Today’s featured book is All the Best People, by Sonja Yoerg, an intricately crafted story of madness, magic and misfortune across three generations from the author of The Middle of Somewhere and House Broken…
Intro: (Carole – August 1972)
Carole was ten when her mother was committed to Underhill State Hospital. For a rest, her father had said. By the time Carole was old enough to understand that the truth lay elsewhere, beyond her grasp, her mother had received insulin coma treatment for hysteria, colonics for depression and electroshock just because, and Carole gave up wondering how her mother had lost control of her mind and simply coped with the fact that she had. Recently, Carole overheard the nurses say Solange Gifford was haunted, and although Carole did not, strictly speaking, believe in ghosts, it was as fitting a diagnosis as any.
Teaser: Carole lay listening to the rain, weary but not sleepy. Her thoughts were glass shards. She pulled the coverlet to her neck despite the heat and tried to link up her thinking with Walt’s snoring, steady as the rain. Perhaps she dozed (p. 56).
Synopsis: Vermont, 1972. Carole LaPorte has a satisfying, ordinary life. She cares for her children, balances the books for the family’s auto shop and laughs when her husband slow dances her across the kitchen floor. Her tragic childhood might have happened to someone else.
But now her mind is playing tricks on her. The accounts won’t reconcile and the murmuring she hears isn’t the television. She ought to seek help, but she’s terrified of being locked away in a mental hospital like her mother, Solange. So Carole hides her symptoms, withdraws from her family and unwittingly sets her eleven-year-old daughter Alison on a desperate search for meaning and power: in Tarot cards, in omens from a nearby river and in a mysterious blue glass box belonging to her grandmother.
An exploration of the power of courage and love to overcome a damning legacy, All the Best People celebrates the search for identity and grace in the most ordinary lives.
What do you think? I am fascinated with books about mental illness. Would you keep reading?