Leslie Lindsay|Always with a Book|on-submission


Madness, Motherhood & Memory

This is the story of how mental illness unspools an entire family.

As I work to process my mother’s life, her death, I am fighting an invisible enemy: the legacy of mental illness. Would I, too devolve into psychosis? Could I break the cycle of strained mother-daughter relationships that go back generations on my maternal side?

Reading with the urgency of a literary thriller, Model Home is a memoir interspersed with darker, poetic elements of life and death, psychosis and sanity, love and guilt, and ultimately–resilience. Here, a vivid portrait of generations fraught with mental illness and its secrets are revealed. It’s about the destructive impact of stigma, shame and isolation, and, finally, the falsity of the notion of a perfect family. Throughout the story, we see first hand how a mental illness and family denial can strip a life of everything, only to build it back up, make it stronger. Model Home is infused with the depth and texture of past mother-daughter relationships, hinting at a legacy of mental illness, while encapsulating the interior and exterior worlds of architecture, design and aesthetics and Leslie’s identity as a (former) nurse, writer, wife, and mother.

At the core of Model Home is what makes us who we are—is it memory, biology, history, or experience? Is it a cognizant decision to pull away, to do things differently than the ones who came before? Perhaps, it’s a glimmering coalescence of all. This story will resonate with all mothers and daughters; it is a universal condition, amplified.  Through its lyrically raw and resonate depiction of one family in extreme turmoil, it asks readers to reexamine their heritage, their dysfunctional cycles, to wallow in complicated grief, and to emerge brighter, bolder, stronger.


Cynthia Swanson, New York Times bestselling author of THE BOOKSELLER and THE GLASS FOREST

In Model Home, Leslie Lindsay weaves a tapestry of childhood memories and adult grief to tell the heartbreaking story of a daughter’s decades-long struggle to come to terms with her mother’s mental illness.”

From Caroline Leavitt, bestselling author of IS THIS TOMORROW & PICTURES OF YOU

“‘Crazy is not a place,” says Lindsay, but here in this fierce, brace, and so, so moving memoir, that place, which both terrifies and draws her, lives her glittering unstable mom. Brilliantly probing the dangerous allure and legacy of her mother’s madness, Lindsay also shows how understaning her mother frees her to discover her own true self. Written in diamond sparkling prose, this book is unforgettable.”

Kathryn Craft, award-winning author of THE FAR-END OF HAPPY

Through intense imagery and profound insights–and by refusing the reader chronology with its implied hope of creating cause-and-effect meaning–Lindsay achieves a mash of past and present that illuminates the ramifications of living in a house ruled by a mother’s unsettled mind. A powerful, important, and artistically savvy evocation of living with mental illness.”

Represented by Catalyst Literary Management. Murray Weiss (at)

Photo by Pixabay on

“You have distilled this story so beautifully. I am in awe of your ability to take your own experiences and shape them into such a readable, cohesive story.”

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Leslie Lindsay|Always with a Book