Memoir details local woman’s story of overcoming abuse, poverty


Two months ago, Jacksonville native Dr. Teresa Van Woy published an inspirational memoir about her childhood struggles with abuse and poverty.

At 7 years old, Van Woy’s mother packed her and her siblings into a camper for a cross-country trip, which landed them in the bustling city of San Francisco. But living in this new city turned out to be more of a nightmare than a dream for Van Woy and her siblings as they struggled with poverty and homelessness.

After half of her siblings were sent back to Jacksonville to live with their father, Van Woy and her remaining siblings were left to deal with their mother’s mistreatment. In her teenage years, Van Woy moved back to Jacksonville to live with her father, where she paid for tuition out of her own pocket at Bishop Kenny High School, a private, Catholic high school near San Marco.

Van Woy’s memoir, titled “Wildflower: A Tale of Transcendence,” details her journey from Jacksonville, to San Francisco, and eventually back to Jacksonville again. At its core, the memoir focuses on overcoming abuse/poverty, being kind and seeing the world in a different light. Told through the eyes of a child, it also includes the adventures and fantasies of a young kid living a better life.

The memoir began as an activity for a motivational class that Van Woy attended, where her teacher encouraged her to write down her story to inspire other people as she had inspired their class. Van Woy was hesitant at first, but now that her book has over 115 positive reviews on Amazon, she knows it was the right choice.

“I am getting a lot of stories from strangers of things going on in their past,” said Van Woy. “I even got a message from someone saying, ‘Your book inspired me so much… it gave me the strength I need…’”

At her home in the San Francisco Bay Area, Van Woy says the bookstores have her memoir in the window, but they continuously sell out.

“Wildflower: A Tale of Transcendence” is available on Amazon, but can also be purchased by visiting a local bookstore and requesting booksellers to order it.