Secret Girl: A Memoir

Molly Bruce Jacobs, Author . St. Martin's $22.95 (232p) ISBN 978-0-312-32094-2

A former Baltimore lawyer writes poignantly of her life-altering decision to meet her retarded sister for the first time. Although she'd known about her younger sister since she was 13, Jacobs never met Anne (incarcerated for most of her life in a state hospital) until the two were in their 30s. Born a twin in 1957 and afflicted with hydrocephalus ("water on the brain"), Anne was instantly hidden away in a private nursing home by her wealthy, status-conscious parents, who worried about the retarded child's effect on her twin, and also on her older sister, Molly (called Brucie). Although Anne's condition stabilized, the parents still refused to bring her home or visit her. Hoping to redirect her own life after derailment by alcoholism and divorce, author Jacobs, the mother of two sons, explores the factors that persuaded her to finally meet Anne in the early 1990s. Throughout the memoir, Jacobs faces the painful, cruel evidence of her family's neglect and denial. Knowing Anne revives for Jacobs a youthful enthusiasm and spontaneity. Anne becomes for the author her "vital counterpart": "She had what the world I grew up in had suppressed in me." Painful secrets are brought to light in this rueful, honest account. Agent, William Clegg. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 10/24/2005
Release date: 02/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 232 pages - 978-0-312-36406-9
Open Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-4299-0580-0
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