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The House of Six Doors Paperback – February 22, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 330 pages
  • Publisher: Publishing by the Seas; Perfect bound edition (February 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0578064405
  • ISBN-13: 978-0578064406
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,010,148 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Intimate, at times lyrical, charged with pain and wonder, laughter and perennial hope, The House of Six Doors is terrific storytelling." Olga Rojer, Associate Professor, American University, Washington DC

"An honest tale of love, acceptance, and American dreams." --El Mundo

"The House of Six Doors is a beautiful weave of hard reality and romance, so real that I couldn't put it down." -Nancy Marriott, co-author of "Everything You Need to Know to Feel Go(o)d"

If you feel as though the circumstances of your life are against you and you wonder whether this will ever change, this is a story that will fill you with hope. If you have ever wanted to believe that the circumstances of your life really do work for your ultimate best interest, read The House of Six Doors. --David Robert Ord, Namaste columnist and author, "Lessons in Loving, A Journey into the Heart"

"This is an honest and compelling coming-of-age story that follows a girl as she moves between two cultures, cradled between longing for her indigenous past and the glittering promise of her future in America. Selbert artfully shines light upon the honest transformation of an immigrant family, moving from memories of a windswept island and a grandmother's wisdom to the poignant integration and reality facing all American immigrants." - Carol Prunhuber, author of "Women: Around the World and Through the Ages"

"Selbert's powerful, poignant tale provides a source of strength, in a brilliant, beautiful portrayal of a girl's coming of age and her struggles with cultural differences." --Reiki Master Julia Elizabeth Carroll, author of "Nu Reiki Oneness"

"This story rings true from beginning to end. From the moment we meet thirteen-year-old Serena with her fierce and erratic mother in the Miami airport, we know a heroine's journey has begun. After leaving the Dutch island of Curacao and her beloved grandmother, Serena navigates two worlds, which the author captures in harsh details and lyrical memories, connecting past to present, and inviting the reader on a juxtaposed journey as well. Serena's road is full of trials, tragedies, and triumphs, and in the end, we discover a determined young woman and writer has found her way." --Janet Lucy, author of "Moon Mother, Moon Daughter ~ Myths and Rituals that Celebrate a Girl's Coming of Age"

“Patricia Selbert weaves a powerful and poignant tale of wisdom in a tapestry providing a source of strength. The House of Six Doors tells the story of Serena's authentic transformation: from young island girl to woman, from small town to big city life, with a strong helping of self-realization. This is my kind of fiction!" --Janice Cook Knight, author of "The Follow Your Heart Cookbook: Recipes from the Vegetarian Restaurant"

"You will find yourself torn between cheering for the mother and wanting to sit her down for an intervention. You will think about yourself and how you would deal with things if you were in that situation. You would wish to be enveloped in Serena's grandmother's arms and hear her wisdom. You'll take that wisdom to heart for your own life. You will want to take Serena and hide her away from herself but then on the next page feel a sense of pride for her achievements. You will wish to live in Curacao but then thankful to live in your own town. You'll find yourself wanting to read more of this book." -Steena Holmes, book blogger at "Chocolate Blessings"

About the Author

Patricia Selbert raised on the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao, speaking four languages. She emigrated to California at age 13, later representing the Netherlands Antilles in equestrian events at the World championships and the Pan American Games. She lives in Santa Barbara, California, with her husband, two sons, and three dogs.

More About the Author

PATRICIA SELBERT was raised in three different countries, speaking four languages. She represented the Netherlands Antilles in equestrian events at the World Championships and the Pan American Games. Currently, she's enrolled in the Ph.D. program at Pacifica Graduate Institute. She has a special interest in the psychology of multicultural identity. Patricia lives in Santa Barbara, California, with her husband, two sons, and three dogs. www.patriciaselbert.com

Customer Reviews

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Her voice is clear and refreshing.
Diana
This is the story of Serena's survival - it is a story that will break your heart at times but will ultimately leave you feeling hopeful.
Darlene
The main characters in this book are all complex, believable and intriguing which makes for a fast paced, enjoyable read!
Helen Arnold

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Isaac Hernandez on March 12, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The House of Six Doors is a gift of beauty and wisdom, an amazing story that I literally couldn't put down, not even when I was falling asleep. But on top of that, the digital edition comes with a beautiful look at the world "inside the house". It's like getting two books into one! You will love all the photos, the stories, the recipes... and you can even learn to speak Papiamentu. Two books for the price of one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michelle Sutton on March 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
For starters, let me say this isn't a Christian novel. I found the mother and grandmother's superstitions quite intriguing, if not a bit disconcerting at times. The House of Six Doors is a coming of age story is truly hard to put down. I just wanted to keep reading until I finished the book. I liked the part early on where they traveled through Tombstone, Arizona in 1972 looking for ghosts because it was labeled a ghost town at the time. I found that funny - I live near Tombstone, so that was a plus for me.

I was intrigued by how they survived at first and how they sacrificed to help each other, sometimes to their detriment. The mother's manipulation and her guilt inducing behavior is not uncommon in families. It was intense at times and the way the author showed the negative impact on the daughters was powerful. The story really picked up for me and grabbed my heart when Serena met Sandu. Their story was beautiful and heartbreaking. I loved the occasional flashbacks where Serena remembered things from the past (before she went to live in California) that made up who she was. I found Serena to be a strong and wise girl in then end even though she started out fearful and insecure as a young teenager. Her struggles to fit in and make friends in a country where she didn't read and write English was well done. I loved the illustration of her life and how it matched the strangler-fig tree. Her older sister gave her perspective when she needed it most and her Oma provided her with the encouragement she needed to mature over time. Everyone needs an Oma in their lives who makes sense of the world and loves you regardless.

I found the ending bittersweet and yet empowering.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pat on March 19, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved this book and only feel sad that it has come to an end. I miss being part of Serena's life and truly enjoyed the jouney. With my new found education of Curacao I will put this on my next vacation desination list to personaly experience the beautiful scenery culture and people of Curacao that are so much apart of this book.

Thank you to Patricia Selbert for sharing your story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jamie Smith on February 23, 2011
Format: Paperback
Great story telling. I was captivated from beginning to end. This is a fascinating story of survival, in spite of a crazy mother, in an unknown world. I especially liked the steady and compassionate, voice of our heroine Serena, with no residual of bitterness or shame. Serena is truly a tween in every sense of the word; age, nationality, family, cultures, language and her own desires. This story was meant for film.
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Format: Kindle Edition
For eleven years, ever since I came--by accident--to live in Curaçao, I've been looking for books about this island's rich history and people. And for eleven years I found nothing. There's plenty in Dutch or Papiamentu, neither of which I read, and even if I did, most of it is non-fiction, drab and clinical, that doesn't come close to doing this magical, surreal place justice.

And then I found Patricia Selbert's House of Six Doors. The book has flaws--it is, after all, a debut novel--but richness of setting isn't one of them. Neither is emotional charge, which comes across clear and sharp, without drama, without falling into maudlin o-woe-is-me. I teared up twice, the second time uncontrollably (yeah, near the end). But I laughed, too. And I learned so much about this place I've called home for over a decade.

Patricia's knack for narrative touches a nerve at the same time ubiquitous in today's world and, strangely, seldom mentioned: the multicultural personality. In our current, globalized, reality, multiculturality is the new normal--mixed-race families, migration, children growing up in cultures diametrically different than their parents', the cultural exchange that border-breaching technology makes possible. And yet we continue to focus on "race"--skin color, place of birth--to define each other, and ourselves. And we continue to ignore the impact of culture--especially multiculture.

Serena, the book's protagonist and narrator, is light-skinned, which, in skin-color-über-sensitive Curaçao, awards her a special place in society. She's the one child that gets taken to visit her father's family on Sundays--but this family, Netherlands-born Dutch, reject her with cruel pettiness.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lauren on May 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
House of Six Doors is the coming-of-age story of a young girl named Serena. It's the early 1970s and Serena and her older sister Hendrika are emigrating to America via Miami with their mother. But Customs refuses to allow the mother to bring with her the healing herbs she had used in their native land of Curacao (a former Dutch island off the coast of Venezuela).

Though the mother's profession had been nursing she is unable to continue her work in Florida so the family travels to California with the idea that the children will become movie stars.

The book charts, through Serena's eyes as she is the narrator, their challenging journey across the country in a car, their arrival in Hollywood, and their lives as they settle in the land of their dreams.

While the book has an acceptable premise and parts are entertaining, especially their arrival in America and the car trip, my frustration level rose with each page I turned. Part of that frustration is due to the book's uncertainty about its audience. Is it for young adults? The narrator and simplistic aphorisms make it seem so, yet it also contains some fairly explicit sexual content that is probably not appropriate for most younger readers. Other problems, and these are unfortunate, include stereotypical characters, simplistic and trite observations, the perfect and ever-so-wise grandmother back in Curacao who supplies a lot of the aforementioned aphorisms, and an idealization of her birthplace. It's all too simple. Plus, there is a strong New Age-y element to it that is more irritating than genuine.

Due to the strong recommendations of previous reviewers, I read this thinking it would be good. Unfortunately, the reviews are as simplistic as the book, and in my opinion, as empty. There are promises in the storyline, but the author doesn't flesh them out. This is a not-ready-for-primetime book. Recommendation: not worth your time.
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