- File Size: 1166 KB
- Print Length: 175 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Lori Schafer; 1 edition (November 7, 2014)
- Publication Date: November 7, 2014
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00N0WYHDQ
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #520,943 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
On Hearing of My Mother's Death Six Years After It Happened: A Daughter's Memoir of Mental Illness Kindle Edition
|Length: 175 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible book with Whispersync for Voice. Add the Audible book for a reduced price of $7.49 when you buy the Kindle book.
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
More items to explore
From the Author
"Lori tells herstory... in a straightforward style that broke my heart with its poignance. [It]is a tale of resilience and strength in the face of overwhelming odds."
-Elizabeth Hein,Author of How to Climb the Eiffel Tower
"It touches you, and it moves you. It makes you angry, and hopeful.You do not feel sorry for the main character, you just feel sad. A must read!"
-Angela Gibbs,Reviewer, Books and Opinions
"This story touchesthe heart with its haunting, straight-forward intimacy. While easily read in acouple of hours, its echo will linger much longer in the mind."
-L.F. Falconer,Author of The Vagabond's Son
"The problem in writing about an experience so devastatingis in conveying what it is like to not feel...That Schafer recounts such tragicmoments and does so without once evoking sentimentality or bathos demonstratesher power as a writer."
-Charlene DianeJones, Author of TheStain: A Book of Reincarnation, Karma and the Release from Suffering
"This true account of a girl's struggle is nothingbut inspiring."
-Kat Green,Author of Strings
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
In this series of episodes, a mix of stories and essays that weave between the past and present, adult Lori reflects on the circumstances of her impoverished life and her mother’s descent into an undiagnosed mental illness, probably a form of schizophrenia. In her teens, Lori is psychologically and physically abused by her mother, and only through good luck, plotting, and good friends, manages to run away after graduation and being accepted into U California Berkeley. Hers is a strong story of struggle.
Throughout and by the title we know that Lori only learns of her mother’s death long after it happened and after a decades long separation. Like Lori, we get to ponder whether the mother ever got mental health care. We never know what happened to April and her boys. We never know whether the middle sister Sandra, mentioned in her obituary was real or a figment of a delusion.
More than anything, Lori wanted a mom who loved her authentically and wasn’t paranoid. She is brave in inviting the reader in.
There are two versions of this book. Apparently this later version adds information and perspective. The appendices include early versions almost fictional tellings of several traumatic incidents in which Lori tells her story somewhat differently, but even the retelling and inclusion of the earlier versions is brave as it shows the trials of healing. If a reader is interested in the impact of delusional behavior and mental illness on families, this is a good contribution.
Firstly, this book is pretty short. I read the whole thing, cover to cover, while in the bath – so maybe an hour? The length wasn’t really a problem, although I was disappointed that more of the book wasn’t based on new material. The opening chapter is the same as what was used for the preview, which is understandable, but there are many other parts of the book that are pulled from existing writing, including fiction. I think that there is value in showing the reader that these incidences in your life have made such a mark that you’ve been able to write copious amounts of fiction based on them. But I felt like it would have been better to tell the audience about those (or include them in an appendix), rather than to include them in the book. This is meant to be a memoir so I would have preferred that the author stay “in the moment” and not step away into fiction. Also, it caused some confusion later – there were numerous places where the narrative broke into fiction and then back in to reality but there was never a designation of which was which. In my opinion, that made everything a little jumbled. I believe that the author used her fiction writing so that she didn’t have to re-write the actual incident which may not have been as “interesting” as the fictional version (i.e., she says that the incident of hiding out in the step-grandmother’s house was not at Thanksgiving but just a normal day). I think on this point, the author is wrong. It doesn’t have to be a holiday to make it interesting – the fact that your mother was hiding out in someone’s house in order to spy is interesting enough. Truth is stranger than fiction.
Also, I would have liked to hear more about day-to-day life at home with her mother. She jumps between big events (the opening chapter, running away, etc.) without covering the middle ground. There are enough bits and pieces (the recent divorce, the situation with the sister/nephew, etc.) that are dropped in to let the reader know that they’re missing out on a lot of stuff. Again, it feels like the author held back because these details are probably somewhat mundane but I have a feeling that they weren’t boring details – the fact that the author felt so hurt and angry that she left home and never looked back tells me that there was a LOT that happened in between. That’s what I’d be interested to hear.
The biggest portion of the book deals with the author’s homelessness, which was a result of her running away from her mother’s behavior. It clearly was the most impactful time in the author’s life and she has included some really great stories here. Although I was proud of this young girl figuring out how to survive on her own, my heart ached for her because she was unaware of all the services available to her – especially in the Bay Area, there are so many resources for runaways and homeless people of all types. But her inability to trust people is what kept her apart and what was, ultimately, the legacy that her mother left her. Unfortunately, it feels a bit like her inability to trust us as readers has kept her from being very open in her memoir.
I hope that someday she writes a more complete story. I would be very interested in reading all of the “in between” scenes and hearing about her final year at home. Not as a “looky-loo” but as someone who has experienced something similar, it’s always a comfort to know that you’re not alone. That someone else has experienced the “spies in the attic” delusions but also the general embarrassment of being in public (in high school!) with someone who is clearly unstable.
Top international reviews
The narrative lacks detail at times, it is not sequential and jumps forwards and backwards in time without explanation, and there are some point of view switches which were a little disconcerting. Is this is a deliberate attempt to recreate the feeling of disconnection and the erratc nature of the author's early life? Perhaps, but I think more details and a better understanding of what-happened-when would improve this memoir.
Despite this, it's definitely worth a read.
That Schafer recounts such tragic moments and does so without once evoking sentimentality or bathos demonstrates her power as a writer. Instead, calmly and consistently Lori Schafer describes what her life with her insane mother was in each detail.
The final puzzle which I won't spoil here, leaves a reader gasping with the inexplicable behaviour of some humans. And with admiration that Lori Schafer made it out of that teenage torture to become a writer with some power of language.
The book isn't written chronologically because the author struggles to remember what happened in what order. There are some passages that have been written as fiction because after all these years it's the only way she convey the feeling of what happened effectively. While some may find this off-putting, to me these stylistic tics only gave added weight to what I was reading.
The memoir itself is short, I read it in a day, but that breath gives it added punch. I can only applaud Lori Schafer for having the courage to write something so personal, so honestly. It's a book that will stay with me a long time. Highly Recommended.