Customer Reviews for

Annie's Ghosts: A Journey into a Family Secret

Average Rating 4
( 43 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(17)

4 Star

(10)

3 Star

(10)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(2)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Compelling and touching journey to uncover a family secret.

Mr. Luxenberg has thoroughly researched every facet of his family's history in his quest to learn more about his deceased mother and the secret she took to her grave. Simultaneously, this book reads like a novel, a revealing history of mental illness treatment in the U...
Mr. Luxenberg has thoroughly researched every facet of his family's history in his quest to learn more about his deceased mother and the secret she took to her grave. Simultaneously, this book reads like a novel, a revealing history of mental illness treatment in the U.S., a memoir of WWII-era European-Americans, and a compassionate look at the interior lives of this professional writer's ancestors. I was totally absorbed from start to finish, drawn in by Mr. Luxenberg's detailed fact-finding and his unwillingness to give up his search for the truth. I am fortunate to have found an advance copy three months prior to its publication.

posted by SallyS on February 19, 2009

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

I didnt care for this book,more like textbook reading

This book was well written,but kept reverting back to insignificant characters,dates and facts pertaining to assylums.I was hoping the dulldrum of reading was going to lead to a significant and unusual ending.It did not.Very disapointed.

posted by eliska on July 14, 2010

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 10 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 1
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2014

    This book was part mystery, part memoir and part history.  It he

    This book was part mystery, part memoir and part history.  It held my interest from beginning to end.  The author related his very personal story in an unbiased and non judge-mental way.  Would recommend.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 5, 2011

    Page turner

    I found this book to be very interesting and informative. The authors research in finding his missing Aunt is excellent. Makes you wonder if your family has any hidden secrets. The location of this book is local to me and I found that to be especially interesting. Excellent read from beginning to end

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2010

    absorbing treatment of a sad way of treating people

    quick read and fascinating detail about research

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Book You Won't Forget!

    "Though we share so many secrets
    There are some we never tell"

    The Stranger by Billy Joel

    When journalist Steve Luxenberg discovers after his mother's death that she was not an only child, bur rather had a physically and mentally disabled sister, Annie, he embarks on a journey to uncover the truth behind his mother's secret. What he discovers is a societal and legal system that for decades sequestered the mentally ill and disabled into institutions - leaving behind few traces of the person institutionalized. And on a personal level, he gains insight into his mother's abandonment of Annie. Luxenburg surmises that his mother felt compelled to keep her sister's existence a secret because at that time (the 30's - 40's) "psychiatry was a long way from curing the seriously ill; and . . . genetics [were believed to] be a factor."

    Although Luxenberg's quest does not uncover all the answers to his questions he expresses overall satisfaction with the results. He reflects that "my search has allowed me to achieve a freedom of my own: free to see my mother as she was, free to embrace her flaws and accept her choices, free to put aside, once and for all, [and] the pain of not being able to help her . . ."

    Annie's Ghosts is a fascinating detective story/memoir of one son's determination to understand.

    Publisher: Hyperion (May 5, 2009)
    Review Copy Provided Courtesy of the publisher and FSB Associates.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    What do we know about our history?

    Like most people, I assume that I know my parents. That they stories they have told me about their past are fairly all-inclusive, and that the stuff they have left out is irrelevant at best. It is easy to forget that they were people long before they were parents, that they had their share of trials and tribulations, and that I didn't come into the picture until most of their struggles had subsided. After reading Annie's Ghosts, I realized that perhaps the most important parts of my parents' pre-parental existence may very well have been the ones they chose to omit from their own personal narratives. I only know the condensed version, the PG version that was cleaned up for my child's brain and never updated when I became an adult.

    Annie's Ghosts is the story of one family's hidden history. A few years prior to his mother's death, Steve Luxenberg discovers a skeleton in her closet. Beth, a self-professed 'only child,' had a younger sister. As the story goes, the child had been mentally ill and institutionalized when Beth was only four years old. Because of his mother's declining health, both mental and physical, Steve and his siblings decide not to press her about the rumor. She passes away in August 1999, unaware that her children have discovered her long-buried secret, and therefore without divulging any information to them.

    After his mother's death, a strange new fact is presented. Beth's sister, Annie, had not been institutionalized as a young child but as a young woman of almost 21 years old. And Beth had been 23. However, no one in Steven's family had known that the sister had even existed. He wonders how and why his mother perpetrated the secret, and begins to dig deeper into his family's history.

    What he uncovers is a maze of information that seems to add questions rather than answer them. (What was his mother's REAL name? Were his grandparents first cousins? Did his father know about Annie? Why did his father end up in a military psych hospital?) In a journey through a different (though recent) generation, we follow Steve's family through the holocaust and emigration to America. We also get a taste of the mental health care system that was in its infancy in this nation during the '40s, and follow its evolution through to the present day.

    While many of the questions that are posed throughout the book are inevitably unanswered (a great many of the people who knew about Annie's existence are deceased by the time Steve's research begins), it is still a satisfying, four star read. It begs the question, "What do any of us really know about our family history?" It is also a shocking look into the way mentally and physically ill people were treated in this country as recently as 50 years ago. While we can't change the past, shedding light on some of the dark times in our history may certainly prevent them from repeating themselves

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 10 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 1