- Title: Ghellow Road
- Publisher: Verefor Publishing Company LLC (October 14, 2010)
- Published: April 6, 2011
- ISBN-10: 0982893116
- ISBN-13: 978-0982893111
For a synopsis, please click here.
For an excerpt, please visit Verefor Publishing Company, LLC.
This a true story about how mental illness affects not just the patient, but the whole family. Spanning approximately 10 years of Theresa’s life, the reader gets a glimpse into her family and how she experienced them. Being the youngest of 2, Theresa (lovingly nicknamed “Twink” by dad and “Ther” by friends), brings the reader through her early childhood and teen years. The book is written in two parts: “Living in the Shadow of the Invisibles” and “Fumbling Through the Tangled Labyrinth”. With no chapters to designate a beginning and end, it is quite symbolic to the chaos and constant changes she lives through. Theresa bravely uncovers many deep hidden secrets and family dynamics that even her extended family and closest friends were not privy to. With one of her earliest recollections of her mother talking to the “Invisibles”, and seeing a disturbing message written on the bedroom window, it becomes one of many psychotic episodes her mother experiences. Without truly understanding what is happening, 8 year old Theresa simply sees her mother home one day, gone the next, and with her grandmother coming to care for her and her older brother, Mikie. While not much background is given on Theresa’s father, it is clear that despite the loneliness and isolation he experiences, the depths of despair are much deeper and his sense of hopelessness is far greater than his capacity to cope and recover. Mikie is the lost child, who eventually leaves home without truly addressing the issues he has with his mother and father. This is a story that goes beyond having a schizophrenic mother and focuses on the children who are forced to figure out what what is going on, family dynamics, and relationships lost.
Writing this book, Theresa is able to let go of those “Invisibles” that truly permeated every part of her life and family home. It is about her finding her voice, trying to make sense of the choices her family makes, and learning to find that “twinkle” in her future and relationships. Her father had given her a Polaroid camera with a note attached, “so that you will always remember…” (p.94). I have a feeling that her father would be proud of Theresa knowing that she did remember to capture some of those heartfelt and happy moments that can often be lost when mental illness lives in your home.
I would suggest this book to those who work in the mental health profession, those who have been impacted by someone with a mental illness, and those who enjoy reading memoirs. While there are dark moments in this book, the strong and resilient child perseveres and finds hope and meaning in her own life.
What I liked: reading how mental illness affects the family through a child’ s perspective, the sweet memories with her father, the connections she makes with friends and others
What I would have liked: background on father (did he have a mental illness?), relationship between Mikie and Theresa developed, a little more information on what happened to Mikie, the relationship between mom and Theresa-what happened after high school?, did the family receive counseling after the tragic incident in the beginning of the book? , relationship between Theresa and Grandmother (Dad’s mom)…what happened to her?
Style of Writing: 4/5
Pace of Story: 3/5
Character Development: 3/5
Christian Perspective: 0/5
Spiritual Connection: 1/5
Emotional Connection: 4/5