A North Florida author has penned a novel on how imprisonment of parents tears families apart. That author is Faith Eidse.
For many in the North Florida news media, her name is familiar for the years she did public information for the Northwest Florida Water Management District. But she emphasized she’s written much more than just news releases.
“My first book is now a Princeton textbook. Who could have predicted that? It’s called ‘Unrooted Childhoods.’ We had Pat Conroy and Elizabeth Allende contributing and a number of other people who had grown up among worlds and wanted to talk about what that experience was like.”
Her next book was a big hit with nature and history buffs.
“I also did ’Voices of the Apalachicola,’ which was a work I did at the Northwest Florida Water Management District, where I looked for the oldest people with the best memories.”
Eidse’s fascinating and unconventional family found its way into print.
“Then I did my parents’ story of leaving the wheat fields and bargain stores of Manitoba and raising us overseas where my mother delivered the leprosy therapy and my dad translated the bible.”
Eidse was quick to point out that not all of those memories are happy ones.
“I was separated from my parents during the 1964 Simba revolution in the Congo and didn’t know if they were alive or well, didn’t know if I’d see them again.”
This childhood separation anxiety finds its expression in Eidse’s first foray into fiction, entitled “Healing Falls.” She said she based much of its storyline on actual situations she found while volunteering at an actual women’s prison.
“I couldn’t reveal real names and real details and I didn’t want to steal anyone’s story, but people just had to know what our prison industrial system is like; how we punish people instead of promoting rehabilitation. How we imprison more people than any other nation.”
She added it’s not only the imprisoned who pay a price.
“The burden of paying for a prisoner in prison is on the family. They have to pay for their toiletries, for their telephone time to keep custody of their children, for example.”
Kids, who Eidse stressed are likely to follow their parents, similar to her book’s main character, Cinnamon.
“It’s a cycle. If your mother was in prison, the likelihood of you ending up in prison could be 75 or 85 percent. And in my story, the mother of Cinnamon was jailed for a crime she didn’t commit, but her child was still impacted by that.”
In an eerie coincidence, Eidse’s book is coming in the midst of the separation of immigrant children from their parents takes place along the nation’s southern border. Eidse fears for their future.
“We are having lifelong brain impacts on these children. The need to reunite them with their parents is urgent. We’ve even heard from caregivers who report how quiet and withdrawn these children are and how impacted they are by the length of the separation.”
Faith Eidse’s new work is available on Amazon and at My Favorite Books on Market Street. She said there’s also a reading coming up.
“I will be reading at Blue Tavern with a few other local authors on July 18th. Please come hear us. You can hear us read from our books. I’ll be there with Rita Weinstein who’s also written about the homeless situation, Sandra Kelly (who’s) a great storyteller and Pat Stanford who’s written about brain injury.”
It’s a great opportunity to hear what’s on the minds, and in the pages, of some outstanding local writers.