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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2006
I'm a new mother who thankfully did not suffer from postpartum depression. I lapped up Martini's honesty at her birthing experience and at being a new mother. I felt the same way, underwhelmed, terrified of how dramatically my life had changed, and deeply angry at all the Internset sites, books, experts, friends etc. who let you know exaclty what you're doing wrong. Who are so preachy. It was so so heartening for me to read this that I praise Martini for her honesty.

The timeline of this book was kind of a tangle. I didn't follow many parts exactly..okay, wait, wait, has her baby been born yet? Is she still talking about when she was a college kid staying with her father, or are we back to the present. And the parts about the history of postpartum depressiong and how mental illness is treated in American felt very obligatory and tacked on, or patched in.

But the parts about her hospital stay, both for birth and for breakdown, were real and were wrenching. And I cannot overemphasize how freakin' refreshing it is to read a memoir, in this saturated environment, of someone NOT from New York, who doesn't live in New York and who seemingly has no connections in the New York-centered industry and who is resolutely middle class and didn't even go to an Ivy League College. And a memoir not written in workshoppy, sanguine style.

It's really good. I mean, maybe you have to be a woman and maybe you have to be a mother to appreciate this, not sure as I am both. But yeah.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2006
Not only did I find Martini's book to be touching, thoughtful, incisive and funny, I found it instructive as a woman, as a daughter and as a member of a society that still has a long way to go in its ability to face and deal with mental illness in any of its forms. The personal narrative of the book is skillfully blended with observations on how mental health can be shaped by genetics and environment and how those around us respond to those changes. A fine read, and an important book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2006
will find themselves nodding in recognition as they read lines such as:

"I can be perfect and completely insane or good enough and sane enough."

Adrienne Martini weaves a tale of new motherhood,post-partum depression and family history in a way her readers will find comforting, disturbing, hilarious and heartbreaking. Martini spares little detail in writing about her brush with mental illness, yet she remains likeable and funny throughout the books' darkest passages.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
It is really amazing sometimes how families can deal with an issue like post-partum depression for generations and still not really talk about it or remember it. This is what happened with the author's family, and why her severe PPD, that landed her in a locked psychiatric ward, came as such a shock. Something similar happened in my family with pre-eclampsia (toxemia). Although it had affected many, many family members, and was most likely the cause of death for my greatgrandmother just after giving birth, I had no idea this was the case, and my own near death from it shocked me. Things that happen around childbirth seem to be easily forgotten, perhaps lest it seem like we are somehow blaming the baby.

Martini is a wonderful writer, even if she didn't have such a tale to tell. She manages to find surprising metaphors and striking observations even for situations that have been written about often. I would love to have her as a professor.

Just a note to perspective readers---the hillbilly part of the title misleads a little. The book is much more a memoir about PPD than about hillbilly life. But it's a great title!
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on January 5, 2010
I could understand Martini's experience one hundred percent having gone through my own battle with postpartum depression. Even down to coming from a family where both mental illness and the associated evils run rampant.

Martini's account of her Appalachian background and family's mental illness is not pretty. Her own descent into "madness" actually made me physically hurt for her. That's not to say she sets herself up to be pitied. Far from it. She recognizes that her story is a common one and because there is still a stigma associated with all mental illness, especially postpartum depression and its darker sister postpartum psychosis, it is a necessary story.

I can't say that I recommend this book to everyone - its a tough story to read. But if you do choose to read it I don't think you will be disappointed (and you might even be a little more understanding for having read it).
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on February 17, 2010
The author's experience with postpartum depression, as recounted in Hillbilly Gothic, is an interesting read. Reading about her breakdown, stay at the mental hospital, and subsequent recovery would be helpful for a new mother. Mothers with PPD are stigmatized and made to feel like less of a mother than they really are. Books like this will help break down that stigma.

My only gripes about the book are the parts about Knoxville. She waxes on about living in Tennessee, and I don't think that does much for the book.

That said, I really enjoyed her perspective on pregnancy, childbirth, and being a new mother. Not every mother immediately bonds with her baby. Not every new mother has a perfect birth experience. Many of us feel lost and lonely and confused and angry. This book helps show that new mothers having anything less than the "normal" experience are not alone.
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Although I've never experienced postpartum depression, I did have a mother who struggled her entire life with depression. This memoir deals very well with important topics.

I very much related to the mother/daughter aspects of the story. By not acknowledging her depression, my mother chose to not have treatment...something that affected our relationship until the day she died.

Martini is brutally honest in the sharing of her story and I commend her for that. But even more important was the fact that she managed to get through her dark time and move forward. Her memoir is about so much more than postpartum depression. It's about admitting to a problem, overcoming it, working through it and coming out the other side to become the person that she was meant to be. Highly recommended memoir!
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on November 6, 2011
The author/narrator had an appealing voice and lured me into her story quickly. I honestly hadn't plan to read the entire book, but after her troubles, I needed to know how it turned out.

I think this book would help anyone suffering from post-partum depression or mental illness, in general. I found her descriptions of her experience on the ward insightful and true. She gives hope to those suffering from depression that there is help out there--but sometimes it takes a lot of effort.

My one complaint is that she jumped around so much in her story from time frame and relative to relative. It is not a linear story really.

Overall, a good book, but not an easy story.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 8, 2006
I saw this book discussed on the Yarn Harlot's web site, and because I am a fan of southern writers, I thought it would be a good read. I was right.

I think I am going to add Martini's line, "Like cellulite, dreams come easily," as a signature on my emails. ;)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2014
Great book, couldn't put it down
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