- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Atria Books (August 1, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0743272765
- ISBN-13: 978-0743272766
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,072,673 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Hillbilly Gothic: A Memoir of Madness and Motherhood Paperback – August 1, 2008
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"Adrienne Martini's writing slices like a paper cut, sharp and quick. Her story reminds us that life stings, and that we, all of us, can heal."
-- Allison Glock, author of "Beauty Before Comfort"
"A smart, riveting, alternately sad and amusing account of postpartum depression and psychosis...A "Girl, Interrupted" for the new-mother set."
-- Cathi Hanauer, author of "My Sister's Bones" and "The Bitch in the House"
""Hillbilly Gothic" captures the fascinating contradictions of the women of modern Appalachia. Adrienne clearly illuminates the pain and shame suffered by those with closeted mental illness, while retaining respect for the several generations of brave mothers and daughters in her family who lived through it. This book is beautifully written, thought-provoking, and slyly funny. Highly recommended."
-- Katie Allison Granju, author of "Attachment Parenting"
"Adrienne Martini has had a tough time as both a daughter and a mother, yet she brings back from the wretched edge of the maternal endeavor a book of liveliness and companionability, full of the wit and the will and even the anger that got her through the experience. This post-hillbilly madwoman knows how it is. She slips around your defenses and whispers her jokes and stories in your ear until you can't help but feel less isolated. I found her very good company."
-- Marion Winik, author of "Above Us Only Sky" and "The Lunch-Box Chronicles"
"With a rare mixture of honesty, humor, and compassion, Adrienne Martini reveals her painful family legacy of mental illness. Her own encounter with postpartum depression, which she explores fearlessly, is at once harrowing and hopeful. An inspiration to all who are touched by this most complex human condition."
-- Henry Emmons, MD, author of "The Chemistry of Joy: A Three-Step Program for Overcoming Depression Through Western Science and Eastern Wisdom"
About the Author
Adrienne Martini, a former editor for Knoxville, Tennessee's Metro Pulse, is an award-winning freelance writer and college teacher. Author of Hillbilly Gothic, she lives in Oneonta, New York, with her husband, Scott, and children, Maddy and Cory.
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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!
Therefore, I'd say that this book really is about madness in that it makes little to no sense in the context that the author would like it to make sense in. She adds too much info about irrelevent items that occurred in her life (i.e. places that she lived, the history of the towns her family grew up in, what she was doing at school at one particular time or another) combined with the constant insertions of the tales of pronounced mental instability in her family, that the reader is left wondering what is PPD and does this woman really have it or something else? In fact, the doctors that are described in the book seem far from knowledgeable about PPD but that could be due to the author's wishes not to provide the reader with what actually went on during sesssions with her doctors or, perhaps, she never hammered down the definition herself. All the reader gets is a vague allusion towards something terrible happening to a woman following the birth of a child that might require hospitalization.
The book was interesting to me only in the sense that the author spoke of, albeit too much, her family history of mental illness and how it permeated every generation as far back as she could trace. I would not recommend this book as one to look at for tips on what PPD is like because it's not just about crying around the clock.
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!
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).
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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