Welcome reader to my blog - a mixture of this and that. Now that we are living in a retirement community in downtown Columbia, MD my personal gardening activities are somewhat curtailed. I still enjoy visiting gardens, reading, watching wildlife on my walks, traveling, and occasional food commentary. Please leave a comment if you feel inspired to do so. I read every one of them.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Steve Luxenberg - "Annie's Ghosts"

This is an incredible detective story that is true. The full title of this book is "A Journey Into a Family Secret". Luxenberg is on a search for an aunt, the sister of his mom that he never knew existed until shortly before his mother's death. The saddest part of the book is the fact that he never asks his mother about her sister because when he firsts learns of her, it is inaccurate information. He thinks the sister has died as a very young child. Later he learns that his mother never grew up as an only child but with a younger sister who was institutionalized at age 21. His mother was two years older.

Luxenberg searches medical records when he can get them and interviews old family relatives and acquaintances to see what they remembered or knew with mixed results. In his search he turns up other secrets long hidden or forgotten. An amazing journey into the past trying to make sense of his mother's decision not to share the existence of a sister. A sad journey into the past when he learns the conditions in which his aunt lived and died in Michigan mental institutions. His story makes you wonder what secrets may lie in all our past family histories.


HolleyGarden said...

I bet this is an interesting book. Unfortunately, that is how mental patients were treated - they truly thought it for the best. We have come a long way in drugs and treatment for mental illnesses. Now the issue is getting them the help they need if they don't want it - most cases, loved one have to prove they are a harm to themselves or others, and usually by then it is too late. Look at our jails and you will see that most of our mentally ill are there now, instead of mental institutions. I don't think we've progressed much.

Jean said...

The book does sound very interesting. One never knows what they will find when looking back at their family tree.

Maria said...

sounds like a very interesting book.
going to read it.I am looking into my family history. Learned so much about my ancestors and makes me proud to be part of their family. Funny, as well as sadness are there and i understand where they are coming from. Dutch, German, Italian all in this family.

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