Liberty Kovacs' life story has all the elements of the American Dream, both its myth and its reality. Breaking free from the patriarchal rule of her Greek immigrant family, she set an uneasy but independent course that led to her becoming a nurse and marrying fellow Ohioan, the poet James Wright. Headed for the fabled Land of Happiness, Life broke in with all its unpredictable misery: living in Minneapolis with their two sons, the marriage was soon riven by alcoholism, angers, unspeakable trauma and eventually bitter divorce. Bereft but courageous, Liberty set a new course and headed west to San Francisco where she had a scholarship to study psychiatric nursing. A single mother, she experienced triumphs in her profession, married again and bore a third son - that household too fell victim to unhappiness and despairs. Yet with each blow, her spirit rose again and again, never giving up on herself or her sons, whom she writes about with disarming openness. -Merrill Leffler, publisher of Dryad Press, author of Partly Panemonium, Partly Love, Take Hold ... Read more
Customer Reviews (4)
One in a series of "True Stories of Courage and Inspiration" offered by RDR Publishers, Liberty's Questtraces the strenuous journey to personal freedom by the daughter of illegal Greek immigrants.Liberty, known to friends as "Libby," was an independent adventurer even as a young girl, barely keeping inside cultural limits set by her patriarchal father who saw no life for her other than to marry a man he chose from his circle of Greek friends in the Ohio Valley.A life-long learner, Libby sets out in fascinating detail her strategy to be a "good girl" so her father would let her finish high school, followed by her tough choice to be disinherited so she could go to nursing school rather than settle into a traditional domestic role.
She persists on her pathway of education via formal schooling through a PhD leading to her career as a marriage and family therapist.Libby searches for ever deeper understanding of herself and others inside many settings: from relationships with two husbands--both troubled and charming, motherhood to three challenging sons, whitewater rafting including down the rugged Colorado River twice, and--at what she calls the "fringe of old age"--continuation of her search for meaning in this memoir recounting her unique traveler's tale, a beacon of wisdom for women who yearn to escape 2,000 years of patriarchy and discover who they can become.A fascinating and provocative read!
Liberty Eventually Fulfills Her Quest
Liberty is the quintessential Mother, mother to all, even those who are not her children. She lives, or at least everyday strives to, "with love, acceptance, and generosity," and it seems she is only met with the opposite. Her Greek family was utterly traditional, in the sense that the men were oppressively dominant. When she breaks away from her father's plans, she starts a family and a career, thinking that the worst is behind her. Unfortunately for her, but fortunately for all of us that now get to indulge in her tale, she falls back into a familiar cycle of adversity.
In the kind of uplifting human interest depiction that goes right along with the season, Liberty shows the absolute fortitude and indomitableness that even the most poised and graceful of us envy. It is not sickly sweet, it is real and quite open with its honesty-and in its rawness it is inspirational. This book will light the fire in your hearth, switch on the festive lights in and hanging from your home, and give you perspective about your problems.
Inspirational message from her very soul
Reviewed by Danelle Drake for Reader Views (10/08)
With great will Liberty Kovacs lives her own epic tale.Never has life been easy, never has she succumbed to a challenge, never has she shown anything by incredible courage and grit.
We begin the journey in the Dodecanese Islands in the Aegean Sea of Greece where although very beautiful dealt Liberty a life full of challenge.The father was master and all other family members were to know their place.Explaining the culture of Greece gives great insight into Liberty's young lifestyle and shows the reason she chose to follow her own heart and astronomical courage it took for her to do so.Liberty heard many, many times growing up the little ditty, "A man may work from daylight to dusk, but a woman's work is never done."She knew the work she was to do would be of her own choosing.
This simple sign showed her the way out:
YOUNG WOMEN WANTED
TO JOIN THE NURSE CADETS.
AFTER TWO AND A HALF YEARS OF TRAINING
IN A NURSING PROGRAM,
THE GRADUATE WOULD CONTRIBUTE
TWO YEARS OF SERVICE
TO THE ARMY NURSE CORPS.
From there we travel with this extraordinary woman thru love, marriage, child-birth and a path of amazing careers.
Never giving up, a fierce spiritual warrior, conquering any and all obstacles thrown her way, Liberty Kovacs is a great life to read in "Liberty's Quest."Family was always greatly important to Liberty and this woman shows us we can have it all!
The Myth and Reality of the American Dream
"Liberty's Quest" is the amazing memoir of Liberty Kovacs. Her family roots go back to the Dodecanese Islands in the Aegean Sea of Greece.
The book is divided into three parts.Part I includes her early family life which was centered on the customs and beliefs of the Greek Orthodox Church,
Liberty tells of her paternal and maternal roots, their marriage, her birth, and her siblings.She relates stories of family feuds, memories of school, her love for reading and of the impact of WWII on her family.
Part two covers her marriage and the ensuing years as the wife of Poetry Pulitzer Prize winner, James Wright. She brilliantly describes her multi-faceted education in nursing, Jim's family background, his teaching job in Texas, and of their sojourn in Philadelphia. Jim then enrolled for a year at the University of Vienna. With amazing insight and openness Liberty describes the psychological difficulties of their marriage. While in Vienna their first son Franz was born. (Franz also became the winner of the Poetry Pulitzer Prize).
As a result of a contact with a friend in Vienna Jim enrolled in the graduate program in English at the University of Washington in Seattle. Jim excelled in his studies. Liberty found solace in her work. Jobs in Minneapolis and a new son, Marshall did not eliminate the alienation of a broken relationship doomed from the beginning.
Part III tells of Liberty's from Minnesota to California and of how she created a whole new world for herself and her two sons. In her job in San Francisco she was given advanced training ford medical, public heath and psychiatric nursing. In 1965 Liberty married Miklos M. Kovacs.Liberty gave birth to her third son, Michael Kovacs in 1966. The intervening years tell of more unhappiness and despair.
I found Kovac's attention to detail in the historical and cultural perspectives of her family both interesting and engaging. Her insights into relationships and the psychological needs of the individual are profound. Her writing is strong, open, and well organized.
"Liberty's Quest" is an inspiration, courageous and triumphant in spite of unhappiness and despair. An amazing epic of a person's search for personal freedom.
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