Monday, May 21, 2012

RagDoll Redeemed by Dawn Novotny - Review and Interview!

Happy Monday!

Welcome to my stop at the blog tour of Ragdoll Redeemed: Growing Up in the Shadow of Marilyn Monroe by Dawn Novotny. This tour is organized by:

My stop includes review of the book and an interview with the author Dawn Novotny. Let's start with the review!

Author: Dawn Novotny

Title: RagDoll Redeemed: Growing Up in the Shadow of Marilyn Monroe
Release date: 12th of January 2012
Published by: Dog Ear Publishing
Reading level: FICTION - Adult: Memoirs
Pages: 180 pages in PDF
Source: Review copy received from WOW! Women On Writing and the author Dawn Novotny


In 1963, I was just 17. I thought God had finally come through for me. Out of nowhere appeared my dashing Prince Charming. Married within three months, I was sure this was the redemption from my ragdoll beginnings. Though I had lived in the shadow of illegitimacy, bludgeoning poverty, physical and sexual abuse, I was sure I would prove worthy to my bridegroom. After all, I had remained a virgin. How was I to know that he expected me to be an aggressive sex-pot, or "whore" as he put it, modeled after the persona of his famous step-mother, Marilyn Monroe? Thus began my ill-fated effort to compete with the sexual image of Marilyn. Divorced after two years, I found myself-as I saw it-"used goods." Ironically, I reacted by becoming just what Joey had wanted- an alcoholic and a sex-object-not only in men's eyes but in my own.

My review:

I like reading memoirs once and a while and this was also the reason why I wanted to read Ragdoll Redeemed by Dawn Novotny. I am so glad that I took this opportunity! Ragdoll Redeemed was captivating and the author has had a very interesting life to say the least. I enjoyed the writing style – it was sincere, raw, and painful and it gave a lot of hope! What a journey!

Regarding the book:

Ragdoll Redeem gives you a story of a woman growing up in early 50s and her journey from being a kid whose father did not want to do anything with her to a woman whose struggles has brought her into redemption from herself.

Dawn was a girl who was brought up in a society where being a bastard was something shameful and it highly influenced her self-esteem and her understanding of how things should be. Her mother has several marriages which bring Dawn into severe abuse, poor conditions and wrecked picture of her.

Since the childhood was harsh and twisted, Dawn grows into a woman, who struggles with her sexuality, her worth and her values through her marriages. The marriage with Joey DiMaggio was complex and complicated because the expectations from her husband to Dawn were strange to Dawn. She was highly influenced by her Catholic grandmother plus her willingness to do anything to redeem herself as a bastard, clashed very hardly what Joey demanded from her – being sexy and more like his step-mother Marilyn Monroe. It leads into even worth situation for Dawn: she loved her husband and wanted to be happy and worthy to him, but experienced both impotency and abuse from him.

After divorce she dives deeper into abuse of alcohol, drugs and abusive husband, which definitely does not influence Dawn towards the positive solutions. Finally, when she meets her third husband, things start to improve, but there is still long way to understand, that the changes start from the person herself. It’s all about what meaning do you give to everything that surrounds you. You are the only person who can redeem you.

5 Flowers!
5 stars.

Thanks goes to WOW! Women On Writing and to the author for providing me with the review copy!

About the author:
Dawn D Novotny, author of Ragdoll Redeemed: Growing up in the Shadow of Marilyn Monroe, is a clinician, teacher, author, spiritual director and national workshop leader. She writes a weekly blog @  and her website is .

Dawn Novotny also agreed to give an interview to Me and Reading. So ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm welcome to the author of Ragdoll Redeemed, Dawn Novotny!

As you can see below, I have quite a few questions to Dawn. The interview is divided into several sections. First section is about her, second section is about her book, third part is about her favorites.

Part I

Please describe yourself with few sentences. Who are you?

Dawn: I'm an unrepentant seeker of all things having the potential to expand, advance and improve the emotional/psychological and spiritual potential of the human person, myself included. My tenacity is legendary although I bumble through all things new, like writing, dragging my fear behind.

What brought you to writing? When did the idea of writing your book formed?

Dawn: About ten years ago, I woke up from a dream and into my first story about the little girl part of me. I wrote about her in the third person. Not being a writer, having a lifelong struggle with letters and numbers, my husband wondered how it was possible that I could have written that first story at all. That was the beginning of several vignettes. I never imagined a book in the making until long into my writing workshops with Linda Joy Myers.

What do you do when you are not writing? Do you have any hobbies?

Dawn: My hobbies are racquetball, swing dancing, camping, reading, snorkeling, jet skiing, coffee with close friends, giving and attending workshops, writing, watching movies, and shopping. My best thing ever is hanging out with my husband and trying to sort out my challenging love of quantum physics.

What is the most difficult aspect of being a writer for you?

Dawn: The most difficult part about being a writer is the actual writing. I have numerous learning challenges such that every sentence is difficult to sort out on paper. That is where tenacity and a great coach come in (not to mention an editor).

Who or what is your Muse?

Dawn: I don't know that I have one Muse. In my next few blogs I write about women, angels without wings, who currently grace my life. They are each awesome in their own way and I aspire to be a little bit more like each of them.

Did you ever experience writer’s block when the writing process just wasn’t moving ahead?

Dawn: I did not experience writer's block while writing my memoir but I do experience blocks while writing my weekly blog. I worry about what to write about next or sounding stupid or if I will run out of ideas, and so forth.

Part II

Let’s talk about Ragdoll Redeemed!

What inspired you to want to write Ragdoll Redeemed?

Dawn: I never started out to write a book, I wanted to lean and/or improve my language skills so I signed up for a writing class which happened to be with Linda Joy Myers, president of National Association of Memoir Writers. I had these little personal vignettes already written so I started sending those each week. Over a four year period, the book Ragdoll Redeemed evolved.

Ragdoll Redeemed is about many different topics, finding God amongst many others. What does God mean to you?

Dawn: God, whatever He/She/It may be is the single most important thing in my life. God or the Ultimate Mystery is a vast topic. I think of God in terms of Spirituality. Spirituality is answering the inherent call toward alignment with the Mystery. It is noticing and responding to the spirit filled essence of all. I believe with all of my heart that God will come to every individual in the precise way that each individual can understand their concept of Him/Her/It according to their particular life experience.

I was amazed by what journey you have had in your life. What would your message be to young girls and women who are facing similar issues what you faced?

Dawn: I would say to every young girl to do whatever it takes, but find a way to be self-supporting. Have a career to fall back on no matter what. Women, me included, do things we would never dream of doing if it means feeding our children. Be smart; get job skills or a profession under your belt as soon as possible.

When I read your book I was thinking about how much the values have changed during the decades but yet, we still have a lot of abused women who do not know how to get their lives back on track. Why do you think that is?

Dawn: On one hand, I think our values haven't changed much at all. Young girls are still waiting for their prince charming and dreaming of having babies. On the other hand, look at the societal values passed down that we are individually and collectively embedded in. Drugs, guns, money, sports, being thin and famous seem to drive our culture. We all need to take responsibility for our current situation, and stop blaming mothers for everything under the sun.

There is lot of pain and anguish in your book. How do you deal with it today?

Dawn: I have been out of abusive situations for over thirty-five years. I have had years of therapy and self-help programs. I have a great, great life today and overall feel blessed beyond measure.

What went through your mind when the Ragdoll Redeemed was published?

Dawn: At first, I was so scared of the exposure that I once again had to get help with my feelings of terror and shame. Then, I felt proud to have accomplished something that was so enormously difficult, almost impossible given my history with learning disabilities. Tenacity trumps fear!

When you look back at your journey like you did in Ragdoll Redeemed, what are the most important things in your life you have learned?

Dawn: The three most important things that I have learned are: 1). Find a Higher Power that works for you. Not a 'hand me down God' from your parents or church but rather a God of your own personal understanding. You will need this strength during those times when you feel as if you can't go on because life is just too difficult. 2). Be honest about your pain and get support through self-help, friends, and/or church. No matter what happened to us, it is now our sole responsibility to fix, change, alter, heal, overcome, and get on with our lives. No excuses! 3). Never give up on your goals. Never! Never!

If you could describe with 3 sentences why people should read Ragdoll Redeemed what would you tell them?

Dawn: People should read Ragdoll Redeemed if they are interested in topics such as; tenacity, forgiveness, self-responsibility, addictions, overcoming shame, losing self, finding self and healing.

Do you have any new writing projects in process?

Dawn: My weekly blog is my current project. It is quite a challenge for me.

Part III – Favorites

What is your favorite song? You Are the Wind Beneath my Wings. This song reminds me of my husband, my best friend and my hero.
What is your favorite season? Fall
What is your favorite food? Mashed Potatoes with lots of butter
What is your favorite car? My 12-year old white Jeep. I love, love, love it.
What is your favorite color? Red to look at (rugs in my living room), lots of different colors to wear but end up with black and white because it travels well.
What is your favorite movie? Steel Magnolias
What is your favorite time of the day? Pre-dawn
What is your favorite weather? Cool and Sunny and Snowy and snuggly

Thank you so much, Dawn, taking the time to answering all my many questions! It is highly appreciated!

Happy reading!


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