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Approaching Neverland recounts Peggy and her family’s attempts to deal with their mother’s mental illness during a time when it...
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.
Posted February 10, 2010
Approaching Neverland is a recipient of the prestigious Mom's Choice Award. The Mom's Choice Awards® honors excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. An esteemed panel of judges includes education, media and other experts as well as parents, children, librarians, performing artists, producers, medical and business professionals, authors, scientists and others. A sampling of the panel members includes: Dr. Twila C. Liggett, ten-time Emmy-winner, professor and founder of PBS's Reading Rainbow; Julie Aigner-Clark, Creator of Baby Einstein and The Safe Side Project; Jodee Blanco, New York Times best-selling Author; LeAnn Thieman, motivational speaker and coauthor of seven Chicken Soup For The Soul books; and Tara Paterson, Certified Parent Coach and founder of the Mom's Choice Awards. Parents and educators look for the Mom's Choice Awards seal in selecting quality materials and products for children and families.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 22, 2009
I whole heartedly recommend Approaching Neverland as a memoir to read, even study. It is a story of rare courage and candor. Statistics reflect that in nearly every family, a member is visited by some form of mental illness. The ways in which the writer's mentally ill mother experiences her terrors is only a small part of this story. Each of the five children unconsciously adopts an important position in this family. The quiet hard working Dad loves his wife and family, but seems to be in the dark and unable to figure it all out. Of course, this took place in an era devoted to denying family problems. During this time, there were few autobiographies or memoirs revealing the inner pain families experienced. I might be wrong, but I think the glorifying of suffering in silence was even more true in the old-fashioned Catholic families. Being raised in a similar belief system at an earlier time, I risk this generalization. The journey of the parents and five children is poignant, courageous, humorous and compelling.
Psychotherapists need to order this book NOW, read it and share it with clients and colleagues. Any therapist with any specialty at all will gain depth, insight and compassion from a deeper reading of this family story. There are strands of painful themes often overlapping each other. The perfect Catholic family deals not only with coping with Mom's bi-polar sieges, but the "coming out" of two gay older sons, and a lesbian sister. Sadly, AIDS takes the oldest son. The unsolved murder of the middle sister takes the reader to an even deeper level of grief, trauma and loss. How did this family not blow apart from all this pain?
The weaving together of love, suffering, and creativity in this book touched me deeply. The hard working, "married-way too young" Dad - seemed lost, confused and yet devoted to his wife and children. Each child seems to individuate and find their talents and paths. Amazing!
The children growing into young adulthood seem to flail about, some rebelling (normal), some experimenting, others fumbling through his/her own reading of life. There was not much guidance or understanding from the outside.
I wonder if the writer, Ms. Kennedy, the youngest child, ever realized she would in many ways be the family guide. Each sibling turned to her at one time or another for guidance.
I do believe anyone who has lived with a family member burdened with mental illness will appreciate and be comforted by this story of maturing under duress.
Living through their mother's episodes and hospitalizations carved each child into his/her gifted, amazing self. The delightful flavor in the story is the humor, and fun the kids and Mom share along with the crises.
I think families and professionals of all descriptions would be enlightened about the stalwart human spirit through reading the Kennedy family saga. The writer with her siblings' generous permission shares the human truth without romanticizing, dramatizing or omitting the funny events. Ms. Kennedy paid her own dues and shares the benefit of this with not only professionals, but families living through such pain and challenge. I for one, as a professional am grateful for this gift of truth, not only for myself and my work, but to share with others.
Posted August 21, 2009
I read Ms. Kennedy's story little by little. Really, her memoir is many stories entwined into one. I could not have read it in one sitting - like a bag of BBQ potato chips circa 1968, it was best in small helpings. Ms. Kennedy's vivid account of growing up in the 60's in the Bay Area brought back many memories of how we felt, thought and acted in a middle class neighborhood, in a middle class town, under the guiding hand of San Francisco's aura, Every word enhanced her story - overwhelmingly sad at times and intensely personal. The real gift of her memoir is that so many of us with life secrets can relate. So many of us whose lives have been touched by mental illness, challenging family dynamics, contrarian roles, and difficult choices can find inspiration in her story. How wonderful that she has chosen to share.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 13, 2009
"Approaching Neverland" is an unforgettable memoir. Peggy Kennedy's account of the tragedies facing her family showed both courage and compassion. I have read a number of great books where endearing characters have died. And I remember feeling like I should have cried but the tears never came. This book was different. It moved me so that I choked back tears of anguish and joy multiple times during the reading.
This candid story will be of help to many of us who have dealt with the difficulties of adversity. It gives us hope of the phoenix rising, where we can and will find the strength and beauty that can only come from the ashes of the past.
A wonderful book for new beginnings ...
Posted April 8, 2009
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