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The Good Sister Paperback – October 1, 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 82 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A mother on trial for the attempted murder of her children opens Campbell's piercing latest. The story shifts back in time to explore Simone Duran's childhood with her sister, Roxanne, and their self-absorbed mother and also Simone's life as a stay-at-home mom suffering from postpartum depression. Simone's neglect of infant daughter Olivia, who she lets lie in her crib crying for hours on end, tears at the heart, but while Simone's mothering is disturbing, Campbell (Blood Orange) highlights the underlying factors that have pushed Simone to this edge, giving the story balance. Simone's macho husband prevents her seeking treatment while he imposes pregnancy after pregnancy on her in his desire to finally have a son. Add Roxanne's overprotectiveness of Simone, and you have a completely dependent woman. Campbell burns through Simone's struggles and also those of Roxanne in haunting, graphic detail. This portrait of the inner life of a woman whose psychotic state led her to believe that killing her children and herself would have been best for all of them should be on everyone's book club list.
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From Booklist

Roxanne has always been responsible for her sister, Simone. Their absentee father and abusive mother ensured that the girls would rely on each other. When the unstable Simone marries a wealthy man, it seems Roxanne’s caretaking job is over, and she begins to fashion a new life for herself. Unfortunately, the stress of multiple pregnancies and episodes of postpartum depression make things worse for Simone. The novel opens with Simone’s trial for the attempted murder of three of her children, which weakens suspense and makes it hard for the reader to become invested in the childrens' fate. The unrealistic survival of the children may have been written to ensure that the character remains sympathetic, but it would have been more interesting to see if sympathy could be maintained for a damaged woman who was successful in her attempts at murder. A note from the author describes her own family’s struggle with postpartum depression, and a reading group guide makes this a natural for book groups. --Marta Segal Block
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; 1st edition (October 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446535788
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446535786
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,212,708 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought The Good Sister for my Kindle, to read on an upcoming 5 hour plane trip to Hawaii. I usually take a couple of books, at least, as I will sometimes tire of one after a couple of hours. However, I could not put TGS down!!
I loved everything about it...the brilliant writing by Ms. Campbell, the development of the characters, and the tension of the story as it unfolded. I was not prepared, however, to have come away from the book with a better understanding of myself and also with a more clear vision of the perils (and reasons for...) some of the quirks in a couple of relationships in my life. This book was a gift in so many ways, and I was reduced to tears as it ended....not ONLY because it ended, but because of the gratitude I felt in finding such an artist as Ms. Campbell.
As the plane landed, I turned on the wireless in my Kindle and ordered WILDWOOD and BONE LAKE.
Such a delight to find a new literary gold mine!!!!
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Format: Paperback
May 26, 2005. The day I stopped loving Tom Cruise. That is the day he slammed Brooke Shields for publicly announcing her reaction to postpartum depression. She chose medication. Gasp! Since then I've felt nothing but contempt for the man who has never had his body rewired while internal organs are pushed aside and changes in hormonal balance makes you cry because the cat coughed up a hairball.

On this particular day, my own body was waging a war with itself, having pushed a person the size of a pot roast through a hole the size of a nostril, and for some mysterious reason, my previously aesthetically pleasing breasts became as hard as granite were leaking sustenance for a child that was wholly dependent on me. No amount of positive thinking was going to magically restore my sleep deprived, physically rewired body. Nope. Instead I did what any sane woman would do.

I painted the family room. And the kitchen. And the entry.

To this day, I can't properly articulate my manic response to giving birth. I can only sit back, sigh and enjoy the ambiance of the colors.

And so, back to the book and painting. The author paints a clear path to Simone's thinking and thinking errors. The feeling of being overwhelmed and helpless as the demands continue to pile around her, looking for impossible solutions and eventually slipping past depression into psychosis. It is as disturbing as it is well articulated. A new mother may see a sliver of herself in Simone and feel uncomfortable.

The author adds to Simone's personality bipolar, learned helplessness, narcissism, and provides a breeding ground for Simone's role. At the same time, Simone's older sister, Roxanne, takes on the caretaking role from a very early age.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was frustrated with the book as I began to read. It seemed to jump from scene to scene without transition. HOWEVER, it picked up speed after the halfway point, and by the end I was hooked. If you also find it difficult at the beginning....KEEP READING!!! It's worth it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am a social work student and am very interested in mental illness and crime, so I was ready to be extremely critical of this book due to my educational background. However, I was pleasantly surprised and found myself completely caught up and lost in this story. It is an excellent depiction of post-partum psychosis and allows us to get a glimpse into the minds of people who may be different than us - and shows just how easy it is to be pushed over the edge sometimes when one is under pressure. This is one of those books that covers the emotional bases! I found myself feeling sad, feeling angry, feeling empathetic, happy, confused, and everything else. It is also a book where the characters are extremely well developed - it is so easy to feel like you actually know the characters (which is hard for an author to do, I imagine). After I read this book, it has stayed in the back of my mind frequently. If you are someone who is interested in criminology, depression, or anything in that area, I would say that this is a "must read!"
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Format: Paperback
I have read Drusilla Campbell's other books...Blood Orange being my fav, and I was very excited to see a new one out.
I received a gift card from Borders and knew just what I was going to buy... The Good Sister.
Off I went to my weekend getaway in Mexico with my new book in hand.
Each morning I woke up to a cup of tea and a chance to read. From the very beginning the characters in the book captivated me.
What I really liked was the complexity of the family members and how I got sucked into the lives of these people...I related to the complex reationships we all have and what we do to keep them together.
This is a story that I believe we can all relate to, from the lies to the secrecy, to the love. I did not want to put this book down, it is such a moving story of a family's tragedy, one that made me cry.

I do not want to give away anything in the book, I just want to highly reccommend that you read this...to reflect on your reationships and who you are to the ones you love.
Thank you, Drucilla, for a great read!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was beautifully written! I know of a lovely young mother who killed her 2 beautiful children who she loved immensely. I could never fully understand how or why she could do what she did. I now have a much better understanding of how such a loving mother could do such a horrible thing. I hope that more people can recognize the red flags of post partum depression & do all they can to get the woman the professional help needed to hopefully stop more needless tradgedies.
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