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Showing 1-10 of 14 reviews(3 star). See all 135 reviews
on October 18, 2012
Bartok's mother suffers from deficits, yet has no awareness of them. Bartok's movingly describes this difficult relationship. But I agree that in some ways the book is better by description. The writing conveys the struggles well, but Bartok gets lost in her simile. This may have been a better novella.
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on February 24, 2013
An interesting approach about dealing with schizophrenia, from the perspective of the daughter's point of view. A bit wordy at times.
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on August 18, 2015
A heart wrenching and heartwarming memoir detailing a woman's struggles with her schizophrenic mother and her mother's final days. Lots of insight into the inner workings of a dysfunctional family.
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on February 15, 2011
A bittersweet read about mental illness and resulting homelessness! Though the book held my interest, I was disappointed in not learning more about Norma (the pitiful mother)and her disease. It seemed that the book focused more on the author's life and accomplishments than it did on the actual plight of her homeless, schizophrenic mother. All children do seem to "love" a parent--even an abusive, neglectful parent! Though Mira and her sister both seem to possess that instinctual love, they do end up, in essence, abandoning their sick mother--not without cause--to pursue their own dreams. From the onset of their adulthood until their mother is at death's door, they have virtually no face-to-face contact with her. While this is far from reprehensible, given the circumstances, I was chagrined to learn that Mira relied so heavily on her mother's diaries and other written diatribes as fodder for her book. It would have seemed less contrived if she'd been able to use first-hand accounts of her mother to concoct her memoir, rather than being so dependent on the often faulty memories of childhood and a few token boxes of often incomprehensible, written ramblings--the sad detritus of her mother's life...NMR
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on April 13, 2014
but that is the point. I believe a good many of daughters share some of the same stories, feelings and emotions.
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on January 3, 2016
This book was well written, but not my cup of tea.
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on December 14, 2014
school
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on May 18, 2016
This is a memoir of a woman's struggle with her mother's mental illness and how it affected her and her family. I haven't read too many books involving a character with such severe schizophrenia and this one had some interesting insights, but I felt that the book was a little too preachy in places, so much so that I had difficulty returning to the book and almost put it down for good. The ending was nice, but it seemed to go on a little too long.
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on May 22, 2011
The Memory Palace vividly describes a frightening mental illness. My mother was diagnosed with schizophrania in 1958. One week after my marriage, I had to arrange for her hospitalization when my father's doctor told me I would be taken to court if I refused. I had an ambulance to pick her up when she had dinner at my aunt's house. In the psyche hospital viewing room, I watched as they admitted my screaming, straight-jacketed mother. I felt like a traitor.
Months later, she returned home, a different person, although she refused to see me until after the birth of my daughter, a year later.
Shortly before my mother's death at age 94, she thanked me for having her hospitalized. "Nobody did anything for me. I don't know what would have happened if you didn't do what you did."
Mira's book explains the childhood horrors I lived through. Only the writing itself seems schizophranic. Past and present become a jumbled maze. Ultimately the book seems theraputic for the author but trying for the reader. I felt like an intruder in a psychiatrist's office. Maybe the gritty details of her mother's illness were too familiar. Do not expect to read this book for entertainment, obviously not the author's purpose. Learn, understand, and say,"There but for the grace of God go I!"
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on September 5, 2011
This was my first audio book, and I didn't quite choose wisely. "The Memory Palace," a memoir by Mira Bartok, also contains art work (Ms. Bartok is also an artist), of which I only caught mysterious sounding captions - I didn't even realise what they were at first (I know, I'm an idiot). And the text is interleaved with entries from the author's mother's diary - which would have been easier to parse in written form than in aural form. However, the reader for the book was great - with a quiet unhurried tone and different registers for different characters.

I picked up the book for its treatises on memory, and it took me some time to get into it. Though I found some themes over repeated, in a plaintive tone to boot, Ms. Bartok is a smart thoughtful multi-talented woman who has been through an awful lot, and has written compassionately about it.

"The Memory Palace" is the story of growing up with a schizophrenic mother who is so ill that she pushes away her two daughters and ends up homeless, living on the streets for 17 years. It is a condemnation of the mental health and social programs that would allow such a thing to happen, and a search for family, stability, identity, and belonging. Throughout, Ms. Bartok inserts beautiful and compelling references to art, music, psychology, philosophy, geology, literature, neuroscience, and religion, proving that the apple didn't fall far from her brilliant, ever curious, and tortured mother tree.
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