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Friday, July 22, 2011

Review: In Her Wake by Nancy Rappaport

Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 046501450X
Pages: 320 pages
Genre: Biography/Memoir
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazonclip_image001_thumb_thumb, Powell's, Indiebound clip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb

Summary from publisher:
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 Drawing on court depositions, her mother’s unpublished novel, newspapers, and her own experiences, she highlights heartbreaking stories of a complicated life that played out in the public eye.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.
My Review:

Heatwaves and me don’t get along. At all. The heat is oppressive, the wireless is spotty and there are more bees. Life is never good when there are more bees. I distracted myself by reading this book. Not exactly the cheeriest distraction but a good distraction nonetheless.

I could not put this book down. I wanted to but I couldn’t. Memoirs are a not so guilty pleasure for me. The provide a good break between the romance and YA I am always reading. But it's very rare that I find one that speaks to me as much as this one did. I have not experienced anything similar to Rappaport but I was able to identify with her and admire her and her family’s strength. This was not the happiest book I have ever read but it was inspiring.

I truly admire when writers of memoirs can write about their lives with honesty. I love when there is no glossing over the facts, events and emotions surrounding the, often painful, events of their lives. It takes a fair amount of courage to be able to write about painful events much less to do it accurately and without pretension.Rappaport does it with such honesty and earnestness. I also love that no corners were cut in the storytelling and nothing was glossed over.

This is definitely on my “Memoirs to Recommend” list.


*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.


  1. Thank you so much for taking the time in this heat to provide such an enthusiastic read.
    You lift my spirits on this muggy Friday afternoon.
    Sincerely, Nancy

  2. Have been following the tour and hope to read In Her Wake soon.

    Found it inspiring that Nancy's children encouraged her in taking up the research.

  3. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one and that it took you away from the heat wave for a while - we've been melting at my house too!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  4. Thank you Liz that you found it inspiring that I shared some about my kids about my loss. It is always complicated about what you share about your family and authors have lots of internal dialogues and negotiations with their family members (clue check out the last chapter, lunch with my dad..). Because the book took me so long to write (18 years) it was challenging to figure out how to convey these growing children and my relationship to them, you can't have your oldest daughter standing in the crib and the next chapter getting her license.
    What was super fascinating is when my oldest daughter read my memoir she brought to life the idea of "ghosts in the nursery" because even though I had not talked about some of the conflict I grew up with my daughter knew by osmosis without me saying anything some of my deepest fears.
    Nancy Rappaport (author of In Her Wake)



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