Saturday, October 17, 2009

(Book Review) IN HER WAKE: A Child Psychiatrist Explores the Mystery of Her Mother’s Suicide

Every woman has a complicated relationship with her mother, no matter how well you may get along. But what if your mother wasn’t there when you were growing up, reaching adulthood, and becoming a mother yourself? Who would you be, and how would it change the course of your life? IN HER WAKE: A Child Psychiatrist Explores the Mystery of Her Mother’s Suicide by Dr. Nancy Rappaport explores just that issue.

In 1963, Nancy Rappaport’s mother committed suicide after a bitter divorce and custody battle. Nancy was four years old. As one of eleven children in a prominent Boston family, Nancy struggled to come to terms with the reasons why her mother took her own life. After years spent interviewing family and friends, Rappaport uncovers the story of a conflicted and troubled activist, socialite, and community leader. Drawing on court depositions, her mother’s unpublished novel, newspapers, and her own experiences, she highlights heartbreaking stories of a complicated life that played out in the public eye. Inspiring, honest, and engaging, Rappaport’s story sheds light on the agonizing nature of loss and healing, and reveals the permeable boundaries between therapists and the patients they treat.

This is one of the most moving books I’ve read in a long time. From just reading the title, I really worried that this book (that centers on a mother's suicide) would be very depressing to read. However, after reading it, I can say that this book is actually an uplifting story in many aspects. It explores and discusses faith and forgiveness in those we love. Nancy was able to use her desire for understanding her mom's suicide to share her family history as way to cope with this sad incident. After reading this book I am left with an inspiration to find meaning in the tragedy of loss and not allow it to define my life. We highly recommend this compelling, beautifully written book.
Thanks so much to Goldberg McDuffie Communications for providing us with a copy of this book to review!


Nancy said...

Thank you so much for such a wonderful review and encouraging people to see that despite the topic of suicide there is healing in building a narrative. I hope that this encourages us to ask questions to our families to deepen our understanding of things that might have happened in our childhood.
I hope that your readers let me know what they think when they read my book.
Nancy Rappaport

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