“Extraordinarily courageous; [Cronin] chronicles her journey to fit in and thrive with bravery and wit.”—O, The Oprah Magazine At the age of three, Eileen Cronin first realized that only she did not have legs. Her boisterous Catholic family accepted her situation as “God’s will,” treating her no differently than her ten siblings, as she “squiddled” through their 1960s Cincinnati home. But starting school, even wearing prosthetics, Cronin had to brave bullying and embarrassing questions. Thanks to her older brother’s coaching, she handled a classmate’s playground taunts with a smack from her lunchbox. As a teen, thrilled when boys asked her out, she was confused about what sexuality meant for her. She felt most comfortable and happiest relaxing and skinny dipping with her girlfriends, imagining herself “an elusive mermaid.” The cause of her disability remained taboo, however, even as she looked toward the future and the possibility of her own family. In later years, as her mother battled mental illness and denied having taken the drug thalidomide—known to cause birth defects—Cronin felt apart from her family. After the death of a close brother, she turned to alcohol. Eventually, however, she found the strength to set out on her own, volunteering at hospitals and earning a PhD in clinical psychology. Reflecting with humor and grace on her youth, search for love, and quest for answers, Cronin spins a shimmering story of self-discovery and transformation.
The story of Tragedy to Triumph is especially dedicated to my brothers and sisters who suffered years of torment at the hands of a maniacal self proclaimed preacher who ultimately hurt his family beyond imagination. Our father evaded the law for several years abandoning his eldest daughter in another state to live a life alone while holding the rest of the family captive. Four adults at the end of the journey were directly responsible for the atrocities that befell the children. Inside the home the children cried, innocence was lost and hearts were broken. This story also provides an insight into survival of the human spirit and rising above all indifference, sharing the power of faith, and miracles that happened in the midst of chaos. One person can change the future for their family and ultimately stop the cycle of abuse. This book was solely written in the hopes of saving lives.