Martika Whylly tells her personal story of love lost and found in Having Fun with
God: A Book Report for Miss Winfrey.

Memoirist chronicles young life of loss

by Trina Berlo

Watching Oprah one day, Martika Whylly heard
the talk show hostess talking about a book report
she completed as a child. It brought to mind a book
report that Whylly never handed in when she was
in Grade 5.

She thought about how her mother, who always
encouraged her and helped her with her schoolwork,
never knew that she didn’t complete that book report
many years ago. With that memory, she felt compelled to write the report in the form of a memoir.  Whylly was 15 years old when her mother died but she felt that her mother was encouraging her to write.

“Death is just an illusion. You can’t kill energy. Our loved ones are always around us,” she said.
It turned out to be a cathartic process. Whylly doesn’t consider herself a writer but once
she sat down at the computer, she said her story just poured out of her.

It is a story of loss and reconnecting with family. “It became a healing process,” she said.
Whylly confronts death head-on in the introduction of the book Having Fun with God: A Book Report
for Miss Winfrey. In the opening of the book, she writes about the day she discovered her cousin who
had hung herself in the closet.

Whylly continued to suffer loss and abuse. She chronicles the death of those closest to her,
most potently, her mother’s suicide. Left with an abusive stepfather, Whylly decides
to follow her mother into death but experiences a protective force that stops her and brings her a
feeling of peace.

Despite the title of the book, Whylly says she is not religious but has a sense of God as being what
is beyond what we can see. In the end, while searching for her father, she discovers that she has four older sisters. The news of her father’s death from AIDS just two days before she makes contact with one sister, leaves Whylly with mixed emotions.

“‘God doesn’t take away without giving back’ was whispered in my ear as I hung up the phone,”
she writes.

Having Fun with God: A Book Report for Miss Winfrey is available at and other online

The Creemore Echo – Friday, June 19, 2015