A searingly honest chronicle of motherhood and mental illness drawn from the bittersweet memories of a daughter.



A debut coming-of-age autobiography chronicles personal ancestry and familial struggle.  

In the first of author and speechwriter Lieberman’s two-part history—a massively researched endeavor 18 years in the making—she unveils the genesis of her family life through heartfelt prose and generous photographs. The book’s title is derived from the autonomy the author strived to achieve in order to feel wholly at peace with what she calls a shameful family secret: her mother Margaret’s lifelong struggle with paranoid schizophrenia. Life became challenging early on as the daughter of an atheist father and a mother who heard the “voices of a god and a devil.” Lieberman diligently retraces her parents’ individual histories, reaching back to her mother’s birth to a Mormon family in Utah and the blind date that would seal her romantic fate with the author’s father, Frank. Though the marriage of a Mormon-raised daughter to a gentile raised eyebrows in Salt Lake City, their union produced the author, the surviving female twin from a complicated pregnancy (her brother died in childbirth). Years later, her mother began hearing demonic voices that incapacitated her, while Lieberman found supreme solace in the safe havens of next-door neighbor Marlene Evans, the Mormon Church, and her Aunt Mary’s home. In sharing cherished anecdotes and resonant memories, the author effectively exorcises the demons of a youth spent searching for answers and knowing “my mother was both dangerous and deeply disturbed.” As the author learned lessons about death, money, driving, and jealousy, a stint abroad helped her mature into a woman capable of love and motherhood even as the Vietnam War raged on and the irrational fear that she would develop schizophrenia loomed. Lieberman rightfully labels schizophrenia as an incurable “human disaster.” As a child, her mother’s paranoid hallucinations of “invisible demons” were random and frightening, and Lieberman’s portrayal of Margaret’s further descent is palpably disturbing and sorrowful. Yet it also presents the author as an increasingly formidable and resilient woman able to withstand the sadness of her mother’s illness with the fortitude of a well-adjusted adult. Her poignant, painstakingly detailed journey is both exhaustive and intimately personal.

A searingly honest chronicle of motherhood and mental illness drawn from the bittersweet memories of a daughter.

Pub Date: July 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9987690-1-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Camperdown Elm Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 11, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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