Plot According to Goodreads: To the people of Bend of the River Road, Maggie Barnes is “the Barnes woman with all the problems.” To her family, she is the unpredictable wife, elusive mother, and adored daughter-in-law, and to her maid, Pearl, she is the mistress who must be cared for like a child.
Between the suicidal lows and delirious highs, young Hattie Barnes struggles to find a place in her mother’s heart. She observes her mother’s vain attempts at normalcy, and then watches as she is driven off to the hospital psychiatric ward. Only later will Hattie discover the deep-seated hopes and fears of the woman she loves unconditionally, and her inevitable connection to her family’s past.
My Thoughts: This story is told by Hattie, whose mother has manic depressive disorder, which was later renamed Bipolar Disorder. The reader sees the struggles that a family faces when someone they love has a mental illness. I’ve never really thought about the effects on the children of those who suffer from mental illnesses. This book was sad but hopeful. It was also very interesting to read about the treatment methods that were used in the 1960s (the time period of the book).
What I Liked: Hattie’s feelings really came through and it was very sad to read about her very abnormal home life. Although we never actually heard first hand from Hattie’s mother, we could feel her pain and the struggles she went through. The story was short but it packed a big punch. The story is one that will stick with the reader long after they finish it.
What I didn’t Like: This wasn’t exactly an entertaining story…I had more appreciation for it than pleasure from reading it.
My Rating: 5/5 stars.