Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bonus Review: Hadiyah Joan Carlyle

I was given the opportunity to review an extra book this month with the memoir Torch In The Dark, by Hadiyah Joan Carlyle. Taking on an extremely personal project like a memoir can be difficult, because this isn't a story someone made up to entertain...this is their life.
In reading Carlyle's story I found myself ricocheting between
a variable buffet of emotions.
Her life was frightening, sad, confusing, tragic, and infuriating throughout the story. I was torn between the conflicting emotions she had about herself, her mother and father, men in general, and her son.
Her imagery as she used the darkness to hide her, scare her, abandon her, and embrace her was particularly poignant for me. I felt the different senses, textures, and emotions of the dark because it is my world as well.
Her honest and brutal portrayal of the 60's and 70's reminded me of the truth of what kind of world we live in.
Carlyle did not filter or soften her portrayal of life lived in poverty, pain, and confusion. Torch In The Dark is a vivid exploration of the strength and power of one woman in her fight to claim a life in a world that doesn't understand or accept her. The parallel between her life experiences and the environment she found as a welder in a man's world portrayed her deeply held belief that she could find the peace she was looking for. She would become one lone torch in the dark.

Hadiyah Joan Carlyle grew up in a Jewish immigrant neighborhood in New Jersey, became active in the Civil Right movement of the sixties and migrated to San Francisco’s colorful Haight-Ashbury to be part of the counter-culture there. In the seventies, she was the first and only female shipyard welder in Bellingham, Washington, north of Seattle.

In the eighties, Hadiyah returned to the East coast to earn her MSW at Rutgers University. In 2003, she completed the certificate program in Memoir Writing through the University of Washington Extension. She is an active member of Seattle’s thriving community of writers.

Today Hadiyah lives in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood close to her son, Washington State 36th district Legislator Reuven Carlyle, his wife Dr. Wendy Carlyle and their four children. Activist, hiker, devoted grandmother, Hadiyah delights in the wild beauty of the Northwest while remaining connected to her gritty urban East Coast roots.

Though welding is no longer a part of her life, she continues to carry the torch for the empowerment of the oppressed.

You can find out more about Hadiyah Joan Carlyle, Torch in the Dark and her World of Ink Author/Book Tour at

Follow Hadiyah Joan Carlyle at
Twitter @CarlyleHadiyah


  1. This sounds interesting. Were you able to download the book in an accessible format, or did you buy a print copy and scan it?

  2. You can buy Torch in the Dark through amazon and other smash words distributors. My new desktop Kindle app that Bruce Atchinson sent out will read the amazon version. It is both an e-book as well as a traditional book

  3. Thank you for reviewing Hadiyah's memoir and sharing about it.