AT THE STILL POINT: A Memoir by Carol Buckley

AT THE STILL POINT: A Memoir

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A socialite turned social worker reflects sensitively on a pampered but lonely childhood that led to troubled marriages and attempted suicide. It is hard to believe that in a family of ten children, Carol Buckley was lonely. But she was the baby of the celebrated Buckley clan (William Jr., Senator James, novelist Reid). By the time she was old enough to remember, the others were at boarding school or out in the world. She saw her brother Jimmy for the first time when he returned from service in WW II; she was seven years old. Her parents were prosperous and loving but often absent. She roamed the big houses in Connecticut and South Carolina cared for by servants and governesses. Her loneliness relieved occasionally by the attentions of her sisters, she nevertheless turned from a ""boisterous, impudent little girl"" to a melancholy child, stifling feelings of inadequacy with food. When she married at 19, it was to a man who would leave her as lonely as she had been throughout her childhood. In the footsteps of her prolific brothers and sisters, Carol also began having babies; seven pregnancies produced four children, two miscarriages, and a stillborn baby. In that time, two beloved sisters and her brother John's wife also died. Suicide attempts thrust Carol in and out of institutions; a second marriage ended in divorce when she gave up the alcohol that numbed her feelings and allowed her to focus on keeping others happy. She returned to school to begin a new life as a social worker and ultimately settled in a house by the sea to write. Rich with simple anecdotes of her family, this memoir is not vindictive, nor is it a payback for an unhappy childhood that was, Buckley believes, only a trick of timing. Sans self-pity, a tale of a poor little rich girl grown into a courageous, compassionate adult.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1996
Page count: 242pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster