Annie's Ghosts: A Journey into a Family Secret

Annie's Ghosts: A Journey into a Family Secret

by Steve Luxenberg
3.8 44

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Overview

Annie's Ghosts: A Journey into a Family Secret by Steve Luxenberg

  • The Great Michigan Read 2013-14
  • Michigan Notable Book for 2010
  • A Washington Post Book World's "Best Books of 2009," Memoir
Beth Luxenberg was an only child. Or so everyone thought. Six months after Beth's death, her secret emerged. It had a name: Annie.

Steve Luxenberg's mother always told people she was an only child. It was a fact that he'd grown up with, along with the information that some of his relatives were Holocaust survivors. However, when his mother was dying, she casually mentioned that she had had a sister she'd barely known, who early in life had been put into a mental institution. Luxenberg began his researches after his mother's death, discovering the startling fact that his mother had grown up in the same house with this sister, Annie, until her parents sent Annie away to the local psychiatric hospital at the age of 23.

Annie would spend the rest of her life shut away in a mental institution, while the family erased any hints that she had ever existed. Through interviews and investigative journalism, Luxenberg teases out her story from the web of shame and half-truths that had hidden it. He also explores the social history of institutions such as Eloise in Detroit, where Annie lived, and the fact that in this era (the 40s and 50s), locking up a troubled relative who suffered from depression or other treatable problems was much more common than anyone realizes today.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781401310196
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 05/11/2010
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 300,822
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Steve Luxenberg has been a senior editor with the Washington Post for 20 years. He lives in Baltimore, MD. This is his first book.

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Annie's Ghosts: A Journey into a Family Secret 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 43 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ANNIE'S GHOST is a true account about a son who who discovers after his mother's death that she had a sister her children never knew about. The son's investigative search tries to found out about Annie and why his mother lied about never having a sister and what affect that lie had on his mother, the family, and friends. This excellent book reads like a novel. The author includes historical information which tries to explain why people acted as they did. It's a satisfying book which leaves the reader thinking about people's choices.
angramel More than 1 year ago
The family mystery is very intriguing. The author throws in a lot of other facts and little tidbits of information which don't necessarily have anything to do with the story of Annie, and could easily have been left out. He made some of these add-ons quite lenghty, which made the book boring at times. Overall, I enjoyed the story of Annie immensely, and you really start to feel for this person. Would recommend.
SallyS More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
accwhiz More than 1 year ago
I only finished the book because it was this year's Michigan Reads selection and I agreed to attend a discussion. The book is rather like a "good, not great" movie that is 1/2 an hour too long. In part it appears that the author was "working out" his (rather late in life) realization that his mother had a part of her existence that did not totally revolve around her children. While the details of the bureaucratic obstacles represented new, albeit not surprising information, the author's petulance about them was palpable. It was not surprising at all to me that his mother chose not to subject herself to his inquisition.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
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Serena_Snowfield More than 1 year ago
I loved it and could hardly put it down. We have a few "ghosts" in the family, so I could relate to Steve's quest. I recommend this book to anyone interested in family history and finding the truth in your family tree.
book2nookWW More than 1 year ago
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
Martin Roberts More than 1 year ago
what a poignant and touching story. as the author works to give voice to a forgotten small voice Annie. he validates her life and the lives of thousands of unheard voices from a time when mental heallth truly sucked
Anonymous More than 1 year ago