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Conflicted Hearts: Book Review

How can something painful be an easy read?

Is that even possible, an easy read memoir? Almost by definition, a remarkable memoir must have a conflict or opposition that makes it memorable. At times it draws tears, uneasy drops that remind us of sad or hard times in our lives. By an easy read, I meant that I could identify with the author.

As Tina Frisco wrote, “Conflicted Hearts by D.G. Kaye reads like a personal conversation between two best friends.”

easy read memoir

A+ Book Review – Conflicted Hearts

Lost Childhood

Kaye gave up her childhood to fill the gap in her family left by her mother. She became a capable leader. Any of us who have accomplished any of our dreams probably had a dream quencher in our lives somewhere. Kaye’s mother tried to squelch her spirit. In this easy read memoir, Kaye describes how she squirmed out of her mother’s constricting grasp and maintained sanity in the family.

Narcissistic Mother

D.G. Kaye had a lifetime of dealing with her mother who alternately ignored her and depended on her.

“Imagine feeling frustrated and powerless in a situation you’re desperate to resolve. When you’re a child, that angst multiples immensely.”

Nothing D.G. ever did was good enough for her mother. When she left home, she escaped from the daily emotional trauma of her childhood. Kaye became a proactive person charting her way in life. In spite of all the childhood years coping with her mother’s neglect, gambling, and abuse, as she grew into adulthood she never refused her mother’s calls. Anyone who has lived with a narcissist understands the conflict of wanting to please the abuser and wanting to escape.

“She wasn’t the sort of mother who would call to say hello or ask how I was feeling, only to complain about something or someone. …usually pertained to my siblings, and she would often call one of them to rant about me as well.”

Kaye’s Setbacks Continued After Childhood

As Kaye aged, she suffered some serious setbacks physically including surprise heart surgery. That story held me spellbound since by this time I read how much she had faced throughout her life. I could not believe that one more thing could land on her plate. Once more she faced it with calm efficiency.

D.G. Kaye eroded the book with the holes she dug for herself trying to overcome deep pain her mother caused her. Many times she had to dig her way out of a new hole. For a time, when she was in her twenties, she decided for a while that married men were safe.

“This beautiful Adonis of a man actually wanted to have coffee with me. …I could tell he could have had any woman he chose. …Nevertheless…”

She found resting places along the way. War trenches protected her before the enemy discovered her hiding place and threatened her existence again.

We have all turned the wrong directions to find love or stability and security. We shut out the pain with bad choices that cause more pain. If we are fortunate and reflective enough, as Kaye has been, we figure out what works.


Kaye withheld few details, even ones that did not make her look like the heroine of the story. That is a rare gift. She did an admirable job of reporting the important highlights of her life. She wove her memoirs into a spellbinding story. It was an easy but not so easy read memoir.

She made me glad that I had been blessed with my narcissistic father instead of her mother. Even so, our emotional lives followed similar paths.

How to Reach D. G. Kaye (Of course there’s a story to this name!)

What About You?

Well into my fifties, I saw a counselor for an issue not related to my narcissistic father. Instead, the counselor saw the unresolved conflicts with my father and led me deeper to deal with my childhood issues. In the first session, she asked what I knew about narcissism, and referred me to some reading material. Children of narcissists often feel shame and do not want to admit they need help. If this is you, you are not alone.

If you had a narcissistic parent or caregiver, you should read Conflicted Hearts.

Related Posts

Reblogged Posts

Other books by D.G. Kaye

46 replies »

  1. Hello ,

    I saw your tweets about animals and thought I will check your website. I really like it!

    I love pets! I have two beautiful thai cats called Tammy(female) and Yommo(male).
    Yommo is 1 year older than Tommy. He is like a bigger brother for her. 🙂
    I have even created an Instagram account for them ( ) and probably soon they will have more followers than me (kinda funny).

    I have subscribed to your newsletter. 🙂

    Keep up the good work with your blog.



    • Thanks! Thanks for subscribing to my newsletter. I’m not very good about sending one. Dood luck with your pet accounts. I have a blog for my stuffed bear, Manny.


  2. Well it WAS Manhattan – so Benard was a quick subway ride away. He also had “flexible hours” – mostly set for whenever it worked for him, and it wasn’t long before I knew I could trust him with keys, so I didn’t even have to be there if he could give me a few hours.

    Whenever I needed him to work weekends, he “petty cashed” a trip to the wine or liquor store first. We worked, chatted and drank – ALL on the clock for him. He was fascinating and WONDERFUL. (and I’ll bet he misses me too!)

    I tried to get him to follow me when I had to leave NYC, but that’s where he needed to be. Boo hoo! My effectiveness has never been as good as it was with Benard by my side. He had this amazing talent of being able to “disappear” at will – meaning he was NEVER a distraction, even if he was working right next to me. If I’d been younger (or he older), I think I would have asked for his hand in marriage lol. 🙂



    • How cute. And I bet he would have said yes! I have never had anyone that close for sure. My husband and I are not meant to work together. He likes to be the boss, and doesn’t like grunt work. I don’t like being bossed around, so I don’t work well for him either. We make good friends, but I disappear, if I can, when he starts working and he does the same. We do sit at the desk and “work” together, but we have to have our own things going on. 🙂


  3. Ah – thanks for the shoulder rub! 🙂

    I actually found all but ONE of my on-site asst.s to be more disruptive than my experience with virtuals. At least a virtual can’t interrupt you at will. 🙂

    My BEST (and truly amazing on-site asst. Benard) had ZERO qualifications for the job when I interviewed him over the phone. Here’s what sold me that he was THE guy: “I can organize your entire filing system so that you can find everything you need without asking you a single question.”

    My response? “How soon can you get here?” He even noticed when I was running out of more than office supplies – like toilet paper or paper towels – took the money out of petty cash, left me a note, and brought it with him the next time he arrived, replacing the note with a receipt. He was a playwright/actor and his only requirement was that if he got a call for an audition or a meeting, I’d give him no grief about walking immediately out the door when he needed to go.

    As an ex-actor myself, I understood perfectly. The only thing you want to hear is, “Good luck, I hope you get it – go now, don’t be late.” Tough to find a job, even in NYC, where they really GET that.

    I will check out the group, but I doubt I’ll be very active, unfortunately. I avoid FB like the plague, for far too many reasons to enumerate here but the short version is that it doesn’t work with my brain-style so the ROI is extremely limited.


    • OMGosh, he sounds like a dream. Can you clone him and send him my way! Unbelievable. The organization I used to work for as Executive Director, the ED before me was amazing like that, only he quit after 3 months saying it was too much work! He was right. 🙂 Don’t worry. There’s no need to stress out. Join if you think you’d enjoy it. Otherwise, we’re good. 🙂 Thanks for the interesting comment. 🙂 I could share both success and horror stories, but none quite as grand as that. None of them came to my home. 🙂


  4. Thank you for the invite. As long as the time commitment and participation hours themselves are something I can manage I would be most honored to participate. Let me know how to follow up.

    Re: VA – I hired one at a point in my life, but it took many months to get her even partially up to speed about the unique needs of my niche, so I’m not sure how helpful she was. Half the time I felt like I was HER assistant and the other half like I was handling assigned homework to learn to use the many unfamiliar formats she truly believed would make things easier. NOT! (at least not help with my priorities, the reason I brought her on board).

    A wife, on the other hand – thinking more of the job description in the 50’s – would be a godsend. 🙂 Meals, laundry, a clean house, shoulder rubs and a cocktail would be heavenly right about now.


    • hahaha! We all need a 50s wife, though I wouldn’t want to be greeted in nearly formal attire with a kiss every night when I got home! A clean house, meals, shoulder & back rubs and a glass of wine. Now that would be great. Here’s the address to Network Bloggers. Re: Hiring a VA. I think that your experience is probably not unique. It’s much like being a secretary, which I’ve done at various times in my life, and not with tons of pleasure. I’ve had the privilege of having both secretaries and teacher’s aides. Both positions can be either irreplaceable or a constant extra teaching position depending on the person who is hired. When you are busy, it is hard to explain what you need because you don’t have time. Then if they don’t guess right, everyone is unhappy and you have to take the time to do it again – either yourself or the VA. So it can be tricky. I think having someone virtual would make it even trickier because communication is more complicated. Clear communication is difficult when you have all the senses going for you, but when you just have words, and possibly voice and video, uhm… It’s great to talk to you Madelyn. Here’s a virtual shoulder rub. I’m actually quite good at these, so I’ve been told. 🙂


    • I get that! I don’t live alone, and my husband is wonderful, but blogging-wise I need a secretary or virtual assistant. I’ve been working with my friend Maria Perez. She asked me to co-administer a blog called Networking Bloggers. She has helped me a lot to improve my social media presence. Love to have you join us. It’s a small group, all different sorts of bloggers and interests, but all of them fabulous. 🙂


  5. There are several aspects to blogging I would like to do more of, such as guest posts as well as reviews, when I can manage it. Just barely hanging by a thread at a moment but it’s good to have goals! I am desperate to finish my memoir now that I’m getting closer to that finish line…if I can keep those derailments at bay as much as possible…ever the optomist, ha! That sounds great about the Networking Blogger’s FB group, I’ve got a personal FB as well as my public ‘author’ page linked to my blog. It’s on my blog’s sidebar. I’ll look for you too and yes, it will be great to connect there, thanks again so much Marsha for thinking of me…you’re a star 🙂


  6. Hi again Marsha…catching up here this morning, and I missed this for some strange reason, apologies for that. Oh how very kind of you to offer, thank you so much, and I would definitely take you up on it, but I’ve only ever written one review on my blog which was for Harper Collins about Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir in 2015. They sent me a galley copy of her book just before it was published that September in return for me writing a review on my blog. To this day, I have absolutely no idea why they asked me, but of course I was thrilled! Once I’ve got my memoir ‘out there’ writing more book reviews is one of the things I would like to explore… 🙂


    • Wow, that’s excellent. Several authors work together to review books so that it is not so much work and it brings in more traffic for all of them. When I first started blogging, it seemed that no one read the blogs that were primarily reviews, but that has changed so much as bloggers have started collaborating and promoting each other’s work, and building communities that do the same. Kev, Sally, Marcia, the happymeercats, and Hugh Roberts all come to mind immediately. Have I invited you to join our Networking Blogger’s FB group. I think you would enjoy it. There is a nice mix of bloggers sharing ideas on it.


    • Yes, that would be me, too. I’m doing much the same work I did before I retired, but I work for myself. I still work long hours, but I can quit if I want to. The frustrating thing is not having a secretary or support staff that I can run to solve problems while I move on to other things. So I don’t get as much done. 🙂


  7. What you’re doing now sounds like a lot of fun to me – I’ll bet you even enjoy writing those reviews. People who do them as well as you do generally do.

    I’m with you on the $$$ – and I’m still working 50-60 hours a week. I have often joked about getting a job at Burger King, if only because you don’t have to even think about it once you drive out of the parking log. When you’re off you’re OFF. Nobody calls you at home to ask how many all beef patties, etc. go on that sesame seed bun. 🙂


  8. You no doubt already know many of them. My list is eclectic, however – and neuroscience heavy – but my dream is time to read books that have *nothing* to do with keeping up with my field (or research for my blog).

    I did post a few brain-based book lists some time back – but those were primarily books I’d read and recommend, and I haven’t kept up with the lists (long enough already!), so they are out of date (but still relevant & worth reading). These days I am more likely to recommend as I quote various scientists, etc. in an article or several. Many of them are eminently readable, and quite fascinating.


    • There are some advantages to retirement, but you have protect it diligently. Before I was retired, I worked 50-60 hours a week. Now I can’t tell when I’m working and when I’m not because it all blends together. Now getting paid is a different subject! 🙂 I struggle to find time to read books that with no urge, internal or external, to review them. I agree that I read more articles than books or hobby blogs now because I am becoming an expert in a new vocation, writing. 🙂


  9. I agree with Debby – riveting review. If it weren’t already on my own TBR list, it would be now. Wonderful job – thanks.
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”


    • It is inspirational. Getting to know Debby helps you realize how much she has overcome. To see her now and talk with her, you would never guess her past. Thanks for sharing that you will order the book. That pleases both of us. It’s always a thrill to know your review has an impact! Do you review books. I’m always looking for reviews to publish. 🙂


  10. Wow, Marsha, this is a fantastic review! I like that you interweave quotes from the book, making the review all that more compelling. And thanks so much for the mention. I’m so appreciative. You must tell me what software you use to create your headers; they’re striking 🙂


    • The featured picture I make on Have you used that at all? It’s pretty simple once you get the hang of it. Give me a chat sometime and I’ll walk you through it. You can get me on messenger or my email. tchistorygal@gmail. I’d love to chat.


  11. Hi Marsha. I’m here in Arizona, drinking morning coffee, admiring the mountains while buzzing around the web a bit and was humbled to find this most riveting review of my book. I always tell you that you have an uncanny knack for writing reviews, and I am thrilled that my book became one of your wonderful reviews. Thanks so much for reading and reviewing. I shall be reblogging this post on the weekend. ❤ 🙂 (P.S. once again, I cannot 'like' on your blog, lol. 🙂





Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. In November 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

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