Half in Love: Surviving a Legacy of Suicide

Linda Gray Sexton. Counterpoint (PGW, dist.), $25 (336p) ISBN 978-1-58243-718-7
To forge one's own life free of a parent's shadow is a challenge for any child, but when that child was born to renowned poet Anne Sexton, who committed suicide in 1974, the challenge takes on a particularly dark dimension. For Sexton, the shadow hides emotional turmoil and a legacy of mental illness passed generation to generation; despite determination to break the chain, Linda acknowledges passing it to her sons as well. With extraordinary transparency, the author intimately recalls her relationship with her unstable mother, who preened her daughter as an extension of herself before finally abandoning her. Sexton even includes an honest confession of the guilt she felt in succumbing to the legacy passed from her mother rather than ending it. The array of deep emotions here make it impossible not to sympathize with the author, and perhaps her raw account will leave the reader with an alternate legacy: the knowledge of the sometimes suicidal pain of mental illnesses and the love and care needed to overcome it. Sexton's second memoir (after Searching for Mercy Street) is a valuable examination of a dark and complicated subject. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 03/28/2011
Release date: 01/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 300 pages - 978-1-60747-761-7
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-58243-799-6
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