This memoir/audiobook shows how one family member’s chronic illness—depression or otherwise—affects the entire family. Shapiro, a first generation American, shares in detail the reverberations of war, separation, immigration, and family secrets which are as relevant (if not more so) today as when Shapiro was growing up in the 1940s-50s. Hearing her narrate her own life’s journey brings the listener into her home and heart, showing how trauma is experienced and then how it can be processed, moving through and beyond it without forgetting and with forgiving, ultimately leaving the listener with hope.
Linda has been interviewed by Cyrus Webb about her memoir and will soon be discussing her audiobook with him as well!
Praise for the print book/ebook version of She's Not Herself:
“An honest and compelling story by a brave and gifted writer.” – Wally Lamb, NY Times best-selling author of She’s Come Undone, I Know This Much Is True and many other novels. Winner of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill’s Kenneth Johnson Award for the anti-stigmatization of mental illness.
“A story that applies to us all – truthful, carefully crafted, and created with a clear-eyed affection.” – Watts, M.D., poet, writer, musician, NPR commentator
“We identify with the author’s sense of alienation from the first chapter and agonize with her longing for a normal life. SHE’S NOT HERSELF is a revelatory account of someone who grew up with a mentally ill parent and grew up to become an effective, loving mother and a successful professional healer.” – US Review of Books, Barbara Bamburger Scott
“I loved going through the journey of Linda’s life with her throughout the memoir not just because of how easy it was to follow along, but how vivid her memories were. She has such a way with words and storytelling. She hooked me from the very first sentence and let me go reluctantly at the end.” – Mcwood Publishing – Honest Literary Reviews, S.Davis
“. . . a well-crafted and fluid narrative. Good description and dialogue, and enough detail to suffice, but not overburden . . . maintains reader interest throughout. Will certainly resonate with those affected by a family member’s mental illness. However, it also speaks to a wider readership because, at the heart of the story resides the resilience of the human spirit.” – San Fransisco Book Review, Diana Irvine
“A riveting tale wrapped in elegant prose . . . full of hope and perseverance.” – Peggy Sanders, retired journalist, award winning author
You can find the audio version of She's Not Herself on Audible. Print and e-book copies are available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Bookshop.org.
About the Author Linda Appleman Shapiro - in her own words:
The daughter of Russian – Jewish immigrant parents, I was born and raised in the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn, New York and attended Brooklyn’s public schools until I left home to attend college.
On the surface, my life appeared like that of the other children in our neighborhood. Families were all poor, fathers worked, and mothers stayed at home, taking care of their children, cooking, cleaning, and doing all household chores.
As was the custom in the 1940s and 50s, I played outside in the street, seldom visiting friends inside their apartments. I naturally assumed that our family’s “norm” was the norm. Having learned early never to ask questions, I remained in the dark about the larger truth that enveloped our family’s life. I knew only that my mother was often “sick,” but I did not know that all mothers didn’t receive “shock treatments” or that my mother suffered from mental illness.
I loved my mother very much and I was aware of the fact that whenever she became ill I had no way to prevent the days and nights from being colored by – what she called – “the black clouds” – that descended. At such times, my father told me, “Your mama, she’s not herself.” Yet, if she wasn’t herself, then who was she . . . and how were such words ever to help me to understand what I witnessed or what I heard? Instead, I experienced the anxiety and hyper-vigilance that often take root when secrecy and shame surround a family in which any one of its members suffers from a chronic illness.
Throughout the years of my childhood and early teens speaking about illnesses of any kind was simply not done. Cancer, if even mentioned, was referred to as “the Big C,” and mental illness was never discussed with my mother or with our family members. That made us all victims of an ominous unknown.
There was no Oprah or Dr. Phil to educate us. My family didn’t own a television until I was twelve. But, as with all children and adults who are traumatized, my father, brother and I found ways to survive the dark times. For me, denial was a defense I used successfully until the child in me began to identify with the woman, my mother.
I began writing SHE’S NOT HERSELF, a memoir, to tell my story without my psychotherapist’s voice driving the narrative. I wanted it to read as any good novel: bringing the reader into my family’s apartment, allowing you to see our rooms and furnishings, hear our conversations, walk the streets of our neighborhood and, perhaps most importantly, to witness my mother’s many “breakdowns” and to see how each of us coped and didn’t cope in the face of her agony.
I hope you will agree with reviewers who believe that I have not written a ‘woe is me’ story. Rather, I am sharing my life from the perspective of someone who has worked hard to find ways to move through and beyond trauma. My goal in taking secrets out of my family’s closet is to allow you to feel free to identify with me and not feel alone. I will be most gratified if my story helps you find the courage to move forward toward your own places of healing.
As you seek help that is now available to one in every four people who suffers from a mental “dis-ease” in today’s all too chaotic world, you will experience how it is possible to interrupt family dysfunction by merging life’s sweetness with its sorrow, reconciling its meaning with its mystery.
Married to actor and audiobook narrator GEORGE GUIDALL, my husband and I live in Westchester County, New York. We have two adult daughters and two grandchildren.
Connect with Linda online:
Behavioral psychotherapist, oral historian, lecturer, and author, Shapiro earned her B.A. in literature from Bennington College, a Master’s degree in Human Development/Counseling from the Bank Street College of Education, and a Master Certification in Neuro-Linguistic Programming from the New York Institute of N.L.P. She has further certifications in Ericksonian Hypnosis and Substance Abuse/Addictions Counseling.
***** SHE'S NOT HERSELF GIVEAWAY *****
Enter the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win a copy of She's Not Herself by Linda Appleman Shapiro on Audible! Giveaway ends July 9th at 11:59pm CT. Winner will be announced in the Rafflecopter form and we will follow up by email. Good luck!
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