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In Her Wake A Child Psychiatrist Explores the Myst: A Child Psychiatrist Explores the Mystery of Her Mother's Suicideby Nancy Rappaport
Synopses & Reviews
In 1963, Nancy Rappaports 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 Drawing on court depositions, her mothers unpublished novel, newspapers, and her own experiences, she highlights heartbreaking stories of a complicated life that played out in the public eye.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, Rappaports story sheds light on the agonizing nature of loss and healing, and reveals the permeable boundaries between therapists and the patients they treat.
"In a fearless memoir of loss and grief, this Harvard Medical School assistant prof, veering between 'being a detective and... a realist,' delves into a complex family history haunted by the 1963 death of her mother, a Boston socialite, from an overdose when the author was only four. Using her mother's words from newspaper clippings, notes and a novel she was writing at the time of her death, Rappaport, the youngest of six children, reconstructs a vivacious and deeply troubled wife and mother. 'Didn't she know that she would leave all these shattered children wondering if it was their fault?' son Jerry laments 44 years later. Yet in pushing through her parents' turbulent marriage and troubled family history, Rappaport weaves a stunning narrative of perspective, profound sadness and unrelenting hope: 'I keep trying to follow in her wake, moving in and out of my grief buoyed by the voyage of exploring her dark reality as a way of helping myself to understand her....' She has also mapped an inspiring course for anyone to dissect family dynamics and mental illness, hoping to understand and, finally, accept. 8 pages of b&w photos. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Book News Annotation:
When she was 4 years old, Rappaport's mother, a Boston socialite, killed herself after losing custody of her children. Rappaport (psychiatry, Harvard Medical School) shares her quest to understand her mother's suicide and cope with her half-sister's mental illness, and how her family history has affected her life and practice with patients. The insightful book includes family photos and resources on mental illness and suicide prevention. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
A psychiatrists haunting memoir of her mothers suicide illuminates our understanding of family tragedy.
In 1963, Rappaport's mother committed suicide after a bitter divorce and custody battle. The author, a psychiatrist, presents a haunting memoir of her mother's death and illuminates how individuals understand and cope with family tragedy.
In Her Wake is a rare thing: the story of a psychiatrist analyzing her own psychological drama. Nancy Rappaport was just four years old when her mother--a prominent Boston activist and socialite--committed suicide. Decades later, Rappaport, a child psychiatrist with three children of her own, pieced together a complex mosaic of her "mama." In Her Wake sheds light on the nature of hurting and healing, and is a potent reminder that love outlasts death.
About the Author
Nancy Rappaport is assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. She is attending child and adolescent psychiatry consultant to the Cambridge Public Schools and director of school-based programs in child psychiatry at the Cambridge Health Alliance. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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