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Annita Sawyer's memoir is a harrowing, heroic, and redeeming story of her battle with mental illness, and her triumph in overcoming it. In 1960, as a suicidal teenager, Sawyer was institutionalized, misdiagnosed, and suffered through 89 electroshock treatments before being transfered, labeled as "unimproved." The damage done has haunted her life. Discharged in 1966, after finally receiving proper psychiatric care, Sawyer kept her past secret and moved on to graduate from Yale University, raise two children, and become a respected psychotherapist. That is, until 2001, when she reviewed her hospital records and began to remember a broken childhood and the even more broken mental health system of the 1950s and 1960s, Revisiting scenes from her childhood and assembling the pieces of a lost puzzle, her autobiography is a cautionary tale of careless psychiatric diagnosis and treatment, both 50 years ago and today. It is an informative story about understanding PTSD and making emotional sense of events that can lead a soul to darkness. Most of all, it's a story of perseverance: pain, acceptance, healing, hope, and success. Hers is a unique voice for this generation, shedding light on an often misunderstood illness.
In the vein of The Glass Castle, Breaking Night is the stunning memoir of a young woman who at age fifteen was living on the streets, and who eventually made it into Harvard. Liz Murray was born to loving but drug-addicted parents in the Bronx. In school she was taunted for her dirty clothing and lice-infested hair, eventually skipping so many classes that she was put into a girls' home. At age fifteen, Liz found herself on the streets when her family finally unraveled. She learned to scrape by, foraging for food and riding subways all night to have a warm place to sleep. When Liz's mother died of AIDS, she decided to take control of her own destiny and go back to high school, often completing her assignments in the hallways and subway stations where she slept. Liz squeezed four years of high school into two, while homeless; won a New York Times scholarship; and made it into the Ivy League. Breaking Night is an unforgettable and beautifully written story of one young woman's indomitable spirit to survive and prevail, against all odds.
Addiction is a gripping disease to which one can either succumb or overcome. Here is the story of a man who has done both with equal passion and despair. Join him on a journey as he finds himself lost in the deepest throes of substance abuse and later scaling the mountain that is recovery. My Own Worst Enemy offers a harrowing look at the very face of drug and alcohol addiction and the glory that accompanies one addict's vindication. Ronnie shares with the reader his most intimate trials and victories, from a childhood of abuse to the birth of his first child. At once painful and beautiful, his story is a testament to the strength and enlightenment that comes with sobriety and gives hope to those still struggling that they, too, can find freedom from addiction.
"Survivor Café...feels like the book Rosner was born to write. Each page is imbued with urgency, with sincerity, with heartache, with heart.... Her words, alongside the words of other survivors of atrocity and their descendants across the globe, can help us build a more humane world." —San Francisco Chronicle As firsthand survivors of many of the twentieth century's most monumental events—the Holocaust, Hiroshima, the Killing Fields—begin to pass away, Survivor Café addresses urgent questions: How do we carry those stories forward? How do we collectively ensure that the horrors of the past are not forgotten? Elizabeth Rosner organizes her book around three trips with her father to Buchenwald concentration camp—in 1983, in 1995, and in 2015—each journey an experience in which personal history confronts both commemoration and memorialization. She explores the echoes of similar legacies among descendants of African American slaves, descendants of Cambodian survivors of the Killing Fields, descendants of survivors of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the effects of 9/11 on the general population. Examining current brain research, Rosner depicts the efforts to understand the intergenerational inheritance of trauma, as well as the intricacies of remembrance in the aftermath of atrocity. Survivor Café becomes a lens for numerous constructs of memory—from museums and commemorative sites to national reconciliation projects to small-group cross-cultural encounters. Beyond preserving the firsthand testimonies of participants and witnesses, individuals and societies must continually take responsibility for learning the painful lessons of the past in order to offer hope for the future. Survivor Café offers a clear-eyed sense of the enormity of our twenty-first-century human inheritance—not only among direct descendants of the Holocaust but also in the shape of our collective responsibility to learn from tragedy, and to keep the ever-changing conversations alive between the past and the present.
“I decide that from now on we should listen to him. His lip may be deflated and his left side paralyzed, but he knows. And he has made terrible mistakes. But he knows. He knows. We are lucky that way.” Lucky That Way, a nuanced, richly engaging memoir, chronicles the joys and tribulations of a daughter who rediscovers her father as he nears the end of his life. Ernie Gerhardt, an artist and teacher, is largely estranged from his five children, but when he suffers a debilitating stroke, his daughter Pamela must fly to Las Vegas to tend to him. When she arrives to find Ernie newly and shockingly fragile, she is hit by an unexpected wave of tenderness. As she watches over him in intensive care, she recalls turning points in her family history—the early death of her mother and her father’s turn to heavy drinking--and reflects on the idiosyncrasies that make an imperfect and unique family, on what it means to become old, on what happens when parents are no longer the caregivers but the cared-for, and on how a family copes with their responsibility to the elderly. Written in a crisp, engaging style, the story is less about the drudgery of finding the right mix of medicines, at-home caregivers, and rehabilitation centers and more about the emotional ramifications of caring for the sick under the weight of sometimes flawed attachments. People make mistakes, grow old, get sick, and pass on from this world. Lucky That Way examines the irritations and comforts of contemporary family bonds. Gerhardt sifts through the complicated, multi-layered relationships for both wry comedy and high drama and records a string of triumphs and mishaps as Ernie and his five adult children struggle to manage his life and find meaning before their time runs out. The emerging theme of imperfect humans struggling with life's great mysteries will strike a chord of recognition with the tens of thousands of Baby-Boomers and Gen-Xers who are currently facing similar circumstances with their elderly loved ones. Pamela Gerhardt’s heartfelt story about a family coming to terms with their aging father’s illness and imminent death takes readers on an emotional roller coaster that highlights love, loss, humor, and sadness.
"The Gilded Razor is the true story of a double life. By the age of seventeen, Sam Lansky was an all-star student with Ivy League aspirations in his final year at an elite New York City prep school. But a nasty addiction to prescription pills spiraled rapidly out of control, compounded by a string of reckless affairs with older men, leaving his bright future in jeopardy. After a terrifying overdose, he tried to straighten out. Yet as he journeyed from the glittering streets of Manhattan, to a wilderness boot camp in Utah, to a psych ward in New Orleans, he only found more opportunities to create chaos--until finally, he began to face himself."--
Recounts the seventeen days the author spent locked in a underground bunker after being kidnapped and sexually abused by a family friend in 1992, looking at her tumultuous pre-kidnapping life and how she has dealt with the trauma.

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