All posts tagged: grief

Memoir Monday May Roundup with an emphasis on Motherhood & Mental Illness

By Leslie Lindsay May is all about growth. Spring is in full bloom; and it’s a time for recognition and celebration, but it can also be a loaded month. Over thirty years ago this month, my mother devolved into psychosis. We were estranged starting in my tweens, until her suicide over six years ago. How does that leave me to mother my own daughters? Would I fall victim to the same genetic legacy? Could I break the cycle of poor mother-daughter relationships? And how do I celebrate Mother’s Day with no mother? How did I celebrate my mother when she was alive and not capable of being much of one? “I am so grateful to have this conversation with you. It means a great deal respond to someone who has so carefully read my work and I’m thankful to have this opportunity to reflect in this way.” -Vince Granta, EVERYTHING’S FINE For the entire month of May, I’ve featured some really wise and thoughtful authors–they’ve courageously shared their relationships with their mothers, opened up about …

Nicole Bokat talks about her gorgeously written THE HAPPINESS THIEF, motherhood & careers, the happiness movement, thriving vs surviving, grief, being an empty-nester, how writing fiction is a privilege, more

By Leslie Lindsay  Edgy, smart, and propulsive blend of literary thriller meets family dysfunction. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Spotlight: Motherhood & Mental Illness A masterful tale of family dysfunction, enmeshment, interconnected twists, the infallible effect of memory and emotion, lies, and so much more in Nicole Bokat’s THE HAPPINESS THIEF (SWP, May 18 2021). Natalie Greene is a 41-year old recently divorced woman raising a 15-year old daughter. Even now, she still believes she caused the car crash that led to her mother’s death when she was thirteen. But did she? Haunted by this, her dissolving marriage (and the fact that her ex has so easily moved on), Natalie is trying to make ends meet while being a freelance food photographer when strange emails, the death of her stepfather, and a large FedEx package appears and then disappears, catapulting her back to those earlier days. But there’s more: a recent trip to the Cayman Islands where her stepsister, happiness guru, Isabel’s, conference was held, an eerie similarity to the car crash that happened to Natalie’s mother nearly 30 years prior. Could the two …

Maryanne O’Hara and I chat about LITTLE MATCHES, a gorgeous tribute to her late daughter, who suffered from cystic fibrosis, transformational healing, reiki, end-of-life doulas, & so much more

By Leslie Lindsay  What happens when your only child dies of a tragic genetic disease and you’re left to grapple with the meaning of life? ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS | ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Memoir Monday: Mental Health Awareness Month What happens when your only child dies of a tragic genetic disease and you’re left to grapple with the meaning of life? This is the overarching question that plaques novelist Maryanne O’Hara as she makes sense of the senseless loss of her adult daughter, Caitlin, following a near-lifelong battle of cystic fibrosis (CF) in her forthcoming memoir, LITTLE MATCHES (HarperOne, April 20 2021). Immediately, I was enthralled with the deep well of questions this wise writer posits to the reader: Where is she?Is she?Is there more to life than this life?Does consciousness survive death?Does my existence have any purpose?Does anyone’s? Of course, death is the only certainty in life and while that’s ironic (and a bit glib), there is so much life that happens in that interstitial space. This is why I think I love LITTLE MATCHES. Maryanne and her husband, Nick, …

Hugely moving and tragic memoir, EVERYTHING’S FINE about mothers, sons, & brothers…one with severe mental illness, a horrific tragedy, healing, more–Vince Granata and I chat about this and more

By Leslie Lindsay An extraordinarily moving memoir about a family ripped from balance at the hands of a severally mentally ill individual, EVERYTHING IS FINE (Atria, April 2021) is about grief, mental illness, mothers and sons, and so much more.  ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS |ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Memoir Monday: Mental Health Awareness Month An extraordinarily moving memoir about a family ripped from balance at the hands of a severally mentally ill individual, EVERYTHING IS FINE (Atria, April 2021) is about grief, mental illness, mothers and sons, and so much more.  I finished this book last night and I am so moved and yet, simultaneously disturbed. It’s one of the most gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, authentic memoirs I’ve read in a long time. This family will stay with me. Vince Granata recalls standing in front of his suburban home, chalk in hand, as he greeted his mother and father and three siblings (triplets) home from the hospital. The family had just doubled in size. He was ecstatic; finally: playmates, siblings. But twenty-three years later, one of those siblings–Tim–will develop severe mental illness–likely schizophrenia. He’s plagued by paranoid delusions, …

Laird Hunt talks about how ZORRIE was inspired by his grandmother, her ties to Indiana, plus memory, being a literary citizen, the transformative, multifaceted aspects of the color green, more

By Leslie Lindsay  Gorgeously and sparsely told tale of one woman’s life from her hardscrabble days on an Indiana farm and everything in-between. ~Writers Interiewing Writers|Always with a Book~ March Spotlight: Historical Fiction O Magazine’s Most Anticipated Historical Fiction Novels of 2021   This stunning and luminously told story is so affecting, and transformative, too. Set against the harsh, quintessential Midwestern landscape, ZORRIE (Bloomsbury, Feb 9, 2021) is at once a historical fiction of a one woman’s life, but also a study in Americana, grit, and the transformative events of the 20th century. Zorrie is an orphaned child who goes to live with her aunt on a farm in Indiana. She’s twenty-one when she decides to set off on her own, and it just so happens to be in the midst of the Great Depression. She ends up in Illinois working odd jobs and then at the radium plant, sleeping in abandoned barns and under the stars. At the end of the day, the girls from the factory glowed from the radioactive material. Here she meets several young women who become friends–those …

lyrical and hauntinly sublime literary fiction from yaa gyasi about race in america, but also about depression, anxiety, addiction, spirtuality & science in transcendent kingdom

By Leslie Lindsay  One woman’s reckoning with her family of origin, its dysfunctional aspects, a suicidal mother, a tragic event with a brother, science, and so much more.   ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ FEBRUARY SPOTLIGHT: WOMEN WRITERS OF COLOR A TODAY SHOW #ReadWithJenna BOOK CLUB PICK! INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER I had a feeling I would like TRANSCENDENT KINGDOM (Knopf, September 2020), I had no idea how much I would *LOVE* TRANSCENDENT KINGDOM. Yaa Gyasi is animmensely talented writer who tells a dark story with such luminous grace and compassion. Quick take: Gifty is a sixth-year neuroscience PhD candidate at the Stanford University School of Medicine. She’s studying the reward-seeking behavior of mice and the neural circuits in depression and anxiety and addiction, and with good reason. As often the case, many scientists study what they study because they have somehow been touched by the issues personally. In Gifty’s case, it’s her family members who have. Gifty’s brother, Nana, was a talented athlete with much promise, but before all of that, the family immigrated from Ghana to Alabama(and …

Leesa Cross-Smith’s highly anticipated THIS CLOSE TO OKAY, touching on mental health, illness, infertility, with a comforting hand + writing prompt, more

By Leslie Lindsay  A cathartic novel about two strangers coming together under adverse conditions, a bevy of emotional baggage, that in the end is hopeful and comforting. ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ February Spotlight: Women Writers of Color Marie Claire’s The 2021 Book Releases to Pre-Order and Thank Yourself Later10 new books the RUSSH team will be reading in 202110 most anticipated novels to read this winter @ The Everygirl16 Passionate Book Recommendations From Your Favorite Authors @ GlamourHere Are The Best Books To Read in 2021 (So Far) @ Good Housekeeping 32 Great Books To Start Off Your New Year @ Refinery2943 Books by Women of Color @ Electric LiteratureMost Anticipated BIPOC Winter Releases @ SheReadsThe 21 Novels We Can’t Wait To Get Our Hands On in 2021 @ Off The Record10 Most Anticipated Books of 2021, According to Goodreads @ TodayThe Most Anticipated Books of Winter 2021 @ ParadeThe 55 Most Anticipated Novels of 2021 @ ElleMost Anticipated: The Great First-Half 2021 Book Preview @ The MillionsThe Best New Books to Read …

Debut author Ashley audrain talks about her ravishingly dark and twisted THE PUSH, about motherhood, the postpartum period, intergenerational trauma, family legacy + reading list, more

By Leslie Lindsay  Deliciously dark and juicy psychological drama–a DEBUT–you’ll be talking about long after you turn the last page, the issues and concerns surrounding motherhood, family history, genetics, and more.  ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ THE PUSH (forthcoming from Pamela Dorman Books/PRH January 5, 2021) is one of those buzzy–OMG–books you’ll devour in one sitting. Is it a conversation-started? You bet. Will have it have you puzzling out your own maternal history–going back generations? Yes, that too. Here, we meet Blythe Connor, a woman whose experience of motherhood is not at all what she imagine. Blythe is determined to be the warm, caring, generous mother she herself never had. Still, she can’t let go of the disturbing, nagging thought that her daughter, Violet is not like other children. Is something ‘off?’ She’s distant, defiant, stubborn, antisocial, angry. Is she dangerous? Is Blythe just exhausted? Is it because Blythe doesn’t have much of a mother figure and her childhood was distorted? And her mother’s childhood, too? Maybe. Here we examine motherhood in the most …

MEREDITH HALL talks about her luminescent novel, BENEFICIENCE, about one Maine FARM family’s experience with a terrible loss, the way we absorb grief, and the subconscious way of art + thinking about characters long after

By Leslie Lindsay  ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS  A deep, ravishing, quiet tale of a family upended by grief, a timely and topical exploration of what it means to be a family, and yet divided. Years ago, I read and loved Meredith Hall’s sweeping memoir, WITHOUT A MAP, and knew I had to get my hands on her first fiction, which is every bit as luminous and perceptive. When they met in the 1930s, Doris and Tup’s love was deep and visceral and immediate. Doris leaves behind her mercantile-minded family, where a life running her father’s shop was in the works, for Tup’s family farm, where his parents and grandparents and great-grandparents worked the land and are buried underneath the pines on farm cemetery. Their lives follow the calming–predictable–cycles of the seasons, the land. Cows are milked, calves are birthed, hay is rolled. There’s the garden and the canning, the laundry, the children–all three of them. Each day, they are grateful. But then the unthinkable happens. Faith is shattered. Grief permeates the walls, …

Is there a WRONG WAY TO SAVE YOUR LIFE? Maybe our experiences are so widely varied that there is no wrong—or right way? Megan STIELSTRA talks about thiS, motherhood, feeling stuck, being seen

by Leslie Lindsay Raw, bold and ravishing memoir loosely hinged on the concept of fear. ~MEMOIR MONDAY|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS Book of the Year Award, Nonfiction, Chicago Review of Books, December 2017 Best Books of 2017, Chicago Public Library, December 2017 Best Books of 2017, Chicago Magazine, December 2017 Best Books of 2017, Heidi Stevens for the Chicago Tribune, December 2017 2017 Favorites, The Rumpus, December 2017 Best Nonfiction of 2017, Vol 1. Brooklyn, December 2017 Best Books by Women in 2017, Bustle, November 2017 Great Essay Collections of 2017, Book Riot, November 2017 Finalist, Book of the Year, Nonfiction, Chicago Writer’s Association, October 2017 Is it instinct, or distinct? I am not sure and I think both apply in THE WRONG WAY TO SAVE YOUR LIFE by Megan Stielstra (Harper Perennial, 2017). Here, we dive into so many topics that are forbidden at the dinner table: feminism, the perils of academia, the writing life, postpartum depression, childhood cancer, motherhood, sex. And fear. There’s so much fear under these words, it’s palpable. These essays–or stories–snapshots, …