I would like to thank the author for a copy of “Nowhere Else I Want to Be: A Memoir” by Carol D. Marsh for my honest review.
The genres of this book are Memoir and Nonfiction.
Carol D. Marsh found a need to work for social justice. Her need led her to found Miriam’s House a place for impoverished women with Aids. This was in 1991, when Aids was considered a taboo subject. There was only one medicine that was given, and often that was not adequate. Many of these women were poor and black with other problems and addictions. There was no family or other support system in place.
Carol and her husband diligently worked together to make this home a place that was safe for these women. In the early years, Carol was in culture shock, not really aware how her upbringing was so dramatically different from most of these women who had lived on the streets. Carol had a need to be liked and often this was in conflict with other staff members and the patients. Setting appropriate rules was a work in progress. If a patient started drinking or using drugs, there were consequences. After a certain amount of time, the patient was not allowed to stay in the home. Often Carol would have conflicted feelings depending on the person. The rules were in place for a reason, and were supposed to be consistent.
There were outings for the patients and staff that were supposed to encourage morale. Sometimes the freedom caused problems. The patients were included in decision making. Because of the womens’ distinct personalities and problems, there were arguments. Women were able to have their children live with them, if they could take care of them. Other women had their children visit.
Unfortunately, many of the women who had Aids were very sick, and some died. Other women fell back to drug and alcohol addictions, and were back on the streets.There was tragedy there as well.
As Miriam House evolved, Carol had staff more equipped to deal with the patient’s needs. Carol took a leadership course to help her in her role. In addition, new medications were now available, so there was a better chance for these women to live a longer life. Women with difficult psychiatric problems were admitted causing more problems.Sometimes a different place would have to be found for some women. If someone was too ill to be taken care of at Miriam House, Carol would have to find an adequate placement. Often that was difficult.
Carol and her husband worked at Miriam’s House for 14 years. In all the years of hardship and sacrifice, Carol felt at home and would state there is “nowhere else I want to be.
I admire Carol for her dedication in helping these women, and making their world, and ours a better place.