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The Long Journey Home: A Memoirby Margaret Robison
Synopses & Reviews
First introduced to the world in her sons’ now-classic memoirs—Augusten Burroughs’s Running with Scissors and John Elder Robison’s Look Me in the Eye—Margaret Robison now tells her own haunting and lyrical story. A poet and teacher by profession, Robison describes her Southern Gothic childhood, her marriage to a handsome, brilliant man who became a split-personality alcoholic and abusive husband, the challenges she faced raising two children while having psychotic breakdowns of her own, and her struggle to regain her sanity.
Robison grew up in southern Georgia, where the façade of 1950s propriety masked all sorts of demons, including alcoholism, misogyny, repressed homosexuality, and suicide. She met her husband, John Robison, in college, and together they moved up north, where John embarked upon a successful academic career and Margaret brought up the children and worked on her art and poetry. Yet her husband’s alcoholism and her collapse into psychosis, and the eventual disintegration of their marriage, took a tremendous toll on their family: Her older son, John Elder, moved out of the house when he was a teenager, and her younger son, Chris (who later renamed himself Augusten), never completed high school. When Margaret met Dr. Rodolph Turcotte, the therapist who was treating her husband, she felt understood for the first time and quickly fell under his idiosyncratic and, eventually, harmful influence.
Robison writes movingly and honestly about her mental illness, her shortcomings as a parent, her difficult marriage, her traumatic relationship with Dr. Turcotte, and her two now-famous children, Augusten Burroughs and John Elder Robison, who have each written bestselling memoirs about their family. She also writes inspiringly about her hard-earned journey to sanity and clarity. An astonishing and enduring story, The Long Journey Home is a remarkable and ultimately uplifting account of a complicated, afflicted twentieth-century family.
"The mother of Augusten Burroughs (Running with Scissors) and John Elder Robison (Look Me in the Eye) recounts her own troubled life in this unremarkable tell-all. A Georgia native, Robison spent her childhood under the repressive thumb of her mother, with art her only escape. She met her soon-to-be husband, John Robison, when they were both students at the University of Georgia. It was the beginning of a tumultuous 23-year relationship marked by abuse and the birth of their two sons, John Elder and Chris (who later changed his name to Augusten Burroughs). The family moved frequently, following John's teaching positions, until settling permanently in Massachusetts near Amherst in the 1960s, where Margaret painted and wrote poetry. It was here she met Dr. Rodolph Turcotte — the psychiatrist at the heart of Scissors — and suffered the first of several psychotic episodes. A stroke more than 20 years earlier left her paralyzed on her left side, though still able to write and speak. Robison recounts the key events in her life — from the physical abuse she suffered at the hands of John throughout their marriage to her various institutionalizations and her thinly veiled criticism of Burroughs's own memoirs — with excessive detail that exhausts rather than enlightens the reader. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Margaret Robison is an artist and the author of four books of poetry. She lives in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts.
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