Monday, August 1, 2011

Book Review: In Her Wake

In Her Wake: A Child Psychiatrist Explores the Mystery of Her Mother's Suicide
Author: Nancy Rappaport
Title: In Her Wake
Publisher: Basic Books
Publish Date: Sept 1, 2009
Review Copy Provided By: TLC Book Tours and the publisher
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: 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 Drawing on court depositions, her mother’s unpublished novel, newspapers, and her own experiences, she highlights heartbreaking stories of a complicated life that played out in the public eye.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.

Review: What a beautifully written book on the most depressing topic, a mother's suicide. I'd like to compare this with another book I recently read A Long Goodbye by Meghan O'Rourke. Both books deal with the loss of a mother. Both books were painfully sad to read.

It is hard to imagine being a child and having to deal with the knowledge that your mother took her own life. As Nancy unravels some of the secrets of her mother's innermost thoughts, you really come to understand her depression. Just as in Meghan's book you come to better understand cancer.

I struggled a little more with this book than with Meghan's because the situation was a bit different. It is hard to understand why I person would take their own life, but unless you are that person, you'll never know why.

Nancy helps you understand and shows you how she came to terms with her loss. This memoir isn't for everyone. The subject matter is depressing, but if you can handle that, you will be rewarded by her beautiful book.

Rating: 4 flowers

About Nancy Rappaport

Nancy Rappaport is assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. She is the attending child and adolescent psychiatrist at Harvard teaching affiliate Cambridge Health Alliance, where she is also Director of School Based-programs with a focus on servicing youths, families and staff in public schools. She is the award winning author of In Her Wake: A Child Psychiatrist Explores the Mystery of Her Mother’s Suicide.

Visit Nancy at her website,


Anonymous said...

This is such a hard thing to read about, but I'm glad to know that the book is so well written - that certainly makes it easier to want to read it.

Thanks for being on the tour.

Nancy Rappaport said...

I am sorry you found it depressing although I agree the topic is a dark one.
I mean to provide a sense of hope with the resiliency of spirit.
I appreciate you writing the review !
Nancy Rappaport

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