Red City Review


No Blood In the Turnip: Memoirs of a Codependent by Maple Sudds

Taking its name from the well-known adage (you can’t get blood from a turnip), No Blood In the Turnip tells the remarkable story of Maple Sudds as she progresses through the various stages of life, from childhood to young adulthood and finally to motherhood.  Throughout the years, Maple is confronted by a variety of obstacles that begin to alter the way she behaves around her family – in particular her father, and, later, her husband.  Maple’s father is absent during the majority of her childhood days, and yet she needs him in order to be provided with basic necessities like food, clean water, and a roof over her head.  Without even realizing it, her unresolved issues with her own father lead Maple to pursue a marriage with a similarly inhibited husband.  Codependent (if you’re unfamiliar with the word) is the term given to “one who has let another person’s behavior affect him or her, and who is obsessed with controlling that person’s behavior.  This painful fallacy leads many people into unproductive – and even destructive – marriages, by preying on optimism and making a person believe that he or she can really change their spouse’s behavior, that they are helping them become better people.  Truthfully, though, it’s only another form of enabling.  After realizing her mistake, Maple seeks to turn things around in order to help her two sons avoid making the same mistakes with their own families later on.

No Blood In the Turnip is a smart mix of memoir and social sciences textbook; readers get an excellent blend of both research and story.  Throughout her book, Maple muses upon the self-defeating aspects of codependency, and how it tends to propagate problems in future families by rewarding (or at least letting go unpunished) these destructive behaviors.  She posits that by improving the family dynamic today, we can help ensure a stable family structure further down the line, a theory that makes great sense.  Maple’s story shows how even unconscious learned behaviors can actively impinge upon your happiness, and, hopefully, will inspire readers to take a closer look at their own lives and gather the courage to make a change.

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