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In Her Wake: A Child Psychiatrist Explores the Mystery of Her Mother's Suicide
Title: In Her Wake: A Child Psychiatrist Explores the Mystery of Her Mother's Suicide
Author: Nancy Rappaport
In a fearless memoir of loss and grief, Nancy Rappaport delves into a complex family history haunted by the 1963 death of her mother from an overdose when the author was only four. Using her mother’s words from newspaper clippings, notes, and a novel she was writing at the time of her death, Rappaport reconstructs a vivacious and deeply troubled wife and mother. Yet in pushing through her parents’ turbulent marriage and troubled family history, she weaves a stunning narrative of perspective, profound sadness and unrelenting hope.
In 1963, Nancy Rappaport’s mother committed suicide after a bitter divorce and custody battle. Nancy was four years old. As one of eleven children in a prominent Boston family, Nancy struggled to come to terms with the reasons why her mother took her own life. After years spent interviewing family and friends, Rappaport uncovers the story of a conflicted and troubled activist, socialite, and community leader. Drawing on court depositions, her mother’s unpublished novel, newspapers, and her own experiences, she highlights heartbreaking stories of a complicated life that played out in the public eye. Inspiring, honest, and engaging, Rappaport’s story sheds light on the agonizing nature of loss and healing, and reveals the permeable boundaries between therapists and the patients they treat.