My Mother's Keeper: A Daughter's Memoir of Growing up in the Shadow of Schizophrenia

Overview

Separated from her mother at an early age, Tara Elgin Holley became her mother's legal guardian at age 16 and set about trying to rescue the blonde fairy princess she remembered from the shambling street person her mother had become. An inspiring story of one woman's struggle to struggle through the pain to reach a better understanding of her mother, herself and a devastating mental illness.

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Overview

Separated from her mother at an early age, Tara Elgin Holley became her mother's legal guardian at age 16 and set about trying to rescue the blonde fairy princess she remembered from the shambling street person her mother had become. An inspiring story of one woman's struggle to struggle through the pain to reach a better understanding of her mother, herself and a devastating mental illness.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380723027
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/1/1998
  • Pages: 367
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Read an Excerpt

I have been trying to understand for more than a decade. In the years that Tara and I have been married, I've learned a lot— and I'm still learning about this cruelest of diseases. I've learned that it's not just the terrifying loss of control or the social opprobrium born of ignorance that makes it so cruel. It's the fact that schizophrenia often strikes in late adolescence or early adult hood—as with Dawn—jus
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  • Posted March 1, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    There are different types of people on the street and those who attract a lot of attention by shouting loudly, laughing incessantly, or even mumbling sporadically to themselves are seen as crazy people. Everyone would stare or keep a safe distance from them because of an unknown fear that these crazy people are dangerous and harmful. All we know to do, in answer to this fear, is to judge someone from the outside without knowing what happened to transform them into who they really are today. Their abnormal behaviors might be due to genetic factors or a disease, schizophrenia being the most common. Schizophrenia is a cruel disease (with symptoms of hallucination, delusion, racing thoughts, etc.) that usually appears in late adolescence and occurs in all cultures, all races, and all economic groups. Schizophrenia doesn't necessarily have to be a genetic disease, so everyone has an equal chance of getting it. Therefore, I would highly recommend this book to those who care and wish to gain more knowledge on this matter that most people choose to ignore because it is still a mystery and too painful to mention. This is a chronic paranoid schizophrenic patient's daughter's memoir, in which Tara, the daughter, describes what struggles she had to go through to take care of her schizophrenic mother. In my opinion, Tara had done a very good job in raising awareness about this madness called schizophrenia that affects nearly 3 million Americans with about 300,000 new cases diagnosed every year. She expresses her various emotions that gives people a vivid and candid picture of a young girl who held wishful hopes that her mother's conditions could ameliorate. The author has her focus closely on the content so there seems to be no detraction throughout the book. I overall like the book because not only Tara talks about her life but via the novel, I could see how her mother, Dawn, from being a beautiful and promising singer in Hollywood, was caught in the trap of schizophrenia and slowly it was taking her soul away as time passed by. Tara, a frivolous and delightful child, grew up under the care of a respectful relative, during which time she greatly yearned for her mother even though the relative was treating her very well. As a freshman in college, Tara started taking care of her ill mother, who she gave up many opportunities for. Tara became the mother of her mother, constantly worried and seeking different methods to cure the disease, but unfortunately, schizophrenia is incurable. This book is appropriate for high school students and older because at that age level, people have at least heard of schizophrenia, which makes it easier to explore in depth what this devastating disease is about and how patients and their families are suffering because of it. I truly believe that those who take the time to read this book thoroughly will find it very helpful in understanding and sympathizing with many mentally ill patients who they might interact with at some point in their lives.

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