Monday, November 22, 2010

The Good Sister by Drusilla Campbell Review and Giveaway

Paperback: 352 pages 
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Original edition (October 1, 2010)
Language: English

Roxanne Callahan has always been her younger sister's caretaker. Now married, her happiness is threatened when beautiful and emotionally unstable Simone, suffering from crippling postpartum depression, commits an unforgivable crime for which Roxanne comes to believe she is partially responsible. In the glare of national media attention brought on her sister, Roxanne fights to hold her marriage together as she is drawn back into the pain of her troubled past and relives the fraught relationship she and Simone shared with their narcissistic mother. At the same time, only she can help Simone's nine year old daughter, Merell, make sense of the family's tragedy. Cathartic, lyrical, and unflinchingly honest, THE GOOD SISTER is a novel of four generations of women struggling to overcome a legacy of violence, lies and secrecy, ultimately finding strength and courage in their love for each other.   

My Take: May 26, 2005.  The day I stopped loving Tom Cruise.  That is the day he slammed Brooke Shields for publicly announcing her reaction to postpartum depression.  She chose medication.  Gasp!  Since then I've felt nothing but contempt for the man who has never had his body rewired while internal organs are pushed aside and changes in hormonal balance makes you cry because the cat coughed up a hairball. 

On this particular day, my own body was waging a war with itself, having pushed a person the size of a pot roast through a hole the size of a nostril, and for some mysterious reason, my previously aesthetically pleasing breasts became as hard as granite were leaking sustenance for a child that was wholly dependent on me.  No amount of positive thinking was going to magically restore my sleep deprived, physically rewired body.  Nope. Instead I did what any sane woman would do. 

I painted the family room.  And the kitchen.  And the entry.   

To this day, I can't properly articulate my manic response to giving birth.  I can only sit back, sigh and enjoy the ambiance of the colors. 

And so, back to the book and painting.  The author paints a clear path to Simone's thinking and thinking errors.  The feeling of being overwhelmed and helpless as the demands continue to pile around her, looking for impossible solutions and eventually slipping past depression into psychosis.  It is as disturbing as it is well articulated.  A new mother may see a sliver of herself in Simone and feel uncomfortable.  An old mother may see more than just a sliver.  Who hasn't felt at least a little suffocated by the demands of motherhood and the weight of responsibility?  Some resentment or frustration at times?  Some may have felt apathy? 

The author adds to Simone's personality bipolar, learned helplessness, narcissism, and provides a breeding ground for Simone's role.  At the same time, Simone's older sister, Roxanne, takes on the caretaking role from a very early age.  Co-dependency is threaded throughout the story by not only Roxanne but others from Simone's life and ancestral chain.  

This is a work of fiction however, the author lays her soul out by taking on such a difficult subject.  This book covers so many different aspects of relationships and mental illness and health along with multidimensional characters, I would strongly suggest it for a mature (women with children) Reading Group. Reading level is not difficult, the language does contain the "F" word at times.  


Thanks to Brad at Hatchette, I have 3 copies up for grabs!

Usual Rules
U.S. and Canada only
No P.O. Boxes
Only one copy per household
Fill out the form below.
Contest ends December 3, 2010.

Feel free to leave a comment to validate my existence. Tell me I am interesting/funny/quite strange/need serious therapy.


Teresa said...

Fantastic review. I've never understood how someone who hasn't experienced such things can take such a stance. I don't have any respect for the man either.


Kristen said...

Great review! I loved it!

My Bloody Fairy Tale

Kristen said...

Great review! I loved it!

My Bloody Fairy Tale

RK Charron said...

Hi :)
Thank you for the review & the story you related. I hadn't heard of The Good Sister before this & you've piqued my curiosity.
All the best,
PS - I was tempted by my perverse sense of humor to check "Why?" on the form's question asking if I was a Follower.

Benita said...

I love visiting your blog. You're candid, funny and sincere. It's a treat to read your reviews.


Ivy said...

Excellent review. It sounds both highly disturbing & very readable. One of those that stays w/ you long after you've read it. I never had ppd, thank God! I was sleep deprived & other things though...Never want to relive those times.

dor said...

Will be interesting to read of bipolar. I have some experience about that.

pmernick said...

Yeah, too bad Tom can't give birth or go through perimenopause.
I loved your review!

sunshine9 said...

I enjoy your reviews and sense of humor. Happy Thanksgiving!

Carol Naomi Wong said...

I had post partum depression before it had a name. At least I don't think it had one, that was way back in 1972. It is real and no man should ever be allowed to say that it isn't!!!!!!

I couldn't understand why I was constantly weeping all the time. I,too, had the same reaction when Tom Cruise slammed Brooke Shields. He went directly off my favorites list to a despised list.


Alison said...

Wow...this one sounds like an emotional roller coaster - although not in a bad way.
Has it really been 5 years since Tom Cruise started acting nutso? It's hard to believe it's been that long.

Ruthie said...

I have really liked the reviews of almost all the books you have up for grabs...ok, you're validated!

Yolanda said...

Nancy! I NEED a good book to read. Please just tell me what to read. ONE book. Oh, can I borrow it too?

CountessLaurie said...

Tom Cruise is a dingbat. And that is the nicest thing I can say about him.

If I win, give the book to Yolanda... she is in need :)

A Musing Mother said...

Laurie - she has full access to my library. Her daughter regularly checks out books. Yolanda can just use her own two feet to hoof it up to my house.

Shimmerskin said...

Your review makes me want to read this!

debbie said...

It's funny how people react to it. When my sister had it, and my nephew had something terrible happen to him, my mother was in denial. Her "perfect" daughter didn't need that medicine.

Laura H. said...

Thanks for the great giveaway! No doubt about it: you are all of the above! :-)

Elizabeth said...

Your site is cute...I always stop by.

jewelknits said...

Loved this review! Although (fortunately), I've never had the crazies with my births, I've seen it and can totally sympathize with the changes that people go through. I'm all for medication if it will help normalize you; that's why God made researchers and doctors!

Julie @ Knitting and Sundries

ruthhill74 said...

I always look forward to your reviews--I know that you will give a very fair review. I have been introduced to some great reads because of your reviews. Thanks!

Julie said...

I like your honesty in your reviews-keep up the good work :)
thanks for the giveawy

Terrymac said...

Your review has me wanting to read this book. Thank you.

terrymac1a at hotmail dot com