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Paperback Searching for Mercy Street : My Journey Back to My Mother, Anne Sexton Book

ISBN: 0316782084

ISBN13: 9780316782081

Searching for Mercy Street : My Journey Back to My Mother, Anne Sexton

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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. Linda Gray Sexton's critically acclaimed memoir is an honest, unsparing account of the anguish and fierce love that bound a brilliant, difficult mother and the daughter she left behind. Linda Sexton...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

I will never tire of reading about mothers and daughters

I will never tire of reading about mothers and daughters. When I was 10, my own mother had a breakdown and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. In the years that followed, my father - a medical scientist with many connections - my mother, and many others in the family, wove a fascinating yet tortured life for my siblings and me. There was always something sinister behind the blatant reality of my mother's tragic intermittent psychosis. That something sinister was in part the times in which we lived, times not far removed from the times Sexton and Linda Gray Sexton lived. I like to think we live in more enlightened times now, but am not sure of that perception. Linda Gray Sexton's account of life with her mother was by turns refreshing, brutally honest, uplifting and depressing. Yet it needed to be told.

captivating, enthralling

I actually read this book while it was in production -- I was on the proofreading team for the publisher's typesetter -- and the entire team was enthralled by this book. Work is work, and usually we would would deal with the task at hand, but on breaks and over lunch, many of us working on this book would have mini-sessions about the author, her mother, the context of the relationship. We all felt very personally attached and protective of this book because we were working with the manuscript, which had handwritten notes between the author and her editor in the margins. It wasn't simply a narrative, we were keenly aware of the humanity behind the words. However, that awareness was truly heightened by the sensitive and thoughtful writing. Of course, my reading experience is unique to my situation, but I urge all readers to give this book some time. It's worth the investment.

Linda Sexton Earns Honorary Name "Gray"

As the reader learns, the name "Gray" was given to family members who would attain the writer's gift. Respecting this honorary heirloom, Linda's words flow beautifully as she recalls her life with impressive detail. Linda expresses discomfort in revisiting the haunting moments of her life, but she doesn't stop reaching for information. Instead, she keeps pinching her insides until she's squeezed out each emotion, sharing her life and Anne's impact on it with the most lucid honesty. What courage to be able to look at oneself as closely as Linda does! While enjoying the detailed account of humanity, I also learned the story of Anne Sexton, a brilliant artist and complex person who suffered a lot, and caused much suffering-- as well as joy. This book also demonstrates how writing poetry or even non-fiction as therapy can truly become art if the writer is real, fearless and generous with detail. I appreciated the educational value of the information about the emotional impact of mental illness on an individual and a family.Anyone who writes, ever feels blue, or appreciates learning about the mind of the artist should read this book. I also recommend reading "Touched with Fire", Kay Redfield Jamison's study of Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament, as well as "An "Unquiet Mind", her autobiography. Also, reading more of Sexton's poetry (many poems are excerpted in Linda Gray Sexton's book) completes the picture.[Linda, Anne would be pleased to know how well you have learned to see.~JAD]

Opened My Eyes

I worked with Linda closely for a year when she had small children in the Mid-1980's. I was very touched and disturbed by this book. I found it to the point, but forgiving. I commend Linda for her resiliency and candor. I know that to write this book she had to rediscover many guarded memories. I encourage all to read it. Anne Sexton was a complicated, brilliant artist. Her life was fascinating to read about, especially from her daughter's intimate perpective. The poems that were included helped me to more fully understand the artist and woman through the different stages of her life. I hope Linda writes again.

Absolutely heart-breaking but written with love.

I could not put this book down. Linda Gray Sexton's honesty was enlightening. She portrayed her mother as more than a woman with a mental illness. It is a portrait of a smart intelligent woman struggling to find meaning in her mentally ill life who at times rises above it but eventually succumbs. It is evident that Anne loved her daughters, but showed it in atypical ways. After reading this book, I find myself very interested in the work of Anne Sexton and her life. It gives a fresh and candid glimpse at this amazingly talented, yet tragic woman and a daughter who struggled to make sense out of her mother's love.

Searching for Mercy Street: My Journey Back to My Mother, Anne Sexton Mentions in Our Blog

Searching for Mercy Street: My Journey Back to My Mother, Anne Sexton in 5 Books That Honor the Complexity of Motherhood
5 Books That Honor the Complexity of Motherhood
Published by Emma Zaratian • May 06, 2019

Mother's Day is this Sunday. It's a holiday often known for family get-togethers and floral bouquets. It's also a time to reflect upon our relationships with our mothers, whose complex personalities have so unmistakably formed our own. To that end, here are some memoirs and novels we think explore the deeper dimensions of those maternal relationships.

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