All posts tagged: mental illness

Tori Starling talks about her debut, CRAZY FREE, traversing three generations of women, postpartum depression, anxiety; plus a defunct mental health institution, how we need more resources, the healing power of energy medicine, more

By Leslie Lindsay What if the story you had always been led to believe about your family was shaken with a new, devastating truth? ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Spotlight: Motherhood & Mental Health What if the story you had always been led to believe about your family was shaken with a new, devastating truth? That’s the overarching question in CRAZY FREE (Juniper Ray Publishing, April 20th), a debut by Tori Starling. I was immediately entranced with this stunning cover, but what’s more: CRAZY FREE focuses on issues that are near and dear to my heart: motherhood and mental illness. Emily Sharp has always known there were holes in her family history. Her mother, Pam, a high-strung attorney, rarely speaks of her father she despises and her mother died when she was a baby. Emily is a journalist with an assignment from Southern Speaks, a local magazine, to investigate a defunct mental institution known as Hamilton Meadow. While there, Emily discovers more about the institution and Pam reluctantly opens up about her sordid family …

Claire Phillips talks about A ROOM WITH A DARKER VIEW, her mother’s struggle with paranoid schizophrenia, how sharing your darkest moment might bring light and hope to yourself–and others, more

By Leslie Lindsay  What if your mother were blisteringly intelligent and ambitious and yet…she devolved into a stew of paranoia, delusions, and more? ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Memoir Monday: Mental Health & Motherhood This unflinching, insightful, and troubled memoir A ROOM WITH A DARKER VIEW: Chronicles of My Mother and Schizophrenia by Claire Phillips is ambitiously and intelligently told. Claire’s mother, Joy is an Oxford-trained lawyer diagnosed in midlife with paranoid schizophrenia. Here, the author takes a feminist lens and tells her story, recollecting her childhood–and her mother’s–an elegant, non-linear manner, arriving at the dark, and inevitable conclusion. We get a striking glimpse of Claire’s mother from her younger days, the stress of being one of the only practicing female attorneys at time when it was primarily men, her father’s aspirations and career as a scientist, more. Phillips leads us through dark hallways where portraits of delusional thinking and paranoia hang, like a specter. But it’s more than that: A ROOM WITH A DARKER VIEW touches on the broken mental health system, adult children as a caregivers, mental health homelessness, shame, and the universal worry: …

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, …

Sylvia True talks about her astonishing novel-based-on-a-true story, WHERE MADNESS LIES, combining elements of historical fiction, medicine, mental illness, motherhood, secrets, more

By Leslie Lindsay Such a beautifully tragic and heart-wrenching tale of hope and redemption, a lesser-known slice of WWII, combining intergenerational trauma, mental illness, secrets, more. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Spotlight: Women’s Historical Fiction I was absolutely struck by the themes and ideas—and writing—in WHERE MADNESS LIES (Top Hat Books, February 1 2021) by Sylvia True, which is a gorgeous and devastating voyage into the madness of madness, tracing the Nazis’ view of the morally disgusting idea of racial hygiene, but also eradicating ‘any life not worth living,’ such as those deemed feebleminded, mentally ill, sexually degenerate, more. Alternating between the 1980s Massachusetts, and 1930s Germany, with a brief stint in Switzerland, WHERE MADNESS LIES is so beautifully rendered. I was in awe at the breadth of this book–in terms of historical accuracy, emotional intelligence, compelling voice/characters, how it’s based on a true story, and so much more. This story is hauntingly compelling, devastating, and horrifying, yet there’s a glimmer of hope dangling from a pearl. WHERE MADNESS LIES is achingly honest and masterful, a page-turner with fully developed characters and timelines, each …

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 …

NYT bestselling author Bob Kolker talks about his oprah book club pick HIDDEN VALLEY ROAD, the history–and future–of schizophrenia, family trauma, resillience, & so much more

By Leslie Lindsay  A razor-sharp tale of one American family ravaged by the devastating effects of mental illness, schizophrenia, in particular. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ WEDNSDAYS WITH WRITERS OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB PICK #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER  ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES TOP TEN BOOKS OF THE YEAR ONE OF THE WALL STREET JOURNAL TOP TEN BOOKS OF THE YEAR PEOPLE’S #1 BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR  Named a BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR by The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, TIME, Slate, Smithsonian, The New York Post, and Amazon  Meet the Galvins. They are your all-American family living in Colorado in the 1950s-70s, except they have one big secret, and one big family: half of the dozen children are afflicted with mental illness. Welcome home to HIDDEN VALLEY ROAD: Inside the Mind of an American Family (Doubleday, April 2020) and meet Don and Mimi, their ten good-looking boys, and equally stunning daughters. After WWII, Don’s work with the Air Force brings them to Colorado, where the baby-making doesn’t seem to cease. But not to worry, Mimi has it all under control. She’s …

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 …

Ravishing bold & meaty memoir focusing on mothers, mental health, grief, but also trauma, the female body, traditional ‘womanhood;’ plus writing structure, more in WIVING

By Leslie Lindsay  Ravishingly bold and haunting memoir about growing up Mormon, ‘wifely’ expectations, mental illness, and sexual abuse. ~Writers Interviewing Writers |ALWAYS WITH BOOK~ I was immediately taken with this compassionately visceral and lyrical memoir by Caitlyn Myer.  WIVING (Arcade Books/Skyhorse Publishing, July 2020) is so brave, so bold, all things laid bare account of the author’s upbringing, but also abuse and personal sexuality. Raised Utah in a traditional Mormon family, Caitlin Myer’s life had an expected trajectory: she would attend church-related activities, hold on to her virginity, learn to be sweet and compliant, keep a hope chest, and then when the time was right, she would marry and enter ‘full womanhood.’ I read with such an urgency a worry and an impending sense of doom–things do not go to plan. As much as I loved WIVING, it’s a challenge to summarize it in terms of plot–it comes to the reader in a fragmented, spiraling thread, and I love this structure. It’s much like life in that sense, and in what I think encompasses the entirety of the narrative: …

Miriam Feldman talks about how reality is written in pencil, not pen, telling her story & inspiring others, not being embarrassed by her son’s schizophrenia, self-care & so much more in HE CAME WITH IT

By Leslie Lindsay A deeply profound and troubling story about one family’s struggle with their son’s devolve into a severe mental illness, and yet, it’s hopeful and unifying. ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Miriam Feldman, artist, a mother, writer, a mental health advocate, and so much more invites the reader into her chaotic, heart-breaking, but hugely honest and authentic life raising a son with schizophrenia in HE CAME WITH IT (Turner Publishing, June 23 2020). I’m no stranger to mental illness. My mother died by suicide five years ago after a lifelong battle with schizoaffective disorder. I worked as a child/adolescent psychiatric R.N. and to say that I’ve seen it all would be inaccurate. Each individual and each family present differently. We’re individuals. We don’t always respond the same, even if the diagnosis–or the overall issue–is similar. That’s why so much more awareness, openness, and advocacy is needed. And that’s why we need more books like HE CAME WITH IT. The Feldman-O’Rourke’s live in an idyllic L.A. suburb where generations of families enjoy deep roots in old homes. Miriam and …

Master storyteller Diane Chamberlain is back talking about her new novel, BIG LIES IN A SMALL TOWN, featuring strong women, art restoration, WPA, mental illness, and more. Plus, kitchen renovations and dog stories.

By Leslie Lindsay Diane Chamberlain skillfully weaves dual timelines in BIG LIES IN A SMALL TOWN, which carefully straddles the line between women’s fiction meets mystery and historical fiction. I’ve been a longtime fan of Diane Chamberlain, so no surprise I jumped at the chance to read her her newest title, BIG LIES IN A SMALL TOWN (St. Martin’s Press, January 14 2019). She always takes big issues and spins them into an immersive story with all the feels. BIG LIES IN A SMALL TOWN introduces two very strong, competent, and complicated young women across a dual timeline, 2018 and 1940, in small town Edenton, North Carolina. In 2018, we meet Morgan Christopher, a 22-year old woman who has gone to prison for a crime she didn’t commit. Her dream of an art career has been put on hold–until a mysterious visitor (and her attorney) approach her with a ‘get out of jail free card,’ that she would be a fool to pass up. Her assignment: to restore an old post office mural in a sleepy southern town. …