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Searching for Mercy Street: My Journey Back to My Mother, Anne Sexton by [Sexton, Linda Gray]
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Searching for Mercy Street: My Journey Back to My Mother, Anne Sexton Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Length: 338 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

An unsparing account of the anguish and fierce love between Linda Gray Sexton and her brilliant, unstable and ultimately self-destructive mother, Anne Sexton. Anne taught Linda how to write, how to see, how to imagine; and only Linda could have written a book that captures so vividly the intimate details and lingering emotions of their lives together. Searching for Mercy Street speaks to everyone who admires Anne Sexton and to every daughter or son who knows the pain of an imperfect childhood.

From Publishers Weekly

Sexton's memoir recalls growing up with her unstable and self-destructive poet mother, who killed herself when her daughter was 21.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 840 KB
  • Print Length: 338 pages
  • Publisher: Counterpoint; Reprint edition (April 10, 2011)
  • Publication Date: April 10, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004XMAUY2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #248,738 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I read long ago the biography of Anne Sexton by Diane Middlebrook, and was very impressed by the tormented life of the poet. I also happened to read one of the novels written by her daughter, Linda Gray Sexton, "Points of Light", which I did not like all that much. So I had (I thought) an idea of who Linda was, both through the biography and her novel.

I was wrong. Searching for Mercy Street is truly what the subtitle claims: "A journey back to my mother". It gets so personal it is embarrassing at times. Linda goes into a lot of detail as to why she revealed things that you would never want anybody outside of your family to know, and it makes sense, and yet it doesn't. I have never read a better account of life with another person. It is not 100% chronological, but it is rich in detail and clarity. I read it with the anticipation I have sometimes when reading a very interesting novel.

Long time ago a friend said: "Your parents are probably the only people that you may love even if you don't like them". I have thought about that comment quite a bit over the years. Linda was conflicted over the relationship she had with her mother. There was the void of not having had a mom in the general sense of the term, not so much a June Cleaver, but more someone who takes care of you, looks after you, helps you, loves you. There was the abuse. And mingled with everything else, there was the unconditional love. The complexities of mental illness are true and clear and never better represented than in this story. I have to wonder: how much of Anne's behavior was pure selfishness, and how much was her disease?
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Format: Hardcover
I could not put this book down. Linda Gray Sexton's honesty was enlightening. She portrayed her mother as more than a woman with a mental illness. It is a portrait of a smart intelligent woman struggling to find meaning in her mentally ill life who at times rises above it but eventually succumbs. It is evident that Anne loved her daughters, but showed it in atypical ways. After reading this book, I find myself very interested in the work of Anne Sexton and her life. It gives a fresh and candid glimpse at this amazingly talented, yet tragic woman and a daughter who struggled to make sense out of her mother's love.
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By A Customer on April 25, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I worked with Linda closely for a year when she had small children in the Mid-1980's. I was very touched and disturbed by this book. I found it to the point, but forgiving. I commend Linda for her resiliency and candor. I know that to write this book she had to rediscover many guarded memories. I encourage all to read it. Anne Sexton was a complicated, brilliant artist. Her life was fascinating to read about, especially from her daughter's intimate perpective. The poems that were included helped me to more fully understand the artist and woman through the different stages of her life. I hope Linda writes again.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"My mother died of depression. She took her life to end her pain." --Linda Gray Sexton

Living with Anne Sexton must have been like living in hell--and her daughter, Linda Gray Sexton, leaves absolutely nothing out of this book. She allows every dirty secret to emerge like a sort of bitterness filling the air.

Such as Anne's body lying on top of her-- "She's very heavy...I want to scream-get off, get off, get off!"--Linda Gray Sexton

Without Linda G. Sexton's honesty, "Mercy Street" would have been just another Mommy Dearest, but this was not. This book was about therapy, change, and forgiveness: this book was about new beginnings.

"Without knowing it, mother passes out to me her powers of observation. She shows me how to watch, how to see, how to record what transpires in the world around me. This is how I inherit her greatest gift..."--Linda Gray Sexton

"Searching for Mercy Street" was about rising above an environment which could have easily turned one into the same monsters you coexisted with--

But Linda Gray does not only show the reader the monster, the molester, the mentally ill, Anne Sexton-- she shows us the victim, the darkly depressed poet-- who without writing, would have killed herself long ago; she shows us a mother who did the best she could,even while walking through the dark.

Linda Gray Sexton finally arrives whole--In a world for her that was once motherless--

Now, after years of searching, she has found the mother within, and Anne Sexton herself,with all her imperfections, lives within that person too.
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Format: Paperback
I actually read this book while it was in production -- I was on the proofreading team for the publisher's typesetter -- and the entire team was enthralled by this book. Work is work, and usually we would would deal with the task at hand, but on breaks and over lunch, many of us working on this book would have mini-sessions about the author, her mother, the context of the relationship. We all felt very personally attached and protective of this book because we were working with the manuscript, which had handwritten notes between the author and her editor in the margins. It wasn't simply a narrative, we were keenly aware of the humanity behind the words. However, that awareness was truly heightened by the sensitive and thoughtful writing. Of course, my reading experience is unique to my situation, but I urge all readers to give this book some time. It's worth the investment.
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