Synopses & Reviews
As a twelve-year-old girl, Maria Housden’s vision of a happy future included everything that society expects girls to yearn for: a home, a husband, and, of course, children. Life had other plans.
Unraveled is Housden’s riveting and thoughtful story of how, after the death of her young daughter, she found the courage to break away from her role as a wife and stay-at-home mom and strike out on her own in search of a more fulfilling life. Leaving her three surviving children in the primary custody of her husband, Housden faced down the disbelief of friends and family and began a journey that would ultimately lead her not only to the truth about herself, but also to a deeper and more loving connection with her children.
Housden writes about the emotional reckoning that led to her decision and the ways in which she has become the best mother she can be while no longer living with her children full-time. With fierce honesty and the same gift for poignantly beautiful writing that she demonstrated in the bestselling Hannah’s Gift, Housden makes a valuable contribution to our collective conversation about mothering, marriage, and the assumptions we make about the way life is supposed to be. Unraveled is the remarkable story of one woman’s choice not to live every girl’s dream . . . and instead to find her own.
"Housden found motherhood a continual struggle. She yearned to be the dutiful and diligent wife her demanding husband, Claude, wanted. When their second child, three-year-old Hannah, developed cancer, Housden's dreams of a perfect life vanished. Hannah's death soon after the birth of Housden's third child provoked a renewed desire to rectify her marital problems, and she and Claude had a fourth baby. But the wounds of Hannah's death hadn't healed for either parent. And then Housden (Hannah's Gift) met writer Roger Housden and found joy for the first time in years. She divorced Claude and allowed him primary custody of their children, believing that would allow her to be a more loving, attentive mother. Housden's emotional tale alternates between past and present, exploring her choices and revealing her determination to succeed as a writer. Throughout, Hannah's influence over Housden is palpable, and the sections relating to Hannah have the most resonance. With a stronger sense of self, Housden moved cross-country to live with Roger, visiting her children on weekends. Housden's poignant, raw book has no easy answers for life's difficult moments, but her bravery will soothe those enduring similar trials. Agent, BG Dilworth. (June 7)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Tissues in hand, I decided that because of her unflinching service to this extraordinary child and the fact that she has written about the experience with such precision and ultimate optimism Housden is a mother who deserves a major sabbatical, if not actually carte blanche....But as I finished Unraveled
, I was weeping again, this time in frustration. Because now, horribly, I was being moved to unintended laughter by some of the writing, and was finding the confluence of emotions quite nauseating." Sandra Tsing Loh, the Atlantic Monthly (read the entire Atlantic Monthly review
As a 12-year-old girl, Maria Housden's vision of a happy future included everything that society expects girls to yearn for: a home, a husband, and, of course, children. Reality turned out differently for Housden in ways that she could not control, but also as the result of one crucial decision she made for herself. After her young daughter Hannah died, Housden chose to divorce her husband and give him primary custody of their three surviving children. Although divorced fathers make this arrangement every day and in spite of the progress of women regarding their right to shape their own lives Housden's decision remains controversial and even shocking in the eyes of many.
In Unraveled, Housden writes about the emotional reckoning that led to her decision and the ways she has strived to be the best mother she can be to her children while living apart from them. With fierce honesty and the same gift for poignantly beautiful writing that she demonstrated in the bestselling Hannah's Gift, Housden makes a valuable contribution to our collective conversation about mothering, marriage, and the assumptions we make about the way life is supposed to be.
About the Author
Maria Housden is an author and lecturer. She and her husband, Roger Housden, live in New York and New Jersey. Her first book, Hannah’s Gift: Lessons from a Life Fully Lived, has become an inter-national bestseller, translated into more than fifteen foreign languages.