In her memoir “Out From the Underworld,” Heather Siegel takes us into her childhood inside a dark, musty, and moldy basement where she lives with her sister, brother and father. Her mother left the family and then passed away. Her father can’t seem to function without her in his life and escapes to work at the funeral home or on his dates with women he met from personal ads. Her grandparents prefer to ignore the fact that they all live in their basement. When her father can’t seem to get things under control, the siblings are sent to live in various foster homes, Eventually, Heather and her siblings finish their childhood years with their father in a basement with no windows.
Siegel shares bits of memories of her mother, ways that she and her siblings survive, and her dreams for their future. Traveling through the pages, Siegel grows from a 5 year old to an adult, going to college and working two jobs to pay for it. Through all the hardships, Heather always found a way to appear happy, normal, and sane. With both of her parents suffering from mental illness, it is a wonder she and her siblings survived at all.
“Out From the Underworld” is one of those stories that shows how people can rise from difficult situations and prove society wrong. If you have a dream, intelligence, resourcefulness, and a sense of humor, you can accomplish anything.
Siegel and her siblings survived harsh conditions, horrible memories, and tragic childhoods and came out ahead. She doesn’t spend time in the book whining about her sad life, her father’s poor choices, or lack of family to support them. She instead shares how she and her siblings stuck together and focuses on the few angels who supported them and made them feel special. Heather also is thankful for the many books she disappeared into during her childhood. She is another example of how reading can set you free.
Her resilience is inspiring.