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As an adult, National Public Radio foreign correspondent Jacki Lyden has spent her life on the front lines of some of the world?s most dangerous war zones. As a child, she lived in a war zone of a different kind. Her mother, Dolores, suffered from what is now called manic depression; but when Jacki was growing up in a small Midwestern town, Dolores was simply called crazy. As an adult, National Public Radio foreign correspondent Jacki Lyden has spent her life on the front lines of some of the world?s most dangerous war zones. As a child, she lived in a war zone of a different kind. Her mother, Dolores, suffered from what is now called manic depression; but when Jacki was growing up in a small Midwestern town, Dolores was simply called crazy. In her manic phases, Dolores became Marie Antoinette or the Queen of Sheba, exotically delusional and frightening, yet to young Jacki also transcendent, even inspiring. In time, Jacki grew to accept, even relish, Dolores?s bizarre episodes, marveling at her mother?s creative energy and using it to fuel her own. Heartbreaking, hilarious, and lyrical, this memoir of a mother-daughter relationship is a testimony to obstinate devotion in the face of bewildering illness.


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As an adult, National Public Radio foreign correspondent Jacki Lyden has spent her life on the front lines of some of the world?s most dangerous war zones. As a child, she lived in a war zone of a different kind. Her mother, Dolores, suffered from what is now called manic depression; but when Jacki was growing up in a small Midwestern town, Dolores was simply called crazy. As an adult, National Public Radio foreign correspondent Jacki Lyden has spent her life on the front lines of some of the world?s most dangerous war zones. As a child, she lived in a war zone of a different kind. Her mother, Dolores, suffered from what is now called manic depression; but when Jacki was growing up in a small Midwestern town, Dolores was simply called crazy. In her manic phases, Dolores became Marie Antoinette or the Queen of Sheba, exotically delusional and frightening, yet to young Jacki also transcendent, even inspiring. In time, Jacki grew to accept, even relish, Dolores?s bizarre episodes, marveling at her mother?s creative energy and using it to fuel her own. Heartbreaking, hilarious, and lyrical, this memoir of a mother-daughter relationship is a testimony to obstinate devotion in the face of bewildering illness.

30 review for Daughter of the Queen of Sheba: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lennie

    In this memoir, Jacki Lyden describes growing up in Wisconsin with a mother who suffered from mental illness. During her episodes of manic-depression, her mother would become other people; sometimes she was the daughter of a mob boss or the wife of a Milwaukee brew master and other times she was the CEO of a home-decorating company. Then there were the times that her mother believed she was the Queen of Sheba. When she became the Queen of Sheba her mother would dress up in bed sheets and wear a In this memoir, Jacki Lyden describes growing up in Wisconsin with a mother who suffered from mental illness. During her episodes of manic-depression, her mother would become other people; sometimes she was the daughter of a mob boss or the wife of a Milwaukee brew master and other times she was the CEO of a home-decorating company. Then there were the times that her mother believed she was the Queen of Sheba. When she became the Queen of Sheba her mother would dress up in bed sheets and wear a tiara on her head. She would then proceed to “give” her daughters the countries of Mesopotamia, Thebes, and Carthage as personal gifts from herself. No matter how bizarre her mother’s behavior became, Jacki always remembered the “normal” mother from her childhood; the one who sang her songs, baked banana bread when she had nightmares, and who would cut up old ball gowns to turn her daughters into Miss America contestants at Fourth of July parades. I think it took a lot of courage for this author to write this memoir. I admire the way she came away from her experience without anger or bitterness and had only unconditional love for her mother. She could have easily held it against her but instead she chose to accept her mother, illness and all. I would recommend this book to psychology students or anyone who has a family member with mental illness.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Therese

    This lady is a poet, not a memoirist. Every thought she has is stated, then restated in verbose poetical metaphor. Through the whole thing. Wandering, mish mashy. Every now and then she touches down on something solid, something fascinating...but she doesn't linger there. Off to more twirling, swirling effervescent whirlygigs of beautiful pain described opaquely. Or maybe I'm just in a mood. This lady is a poet, not a memoirist. Every thought she has is stated, then restated in verbose poetical metaphor. Through the whole thing. Wandering, mish mashy. Every now and then she touches down on something solid, something fascinating...but she doesn't linger there. Off to more twirling, swirling effervescent whirlygigs of beautiful pain described opaquely. Or maybe I'm just in a mood.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kelly B

    I had to read this book for my class, Severely and Persistently Mentally Ill Clients. I liked it, although being that it was for class and I was on a deadline, I wasn't able to appreciate how descriptively verbose the author is. Her writing is poetic and beautiful, but sometimes it was a bit too much for me. It is the story of her mother, who has Bipolar I Disorder, although a rare type in which she is almost constantly in a manic state. It is pretty astonishing how devastating the disease was o I had to read this book for my class, Severely and Persistently Mentally Ill Clients. I liked it, although being that it was for class and I was on a deadline, I wasn't able to appreciate how descriptively verbose the author is. Her writing is poetic and beautiful, but sometimes it was a bit too much for me. It is the story of her mother, who has Bipolar I Disorder, although a rare type in which she is almost constantly in a manic state. It is pretty astonishing how devastating the disease was on her life--she spent all of her money, and became anorexic because of her inability to sit still long enough to eat anything. She accrued huge medical bills from her hospital stays, she put herself in dangerous situations, and she filed many, many lawsuits and legal briefs filled with rants. On the positive side, she was extremely creative, exciting, and charismatic. She was probably addicted to the spontanaity of her mania, and who wouldn't be?! But the pain her daughters experienced because of it was excruciating--I can't even imagine the helplessness they felt during the course of their mother's illness, watching her destroy her life over twenty years of mania.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kirsten

    I remember loving this when I read it. I do believe it begins strong and disolves a bit in the end....but if you have lived with a mentally ill parent who just so happens to have believe in make believe, it makes you say "Ah, yes." I remember loving this when I read it. I do believe it begins strong and disolves a bit in the end....but if you have lived with a mentally ill parent who just so happens to have believe in make believe, it makes you say "Ah, yes."

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    I give myself several stars for finishing this book. It could have been a good read if it hadn't been packed with flowery nonsense sentences like this one on Page 248: "And I wonder, will we ever get her back, back from that Wide Sargasso Sea in which she swam and sailed and drifted beyond the realm of mortal thought?" It should have been either a memoir or a book of poetry/prose. Here the two genres were thrown together in an irritating way. Plus, the chronology was sometimes disorienting. As a m I give myself several stars for finishing this book. It could have been a good read if it hadn't been packed with flowery nonsense sentences like this one on Page 248: "And I wonder, will we ever get her back, back from that Wide Sargasso Sea in which she swam and sailed and drifted beyond the realm of mortal thought?" It should have been either a memoir or a book of poetry/prose. Here the two genres were thrown together in an irritating way. Plus, the chronology was sometimes disorienting. As a memoir, the author's own life story was thrown in haphazardly here and there, but could have been woven in more smoothly and completely. There was plenty to tell about the difficult lives of the author, her mother, her sisters, and her grandparents--enough to make a fascinating story without all that extra gibberish--so why not just tell the story. I give the author and her family many stars for dealing with it all. Coping with a family member's mental illness is exhausting and sometimes tragic.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Shelly

    Book #39 for 2011 - I had the hardest time reading this memoir written by a daughter of a manic depressive (bipolar) mother. I have read other books of the same variety (and enjoyed them) but this book really dragged me down into the pit of bipolar disorder. I also was not a big fan of the author's writing style. Book #39 for 2011 - I had the hardest time reading this memoir written by a daughter of a manic depressive (bipolar) mother. I have read other books of the same variety (and enjoyed them) but this book really dragged me down into the pit of bipolar disorder. I also was not a big fan of the author's writing style.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Hippiemom

    I thought this would be a good read. After 2 attempts- I just cannot read another page. The writing is superfluous and tedious. This may have been an interesting memoir if the author hadn't felt the need to write in such a pretentious style. Less is often more. I thought this would be a good read. After 2 attempts- I just cannot read another page. The writing is superfluous and tedious. This may have been an interesting memoir if the author hadn't felt the need to write in such a pretentious style. Less is often more.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Karyl

    An amazing memoir of a daughter struggling with her mother's mental instability throughout much of her life. I have no idea who Jacki Lyden is, not having listened to NPR much in my life, but I was drawn into the story from the very beginning, with the first instance of the "Queen of Sheba," Lyden's mother's manic alter ego, appearing when Lyden was about twelve. I have been watching warily for her ever since, but never so hard as when my mother slips off into the caverns where the past and pres An amazing memoir of a daughter struggling with her mother's mental instability throughout much of her life. I have no idea who Jacki Lyden is, not having listened to NPR much in my life, but I was drawn into the story from the very beginning, with the first instance of the "Queen of Sheba," Lyden's mother's manic alter ego, appearing when Lyden was about twelve. I have been watching warily for her ever since, but never so hard as when my mother slips off into the caverns where the past and present and future are etched together. You could say that my life as her daughter, the life of my imagination, began with my mother's visions. My sisters and I took them for our texts. Her madness was our narrative line. I am trying to decipher that line still, for its power and meaning over our past. For just like that, our lives had a way of falling prey to her guile, as my mother herself fell, a slippage, a breath, nothing very great, no time to look back, to grab each otehr's hands. Just my mother turning around to say, "I must be dreaming," and our lives fell away at a touch, mine with hers -- throughout my life as a college student, girlfriend, journalist in Belfast or Baghdad, Chicago or London, the life that paralleled her life as a cocktail waitress, a hotel clerk, a model. REality fell in waves with unreality, commingling, and washed out to sea. It is amazing to me how much Lyden went on to accomplish in her life after having such a shattered childhood. Not only was her mother dancing with mental illness, but her stepfather mentally and physically abused her. It always amazes me how much people who were raised in adversity can find themselves accomplishing. I really enjoyed Lyden's writing. It had almost a dream-like quality, a cadence that swept the reader along with the frustration and guilt that Lyden and her sisters felt in dealing with their sick mother. But it is clear in the end that no matter what, Lyden loves her mother with everything she is, and it is this unbreakable bond and its force in Lyden's life that is so compelling.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Davis Aujourd'hui

    I was attracted to this book after seeing the author on Oprah Winfrey. My reason for this attraction was deeply personal. I, too, have dealt with the challenges of living with a bipolar disorder. It is no walk in the park! This is a beautiful and sensitively written story about a daughter's journey with her mother who suffers from manic depression. Despite the horrifying aspects of the illness with its inherent and dramatic unpredictability, the author manages to embrace her mother with love and I was attracted to this book after seeing the author on Oprah Winfrey. My reason for this attraction was deeply personal. I, too, have dealt with the challenges of living with a bipolar disorder. It is no walk in the park! This is a beautiful and sensitively written story about a daughter's journey with her mother who suffers from manic depression. Despite the horrifying aspects of the illness with its inherent and dramatic unpredictability, the author manages to embrace her mother with love and look at the humorous side of a sad situation. Yes, it is dark. That goes with the territory. Yet it will open doors of understanding to those who have no comprehension of what is a prevalent though highly treatable form of mental illness. It will especially mean a lot to people who have borne the trauma of the disease within themselves or among those they love. Davis Aujourd'hui, author of "The Misadventures of Sister Mary Olga Fortitude"

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mommalibrarian

    Jackie Lyden, yes the NPR reporter, tells all about growing up with an insane mother. One main theme is the refutation of the idea: "Lock the lunatics away, you think, and they will do no permanent damage to themselves or others." Sometimes it is not clear who is being damaged the sick or the ostensibly well. Jackie wants to understand and relate to her mother at the same time she fears that she may also become crazy in the future. Getting started in radio, shy and lacking confidence, Jackie pic Jackie Lyden, yes the NPR reporter, tells all about growing up with an insane mother. One main theme is the refutation of the idea: "Lock the lunatics away, you think, and they will do no permanent damage to themselves or others." Sometimes it is not clear who is being damaged the sick or the ostensibly well. Jackie wants to understand and relate to her mother at the same time she fears that she may also become crazy in the future. Getting started in radio, shy and lacking confidence, Jackie picks the professional name Zelda Thorne. "Zelda Thorne could do and say anything. Zelda had, after all, been the name of F. Scott Fitzgerald's wife, and she was manic-depressive, she was crazy. Crazy people have no boundaries. They can come up to you and ask you your secrets. Asking questions others want to answer is about giving yourself permission to enter their world, however insane they may be or you feel yourself to be." Fast read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nina

    Jackie Lyden is a foreign correspondent for NPR in America, so her memoir was written with such eloquence that is was almost poetic to read. The memoir probes into the haze of mental illness, revealing a story of isolation and suffering, on both her side, and her mothers. It also reveals the immense, lasting impact of relationships, and the importance of love in overcoming life's difficulties. Definately a must read, as it perfectly encapsulates the "mania" of bipolar disorder, while examining t Jackie Lyden is a foreign correspondent for NPR in America, so her memoir was written with such eloquence that is was almost poetic to read. The memoir probes into the haze of mental illness, revealing a story of isolation and suffering, on both her side, and her mothers. It also reveals the immense, lasting impact of relationships, and the importance of love in overcoming life's difficulties. Definately a must read, as it perfectly encapsulates the "mania" of bipolar disorder, while examining the social implications of the disease.

  12. 5 out of 5

    David

    I can't improve on Sue Hubbell's back cover blurb: "Here is the story behind the rum-and-raisin radio voice -- a good story it is, and beautifully written, too." See, that sentence is why Sue Hubbell is a writer, and I am not. I'd probably have come up with something crass like: "A definite cut above your average 'mama was a fruitcake' memoir, by NPR's second-most mellifluous* female reporter". *: obviously, nobody can compete with the incomparable Sylvia Poggioli. The jacket cover on my copy of this I can't improve on Sue Hubbell's back cover blurb: "Here is the story behind the rum-and-raisin radio voice -- a good story it is, and beautifully written, too." See, that sentence is why Sue Hubbell is a writer, and I am not. I'd probably have come up with something crass like: "A definite cut above your average 'mama was a fruitcake' memoir, by NPR's second-most mellifluous* female reporter". *: obviously, nobody can compete with the incomparable Sylvia Poggioli. The jacket cover on my copy of this book is considerably less racy than what goodreads is showing you.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lisa DeBenedictis

    Jacki Lyden is as poignant and important in prose as she is on the front lines of broadcast journalism's war-torn daily headlines. She is a writer who bares her soul and twists a braided pigtail of wit and wisdom into a crowning glory of beauty. She takes her readers on a personal adventure of love and bewilderment. This memoir is a solicitous inquiry into the soul of a mother-daughter relationship bequeathed with the sagacity of hindsight and benevolence. It's brave and memorable and durable. Jacki Lyden is as poignant and important in prose as she is on the front lines of broadcast journalism's war-torn daily headlines. She is a writer who bares her soul and twists a braided pigtail of wit and wisdom into a crowning glory of beauty. She takes her readers on a personal adventure of love and bewilderment. This memoir is a solicitous inquiry into the soul of a mother-daughter relationship bequeathed with the sagacity of hindsight and benevolence. It's brave and memorable and durable.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    This book is often compared to the Liar's Club, but I don't really think it holds a candle to it. Another memoir about growing up with an unstable mother. The author spends a lot of time building up her mother into an almost mythical creature. As a result, there isn't as much introspection as I'd hoped. This book is often compared to the Liar's Club, but I don't really think it holds a candle to it. Another memoir about growing up with an unstable mother. The author spends a lot of time building up her mother into an almost mythical creature. As a result, there isn't as much introspection as I'd hoped.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    I listen to the author on NPR, so I picked up this memoir that focuses on her mentally ill mother. At times the prose left me feeling a bit crazy myself, with metaphors that made no sense to me and sections where the present and the past seemed to be all mixed together.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Glen Coco

    My professor loves this book, but it is all about the author's "crazy" mother and all the things she does because of her mental illness. It seemed to ignore who the mother was as a person and treat her as a spectacle, which is not okay. My professor loves this book, but it is all about the author's "crazy" mother and all the things she does because of her mental illness. It seemed to ignore who the mother was as a person and treat her as a spectacle, which is not okay.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Fishface

    A very entertaining, remarkably upbeat book about two sisters who watched their mother slide into insanity and could not convince her to get into treatment. Gives a pretty good picture of the challenges of getting someone onto meds when their illness makes them feel, not just good, but FANTASTIC.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Marcia Kreutzmann

    A good story that grabs your heart as you learn the struggles the Lyden daughters went through with their mother's mental illness. I especially enjoyed reading about the attempt at "tough love" and how that failed. My two complaints are: the unnecessary too-large and/or flowery words, if I have to grab a dictionary to understand a sentence, it breaks the flow of the reading. Secondly, I thought it needed more organization; there were times the story seemed to jump around a bit and was hard to f A good story that grabs your heart as you learn the struggles the Lyden daughters went through with their mother's mental illness. I especially enjoyed reading about the attempt at "tough love" and how that failed. My two complaints are: the unnecessary too-large and/or flowery words, if I have to grab a dictionary to understand a sentence, it breaks the flow of the reading. Secondly, I thought it needed more organization; there were times the story seemed to jump around a bit and was hard to follow. Overall, a very touching memoir without any padding or long backstory. Lyden added background as the story progressed which is exactly the right way to do it. I have stopped reading many a book because, for example, the author is giving the complete history of the city of Denver, Colorado in a book on Neal Cassady. I wish Jacki Lyden continued success in her personal and professional life, and I thank you for writing your story. Marcia Kreutzmann author of _Miss Hippie In Mississippi_, a memoir

  19. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    This narrative is horrifying. So relevant for today's Me Too movement. I was reminded of how women/wives were treated in the 1950's. Plus that child abuse was not widely condemned. So for that I am so grateful. My favorite thing about this book is about how author Leyden never tells us about her life much, or about her career. The narrative is overwhelmed by her mother. When Jacki is dreaming, on vacation, on a date, at work, wherever she is--her self, her soul, her being is drowned out by her mo This narrative is horrifying. So relevant for today's Me Too movement. I was reminded of how women/wives were treated in the 1950's. Plus that child abuse was not widely condemned. So for that I am so grateful. My favorite thing about this book is about how author Leyden never tells us about her life much, or about her career. The narrative is overwhelmed by her mother. When Jacki is dreaming, on vacation, on a date, at work, wherever she is--her self, her soul, her being is drowned out by her mother's needs. And mental illness was not as well understood then, either. I thought the book contained way too many letters and diaries from her mother (Dolores). They were hard to read because they were delusional or dreamy and hard to follow for a (so-called) rational person. Also, some of the metaphors and descriptions seemed overwrought to me. But--the character of her grandmother--a masterpiece! Wow what a woman!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mindy Greiling

    If the intent of this book is to give the reader a taste of mania, beautifully written, then it succeeds amazingly. If the intent is to draw in the reader to share the author's increasing horror, it left me behind, because I was too exhausted trying to keep up with the story. Many important topics are glanced over with no reflection or time for at least the reader to reflect before the author furiously dances on. There are many lovely scenes and individual sentences that I wanted Lyden to hold u If the intent of this book is to give the reader a taste of mania, beautifully written, then it succeeds amazingly. If the intent is to draw in the reader to share the author's increasing horror, it left me behind, because I was too exhausted trying to keep up with the story. Many important topics are glanced over with no reflection or time for at least the reader to reflect before the author furiously dances on. There are many lovely scenes and individual sentences that I wanted Lyden to hold up to the light. If I had taken the time to do that myself, perhaps I would have enjoyed it more. I longed for more dialogue, setting and inner thoughts, but Lyden acknowledged in after pages that she didn't want to write about self pity. She deserves at least some in my opinion.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Charlene

    Why five stars? Because this author Jacki Lyden writes poetically and that is very very difficult when creating prose. Her story itself bears some poetic trim, bi-polar mother, deep divisions within the family, her growing imagination of her mother's illness. Lyden's eventual career as a war correspondent parallels the war of her earliest life. Her writing ability rescues this parallel from being trite and instead weaves with her imaginative handling of details her life as a compelling path of v Why five stars? Because this author Jacki Lyden writes poetically and that is very very difficult when creating prose. Her story itself bears some poetic trim, bi-polar mother, deep divisions within the family, her growing imagination of her mother's illness. Lyden's eventual career as a war correspondent parallels the war of her earliest life. Her writing ability rescues this parallel from being trite and instead weaves with her imaginative handling of details her life as a compelling path of very nearly colliding with...just about everyone. The power of her life and of her writing lies within the love she unashamedly maintains for her mother and the depth in which she describes her mother's love for her. A must read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Gayle Pritchard

    What an unusual story! Having often heard Jacki on the radio over the years, I was delighted to hear her speak at the HippoCamp conference, where I purchased the book, but felt too shy to ask for a signature. Like the amazing storyteller she is, her use of language is truly special: “By midnight, the trapped tugs and barges slipped away one by one, beads falling off a string…” or “…she sat before her vanity and held up first one bauble and then another to her ears or throat, a goddess brushing h What an unusual story! Having often heard Jacki on the radio over the years, I was delighted to hear her speak at the HippoCamp conference, where I purchased the book, but felt too shy to ask for a signature. Like the amazing storyteller she is, her use of language is truly special: “By midnight, the trapped tugs and barges slipped away one by one, beads falling off a string…” or “…she sat before her vanity and held up first one bauble and then another to her ears or throat, a goddess brushing hair that gushed like a flume down her back.” Lovely. What I did find unusual for a memoir, is that she reveals only glimpses of herself, the stories of how she survived and fared in her adulthood, how or if she killed her own demons remaining closely guarded secrets not ready to be told.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Joanne Dendle

    This is a beautifully vivid account of mental illness and it's impact on the lives of loved ones. It was when Delores was at her most manic that she was her most creative and vibrant. The bond between mother and daughters remained in spite of some crazy situations they were put in. We do not choose our parents but we are a part of them no matter what may be their eccentricities and life choices. I loved this memoir for its bravery and honesty. This is a beautifully vivid account of mental illness and it's impact on the lives of loved ones. It was when Delores was at her most manic that she was her most creative and vibrant. The bond between mother and daughters remained in spite of some crazy situations they were put in. We do not choose our parents but we are a part of them no matter what may be their eccentricities and life choices. I loved this memoir for its bravery and honesty.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Donna Krebs

    This is a fascinating book about the author's mother . She was beautiful , smart, creative woman until she slid into mental illness. It was severe and turned her positive attributes against her. It also detailed how her illness affected her three daughters in their lives . Although it's very serious, the author still has a sense of humor and made me laugh ,too. It's such a good book that I've been recommending it nonstop! This is a fascinating book about the author's mother . She was beautiful , smart, creative woman until she slid into mental illness. It was severe and turned her positive attributes against her. It also detailed how her illness affected her three daughters in their lives . Although it's very serious, the author still has a sense of humor and made me laugh ,too. It's such a good book that I've been recommending it nonstop!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    Jacki Lyden, who I certainly know as an NPR reporter and sometimes weekend host from the 1990s up until a few years ago, had a crazy mother. This is the memoir of living with that. It's a medium-short book, but still a slow read. I rarely if ever read memoirs, so I'm not sure if my feelings are lukewarm about this one, or about the genre as a whol. Jacki Lyden, who I certainly know as an NPR reporter and sometimes weekend host from the 1990s up until a few years ago, had a crazy mother. This is the memoir of living with that. It's a medium-short book, but still a slow read. I rarely if ever read memoirs, so I'm not sure if my feelings are lukewarm about this one, or about the genre as a whol.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Carole Duff

    Lyden’s Daughter of the Queen of Sheba had been recommended to me years ago, and I finally got around to reading it. A fabulously written, disturbing story. The non-traditional structure, described as “circular,” enhances the reader’s experience of the Lyden’s mother’s mental illness, though as writer, I wanted to know: how did Lyden pull it off? Masterfully.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie

    Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Her use of idioms is outstanding. Page 188: "In the summer drought of 1988, the Mississippi River below Cairo, Illinois, shrank like a worm in the sun." The subject matter could have been depressing, but she brought intelligence and humor to the topic and gave it life. Would have given it more than 5 stars if I could. Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Her use of idioms is outstanding. Page 188: "In the summer drought of 1988, the Mississippi River below Cairo, Illinois, shrank like a worm in the sun." The subject matter could have been depressing, but she brought intelligence and humor to the topic and gave it life. Would have given it more than 5 stars if I could.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Beth Stephenson

    If mental illness affects your life on any level, whether friend or family or your very own self, this is a must read. A story told stunningly with journalistic clarity as well as with deep love and frustration, and the compassion of a loving and devoted daughter.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rita

    Had a hsrd time finishing this. The writing was overdone and most of the time I felt it was intended to be read aloud as 'performance art'. Trying to follow the stories of her mother's illness, and her own life, with a lot of overly wordy language just didnt cut it for me. Had a hsrd time finishing this. The writing was overdone and most of the time I felt it was intended to be read aloud as 'performance art'. Trying to follow the stories of her mother's illness, and her own life, with a lot of overly wordy language just didnt cut it for me.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kiley

    Beautifully written, but at times very literary to the point of being distracting. The story and lives at the center are so inviting and heartbreaking but just didn't captivate me the way I expected after the first few chapters. Beautifully written, but at times very literary to the point of being distracting. The story and lives at the center are so inviting and heartbreaking but just didn't captivate me the way I expected after the first few chapters.

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