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The Long Journey Home: A Memoir Kindle Edition

3.3 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Length: 402 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Advanced Praise for The Long Journey Home

“Margaret Robison has written, with a simple beauty and elegance that belie a powerful and unflinching honesty, about surviving mental illness, abuse, and the constrictions of womanhood in an era when all three were sorely misunderstood.  A striking memoir.”
—Meri Nana-Ama Danquah, author of Willow Weep for Me:  A Black Woman's Journey Through Depression

“After decades of feeling silenced, like so many women of the 1950s, Margaret Robison reclaims her own story. The Long Journey Home is a moving testament to the power of language in confronting the frightening, inchoate experience of madness.  But it is also a wistful, richly textured evocation of rural Southern life amidst a cascade of characters both distressing and unforgettable.  Robison’s fortitude, candor, and lack of rancor offer a refreshing alternative to many memoirs.”
—Gail A. Hornstein, author of Agnes’s Jacket: A Psychologist’s Search for the Meaning of Madness

“This is a haunting book, laced with desperation and urgency. The author’s sorely tested faith in the power of writing to heal the soul is an inspiration to any writer. And for memoirists such as myself, she raises the large question of who has the right to tell our stories. For fans of Augusten Burroughs’s Running With Scissors, the mother’s account of her life is an invitation to enter the labyrinthine world of Rashomon.”
—Kathleen Norris, author of Dakota: A Spiritual Geography and The Cloister Walk


From the Hardcover edition.

Review

Advanced Praise for The Long Journey Home

“Margaret Robison has written, with a simple beauty and elegance that belie a powerful and unflinching honesty, about surviving mental illness, abuse, and the constrictions of womanhood in an era when all three were sorely misunderstood.  A striking memoir.”
—Meri Nana-Ama Danquah, author of Willow Weep for Me:  A Black Woman's Journey Through Depression

“After decades of feeling silenced, like so many women of the 1950s, Margaret Robison reclaims her own story. The Long Journey Home is a moving testament to the power of language in confronting the frightening, inchoate experience of madness.  But it is also a wistful, richly textured evocation of rural Southern life amidst a cascade of characters both distressing and unforgettable.  Robison’s fortitude, candor, and lack of rancor offer a refreshing alternative to many memoirs.”
—Gail A. Hornstein, author of Agnes’s Jacket: A Psychologist’s Search for the Meaning of Madness

“This is a haunting book, laced with desperation and urgency. The author’s sorely tested faith in the power of writing to heal the soul is an inspiration to any writer. And for memoirists such as myself, she raises the large question of who has the right to tell our stories. For fans of Augusten Burroughs’s Running With Scissors, the mother’s account of her life is an invitation to enter the labyrinthine world of Rashomon.”
—Kathleen Norris, author of Dakota: A Spiritual Geography and The Cloister Walk


From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 871 KB
  • Print Length: 402 pages
  • Publisher: Spiegel & Grau (May 17, 2011)
  • Publication Date: May 17, 2011
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004J4WMDQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #640,530 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Given that her two sons have published memoirs of this famously dysfunctional family (Augusten Burroughs in "Running with Scissors" and others, and John Elder Robison in "Look Me in the Eye"), Margaret Robison's new memoir arrives with both a unique opportunity and a liability. The opportunity is an audience for her work. The liability is that much of the story has been told, albeit from her sons' perspectives. Robison writes that she was shocked and heartbroken over the "fiction" she says her son Chris (who changed his name to Augusten Burroughs) wrote about her. While struggling mightily to acknowledge his talents, the hope his writing has provided to others, and her love for him, it appears that the damage of airing so much family pathology has largely ended her relationship with him. Perhaps those who wish to write memoirs should take heed.

Reading a memoir of madness (the kind where someone is psychotic or morbidly depressed and locked down in a mental institution) raises certain compelling questions. What contributes to such breakdowns and what kind of life can those with chronic mental illness expect?

Growing up in south Georgia in the 1940's, Robison attempted to lead a conventional life of meeting the expectations of a distant, repressed mother and a depressed, alcoholic father. She also battled the shame of a growing but unspeakable (in the context of her family and times) same-sex attraction.

But more than the family baggage, Robison's descent into madness and dysfunction seemed to pivot on her tragic need to give herself over to beguiling mad men, first to her husband, John, an abusive alcholoic who later became a professor of philosophy, and then to a predatory crackpot psychiatrist, Dr. Turcotte.
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5 Comments 45 of 47 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
I have not read Running with Scissors or Look Me In The Eye. Therefore, this is my first look at the Robison family. I found the book to be extremely self-indulgent. Margaret is not able to accept blame for anything in her life; rather she spends most of the book blaming others for her problems. First her mom, then her husband, then her therapist. I also found myself thinking that she was neglecting her children. I don't know any parent who would just accept that their 15 year old son was having an affair with a 30 year old man. While the writing style isn't bad, the plot-line is slow and rambling. Overall, I could not recommend this book to anyone.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I had to force myself to read this, chapter by chapter. As each chapter ended and a new one began, I had to keep turning the pages to make myself finish the book.
At the end I'm left wondering, "What. The. HELL?"

Of course at the beginning the publisher is sure to point out that THIS book was started before the author's children had their tell-alls. That really added a veneer of class to the book.

"ARE WE JEWISH? OMG! LET'S GO ON AND ON ABOUT IT!"
"AM I A LESBIAN? OMG! LET'S KEEP BRINGING THAT UP TOO! IT'S SO DISTURBING THAT I MAY BE QUEER" Yes, folks, she uses the word 'queer'.
It was hard to tell which disturbed her more: the fact that her family might be Jewish, or that she might be attracted to women. She apparently never had a disturbing thought about her actions on her children.

As I read this, chapter by chapter, I kept wondering why the heck was this book written? To tell the author's 'side' about why she was a bad mother? (She doesn't think she was that bad) To detail all the other crazy people in her life, the crazy crap they did to her/around her/because of her/etc.? If it's supposed to be some cathartic experiment to make her feel better, why publish it? Why not just leave this manneristic tome as a private journal and not call it a book? I found many parts of it to be flat-out UNBELIEVABLE as truth.

It was scattered and reckless, and the writing style left me feeling like I was in a car whose driver had fallen asleep at the wheel. I wanted to find some pity or some redemption for the author but page after page, I could only ask myself "WHY? WHY?? WHY???".

Definitely check it out at the library if it interests you, in case you want to take it back right away.
3 Comments 21 of 23 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
I was really looking forward to this book because I have read books by both her sons. I thought having her point of view would just add to the story. I found two typos on the first page-the editor's fault, not the author's, but telling as far as what was to come. Robison's story is one whiny complaint after another, but I never got the feeling I really knew exactly WHAT made her childhood bad. Most of the characters are one dimensional. This is a shame because I was hoping to learn more about the family that her two author sons came from. The worst thing is her atrocious use of metaphors, similes, and what appears to be attempts at creative descriptions of her childhood. It is painful to read-not because her childhood was so bad, but because the writing is so hard to put up with. I'm almost done with the book and still hope that I will learn more by the time I'm done. Unfortunately, I don't think that will be the case.
3 Comments 17 of 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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