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article imageReview: Author of family memoir deeply moved by show of support Special

By Jonathan Farrell     Nov 21, 2014 in Entertainment
Sonoma - Local author and longtime Sonoma Valley Broker/Realtor, Catherine Sevenau, was deeply moved by the friends and family that showed up at her book reading and signing event on Nov. 13 at Readers' Books in Sonoma.
Her newly published book, "Passages from Behind These Doors: A Family Memoir," is a very personal recollection of her growing up during the 1950s and turbulent but exciting 1960's. Poignant and revealing, Sevenau held little back as she disclosed family history and personal lives. When she writes things like, "my parents were like black and white, oil and water, sin and prayer."
Sevenau is not only revealing things, she is releasing them. "My father, not one to boil over, married a kettle of emotions. If he could’ve loosened his grip and if my mother hadn’t completely unraveled, perhaps my childhood would’ve have been different. But it was what it was." Her family memoir was well received by those in attendance at the Studio 35 gathering last month and she was keen to read to those attending the official book launch event last Thursday night.
Reading from her very first publication   Passages from Behind These Doors: A Family Memoir   author...
Reading from her very first publication, "Passages from Behind These Doors: A Family Memoir," author Catherine Sevenau officially launched her book at Readers' Books in Sonoma on Nov. 13, 2014. Her grandson Satchel (standing in background) and many others in attendance showing their support and appreciation.
courtesy of Catherine Sevenau
Yet she was unprepared for the surprise over-flow in attendance. "My book launch on Thursday night at Readers' was a 'life event,'” she said, “it absolutely was." Sevenau posted on Facebook, "I felt held, seen, heard, and loved. It was joyous with my heart filled to the brim. It could very well be the high point of all this (and you know what, it would be enough)," she added. "It will be seeds of my book going further than that room and my circle of friends."
Musician and singer Chris Giovacchini provided some music before author Catherine Sevenau began her ...
Musician and singer Chris Giovacchini provided some music before author Catherine Sevenau began her reading that Thursday evening.
courtesy of Catherine Sevenau
This memoir of short stories is just one part of her writing. Sevenau has compiled five volumes on her family genealogy and blog posts regularly on her website. In addition she co-hosts, 'Random Acts' a monthly open mic, at Readers'. Owner, Andy Weinberger was pleased with the turn out. These types of events, especially book-launches are a reminder that books are not a thing of the past, but are very much alive and well in today's 21st Century technologically driven society.
A resident of Sonoma for over 40 years, Sevenau knows just about everyone. "My life has interwoven with so many through the years, crisscrossing in various ways. This town is my family,” she said, my community, and my safety net."
Readers  Books shop owner Andy Weinberger was very pleased with the turn out for Catherine Sevenau s...
Readers' Books shop owner Andy Weinberger was very pleased with the turn out for Catherine Sevenau's book launch. Sevenau's writing echoed some of the 1960's, Weinberger also recalled that time. "If you were a young person then (and who wasn't) there was a certainty in your heart that you were riding the crest of an unstoppable wave. Our music (we thought) contained all the truth we'd ever need. You might not know where things were headed, but still the times they were a-changin', as Bob Dylan
courtesy of Catherine Sevenau
Passages from Behind These Doors: A Family Memoir  author Catherine Sevenau  includes family photos ...
Passages from Behind These Doors: A Family Memoir, author Catherine Sevenau, includes family photos in her book and blog.
Courtesy of Catherine Sevenau
Sevenau's early life was much different than the life she now leads. Her memoir explores a turbulent childhood with breakdowns and broken dreams of a fractured family. "I was raised by a thirteen-year-old sister who was put in charge of my upbringing until I was four, spent the next five years with an unhinged mother, then went to live with my older sister in Southern California. I spent my summers, from the time I was 12, working with my father in his five-and-dime in the Haight. All of that was a long time ago, and those events shaped me into who I am today. They’re a part of me, but do not define me.”
Catherine at age 11  around the time she spent summers in San Francisco with her dad at his Five & D...
Catherine at age 11, around the time she spent summers in San Francisco with her dad at his Five & Dime shop on Haight Street.
Courtesy of Catherine Sevenau
Shop sign of the  Five & Dime  that her father managed on Haight Street during the 1960 s.
Shop sign of the 'Five & Dime' that her father managed on Haight Street during the 1960's.
Courtesy of Catherine Sevenau
When at her Studio 35, reading she stumbled upon words and took a breath for a few moments, revealing painful details, gingerly written prose, almost poetic-like. Still, the narratives are told with brutal honesty, humor, irreverence and grace, reflecting her will to survive, and also to thrive.
With her granddaughter  author Catherine Sevenau looks towards the future  despite a troubled and tu...
With her granddaughter, author Catherine Sevenau looks towards the future, despite a troubled and turbulent past. "I believe what got me through those difficult times was meeting and being with good people who could help me and also finding my voice and the courage to write about those experiences."
courtesy of Catherine Sevenau
To learn more about author Catherine Sevenau and her book, "Passages from Behind These Doors: A Family Memoir," visit her web site and blog.
More about Catherine Sevenau, Readers Books Shop, Sonoma, California, Passages from Behind These Doors A Family Memoir
 
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