction this is easier said than done. Pardon Me While I Close the Door is a good book, but it could be a great one.