Approaching Neverland

Approaching Neverland

5.0 6
by Peggy Kennedy
     
 

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For as long as she could remember, Peggy Kennedy bore witness to her mother’s mental illness. While growing up in the 1960s, Peggy’s mother, Barbara, often liked to play games of make-believe and tell the children they were all going to Neverland—just like Peter Pan. But while the children knew it was all pretend, Barbara believed it to be all too… See more details below

Overview

For as long as she could remember, Peggy Kennedy bore witness to her mother’s mental illness. While growing up in the 1960s, Peggy’s mother, Barbara, often liked to play games of make-believe and tell the children they were all going to Neverland—just like Peter Pan. But while the children knew it was all pretend, Barbara believed it to be all too true.

Approaching Neverland recounts Peggy and her family’s attempts to deal with their mother’s mental illness during a time when it was little understood and even feared. With brutal honesty and surprising humor, Peggy shares the turbulence of growing up under the shadow of Barbara’s illness, of being shuffled from one family member to the next, and of visiting her mother in the mental institution. As the years pass, the shadows of Barbara’s challenges become a loving legacy in Peggy’s quest to achieve happiness and fulfillment in her life.

A vivid, haunting portrayal of one woman’s struggle to understand how the past fits in with her future, Approaching Neverland is as inspiring as it is beautifully written and will stay with you long after the last page is turned.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A captivating memoir of love, loss, mental illness and redemption. Kennedy walked into her first day of first grade alone, with unkempt hair that both her parents had neglected to brush. So begins her saga of having a mother whose mental illness (eventually diagnosed as bipolar disorder) resulted in multiple psychiatric hospitalizations. Her mother's condition led to greater challenges than messy hair, of course, which included near-fatal episodes involving delusional beliefs. The book's scope ranges far beyond this single issue, however; Kennedy paints a vivid picture of a family's travails and triumphs. She describes unintended pregnancies, unacknowledged homosexuality, substance abuse, military service in Vietnam, attempted suicide and homicide. Kennedy grounds her family's history in the zeitgeist of changing times, enriching the narrative by illustrating the impact of societal issues on her loved ones. Her sophisticated rendering of bittersweet situations evokes complex emotional reactions. Despite the masterful emotional portrayal, Kennedy sometimes skims the surface when she discusses her own grief. A grittier discussion of that personal topic might have improved the memoir, but it's not an omission that brings down the book as a whole. Each character--portrayed with empathy and balance--speaks with his or her distinctive voice, adding a layer of realism to dialogue. Kennedy's straightforward writing and economical prose lend density to her telling; every page feels significant. Apt, memorable phrases--"Her voice sat up straight" and "[L]ife was an illusion. Love was the real living"--further animate the work. Kennedy's experiences form a unique constellation, but the life lessons are universal. Poignancy without pity, triumph without glory.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781440126130
Publisher:
iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date:
03/24/2009
Series:
Rising Star Series
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

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