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Half in Love

Surviving the Legacy of a Suicide: A Memoir

List Price: $15.95

January 10, 2012 | Paperback | 6 x 9, 336 Pages | ISBN 9781582437996
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“This book looks into the workings of the suicidal mind in a way that isn’t easily forgotten, raising provocative questions about how we approach and treat the severely mentally ill.” —New York Times Book Review

After the agony of witnessing her mother’s multiple—and ultimately successful—suicide attempts, Linda Gray Sexton, daughter of the acclaimed poet Anne Sexton, struggles with an engulfing undertow of depression. Here, with powerful, unsparing prose, Sexton conveys her urgent need to escape the legacy of suicide that consumed her family—a topic rarely explored, even today, in such poignant depth.

Linda Gray Sexton tries multiple times to kill herself—even though as a daughter, sister, wife, and most importantly, a mother, she knows the pain her act would cause. But unlike her mother’s story, Linda’s is ultimately one of triumph. Through the help of family, therapy, and medicine, she confronts deep-seated issues and curbs the haunting cycle of suicide she once seemed destined to inherit.

LINDA GRAY SEXTON is the daughter of Pulitzer Prize winning poet Anne Sexton. She has written four novels, and her first memoir, Searching for Mercy Street, was published to widespread acclaim. She lives in California.

Praise

“This book looks into the workings of the suicidal mind in a way that isn’t easily forgotten, raising provocative questions about how we approach and treat the severely mentally ill.” —New York Times Book Review

“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 is a valuable examination of a dark and complicated subject.” —Publishers Weekly Starred Review

“In her new memoir, Linda Sexton completes the circle opened up with her stunning memoir, Searching for Mercy Street—but this time, the woman whose torment she explores is not her mother, but herself, and where her mother’s story ended with despair, hers is one of survival. With brutal honesty and total lack of self-pity or sentimentality, Linda Sexton has dared to explore a subject more taboo than almost any other: not only suicide, but what comes after, for its survivors. This is a book that will speak to anyone touched by the suicide of someone we knew or loved—as so many of us have been.” —Joyce Maynard, author of At Home in the World and To Die For

Half in Love is a gripping account of the legacy left by a mother’s suicide and an eloquent testament to a daughter’s struggle to wrench herself free of the damage left in the wake of turmoil. Linda Sexton’s determination to forge an identity independent of suicide and destruction is powerful; her book is a vivid and inspiring story of living through despair and coming out the stronger for it.” —Kay Redfield Jamison, author of An Unquiet Mind and Nothing Was the Same

“Linda Sexton is one hell of a brave writer. In her memoir, she takes us on a harrowing journey, to the edge of death and then beyond, to a new, safe place. She’s now able to tell her story about the entanglement with her mother’s legacy—‘half in love with easeful death.’ It’s a story that will reach deep into many readers’ hearts. She makes the telling of this tale an act of grace, of art, of redemption.” —Ellen Sussman, author of On a Night Like This and French Lessons

“This is an exquisitely crafted story that needs to be told: how depression and suicide can be passed down through the generations. The most loving, committed mother can suffer such intense pain that all reason is blacked out and death seems the only answer. Linda Sexton is unsparing in her honesty and unfailing in her eloquence as she takes us from the descent to hell to the miracle of recovery. After a siege of courting death, she comes to fall wholly in love with life.” —Sara Davidson, author of Leap! and Loose Change

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