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Live through This: A Mother's Memoir of Runaway Daughters and Reclaimed Love

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Live through This: A Mother's Memoir of Runaway Daughters and Reclaimed Love Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"What makes this book special is... its ability to sift through pain and ashes and find not bitterness but not a little humor and, always, love." Tom Bissell, author of The Father of All Things

With four young daughters and a miserably failed marriage, Debra Gwartney moves halfway across the country, to Eugene, Oregon, for a new job and what she hopes will be a new life for herself and her daughters.The two oldest, Amanda, 14, and Stephanie, 13, have a symbiotic relationship so intense they barely know where one begins and the other leaves off.They come to blame their mother for their family's dislocation, and one day the two run off together — to the streets of their own city, then San Francisco, then utterly gone.

Live Through This — as emotionally wrenching and ultimately redemptive as David Sheff's Beautiful Boy — is the story of Gwartney's frantic effort to recover the beautiful, intelligent daughters she cherishes. The harrowing subculture of the American runaway, with its random violence, its horrendously dangerous street drugs, and its patchwork of hidden shelters — none of them interested in a parent's grief — is captured by Gwartney with brilliant intensity. Faced with the unraveling of the family she thought she could hold together through blind love, Gwartney begins the painful — and universal — journey of recognizing her own flawed motivations as a mother. The triumph of Gwartney's story is its sensitive rendering of how all three, over several years, have dug deep for forgiveness and a return to profound love.

Review:

"After Gwartney and her husband — 'two people who didn't belong in a marriage together but who couldn't manage to find a decent way to split up' — divorce, her two older daughters, barely in their teens, run away. In this bitingly honest memoir, Gwartney, a former correspondent for Newsweek, tells of her daughters' paths of self-destruction as street children, with intervening stints in various treatment centers (among them, a state group home, the foster child program, a 'wilderness-therapy program'). As daughters Amanda and Stephanie move back and forth between their parents' homes of squabbles and angry rebellion and the street world of self-maiming — socially (dropping out of school), physically (drugs, scabies), emotionally (attempted suicide) — Gwartney builds a life around trying to bring them home again, into which her younger daughters, Mollie and Mary, are inexorably drawn. After a grim and frustrating two years, she is successful. Gwartney's memoir, however, is not just about the runaways; rather it's a reflection of her emotional state as months go by not knowing where one or the other daughter is. Her story was originally told in an episode of public radio's This American Life. While she occasionally overwrites, she offers readers comfort and some hope." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Profoundly moving....An achingly beautiful chronicle of unfathomable sorrow, flickering hope and quiet redemption." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Review:

"Gwartney deserves high praise for her clear and lacerating prose, her refusal to assign blame or make excuses, and the stunning candor with which she offers telling glimpses into her own, and her daughters' father's, youthful recklessness and parental flounderings." Booklist

Review:

"[A] truly absorbing read about how one mother copes with every parent's worst nightmare." Library Journal

Synopsis:

Live Through This — as emotionally wrenching and ultimately redemptive as David Sheff's Beautiful Boy — follows Gwartney's frantic effort to recover her beautiful, intelligent daughters from their lives on the street.

Synopsis:

An intensely emotional and redemptive memoir about a mother's mission to rescue her runaway daughters

 

After a miserably failed marriage, Debra Gwartney moves with her four young daughters to Eugene, Oregon, for a new job and what she hopes will be a new life for herself and her family. The two oldest, Amanda, 14, and Stephanie, 13, blame their mother for what happened, and one day the two run off together—to the streets of their own city, then San Francisco, then nowhere to be found. The harrowing subculture of the American runaway, with its random violence, its horrendously dangerous street drugs, and its patchwork of hidden shelters is captured by Gwartney with brilliant intensity in Live Through This as she sets out to find her girls. Though she thought she could hold her family together by love alone, Gwartney recognizes over the course of her search where she failed. It's a testament to her strength—and to the resilience of her daughters—that after several years they are a family again, forged by both forgiveness and love.

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About the Author

Debra Gwartney is a former Oregonian newspaper reporter, and worked as a correspondent for Newsweek magazine for ten years. She is on the nonfiction writing faculty at Portland State University. Her 2002 appearance with daughters Stephanie and Amanda on This American Life garnered intense listener response. The mother of four daughters and married to the writer Barry Lopez, Gwartney lives in Eugene, Oregon.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

aunnie, June 15, 2009 (view all comments by aunnie)
This book was so heart wrenching and at the same time terrific and hopeful. I finished it in less than two days and stayed up late reading it each night. It is a seamless memoir and Gwartney's descriptions of her own defeat and vivid imagery of the lives her daughters lead, make the book a must for nonfiction lovers.
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(5 of 9 readers found this comment helpful)
PBeau101, April 10, 2009 (view all comments by PBeau101)
I could not put this book down! The book was tragic and sad. It gave a vivid picture of what life was like for a mother raising two daughters who made the decision to grow up on their own on the streets.

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Product Details

ISBN:
9780547054476
Subtitle:
A Mother's Memoir of Runaway Daughters and Reclaimed Love
Author:
Gwartney, Debra
Publisher:
Mariner Books
Subject:
Teenage girls
Subject:
Mothers and daughters
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Women
Subject:
Family Relationships
Subject:
Parental Memoirs
Subject:
BIO026000
Subject:
Teenage girls - West (U.S.)
Subject:
Runaway teenagers - West (U.S.)
Subject:
Biography-Women
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20100217
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
240
Dimensions:
8 x 5.31 in 0.49 lb

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Biography » Women
Health and Self-Help » Child Care and Parenting » Parenting Teens
Health and Self-Help » Child Psychology » General
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Child Psychology
Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » General
Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » Memoirs

Live through This: A Mother's Memoir of Runaway Daughters and Reclaimed Love Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.50 In Stock
Product details 240 pages Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) - English 9780547054476 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "After Gwartney and her husband — 'two people who didn't belong in a marriage together but who couldn't manage to find a decent way to split up' — divorce, her two older daughters, barely in their teens, run away. In this bitingly honest memoir, Gwartney, a former correspondent for Newsweek, tells of her daughters' paths of self-destruction as street children, with intervening stints in various treatment centers (among them, a state group home, the foster child program, a 'wilderness-therapy program'). As daughters Amanda and Stephanie move back and forth between their parents' homes of squabbles and angry rebellion and the street world of self-maiming — socially (dropping out of school), physically (drugs, scabies), emotionally (attempted suicide) — Gwartney builds a life around trying to bring them home again, into which her younger daughters, Mollie and Mary, are inexorably drawn. After a grim and frustrating two years, she is successful. Gwartney's memoir, however, is not just about the runaways; rather it's a reflection of her emotional state as months go by not knowing where one or the other daughter is. Her story was originally told in an episode of public radio's This American Life. While she occasionally overwrites, she offers readers comfort and some hope." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Profoundly moving....An achingly beautiful chronicle of unfathomable sorrow, flickering hope and quiet redemption."
"Review" by , "Gwartney deserves high praise for her clear and lacerating prose, her refusal to assign blame or make excuses, and the stunning candor with which she offers telling glimpses into her own, and her daughters' father's, youthful recklessness and parental flounderings."
"Review" by , "[A] truly absorbing read about how one mother copes with every parent's worst nightmare."
"Synopsis" by , Live Through This — as emotionally wrenching and ultimately redemptive as David Sheff's Beautiful Boy — follows Gwartney's frantic effort to recover her beautiful, intelligent daughters from their lives on the street.
"Synopsis" by , An intensely emotional and redemptive memoir about a mother's mission to rescue her runaway daughters

 

After a miserably failed marriage, Debra Gwartney moves with her four young daughters to Eugene, Oregon, for a new job and what she hopes will be a new life for herself and her family. The two oldest, Amanda, 14, and Stephanie, 13, blame their mother for what happened, and one day the two run off together—to the streets of their own city, then San Francisco, then nowhere to be found. The harrowing subculture of the American runaway, with its random violence, its horrendously dangerous street drugs, and its patchwork of hidden shelters is captured by Gwartney with brilliant intensity in Live Through This as she sets out to find her girls. Though she thought she could hold her family together by love alone, Gwartney recognizes over the course of her search where she failed. It's a testament to her strength—and to the resilience of her daughters—that after several years they are a family again, forged by both forgiveness and love.

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