The Ghost in the House: Motherhood, Raising Children, and Struggling with Depression

Tracy Thompson, Author . HarperCollins $24.95 (252p) ISBN 978-0-06-084379-3

Washington Post reporter Thompson wrote about her experience of depression as a young woman in The Beast . Now she shares her experiences as a mother struggling with depression, mirrored in her childhood memories of her own mother's depression. All of this is filtered through research about the role of this cycle in families. Meandering anecdotes from the author and a survey of 400 mothers conducted by Sherryl Goodman of Emory University serve as both a strength and weakness of the book; they're instructive, but the various voices become confusing at times. Further, Thompson cites only evidence that "validates" her conclusions. And she may be too close to her subject. Yes, motherhood is daunting and difficult, but not every overwhelmed mother is depressed, as Thompson seems to imply. The information Thompson offers on depression (symptoms such as withdrawing and hyperirritability) and coping ("faith, friends, feeling like a child") will help guide and support readers. Sporadic emphasis on how children are affected includes an account of a young boy whose migraines are linked to his mother's depression, and another suggesting that one mother never learned healthy parenting skills because of childhood experiences with her depressed mother. Taken cautiously, this book offers support for those in the midst of struggling. (Aug. 1)

Reviewed on: 05/22/2006
Release date: 08/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 272 pages - 978-0-06-174419-8
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Paperback - 252 pages - 978-0-06-084380-9
Paperback - 252 pages - 978-0-7499-2718-9
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 272 pages - 978-0-06-146796-7
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