The Memory Palace
Free Press 2011
Norma Herr was a vibrant piano protege until she was struck down with schizophrenia at the age of nineteen. She loved her daughters and raised them well until her mental illness struck. She was concerned less and less with her piano and became obsecessed with the Nazis and the fear her daughters would be raped, kidnapped or murdered.
When her daughters left for college, the harassment escalated to where she would show up at their apartment or jobs. She even threatened suicide if they did not return home. The situation worsened to the point they both changed their names and moved away so their mother did not know where they were.
In a traumatic accident, Mira's life is changed forever. In an attempt to find herself again, Mira visits a homeless shelter to try and find her mother and discovers she is ill. Both girls travel to Cleveland for a reconciliation with their mother.
This book is not just a memoir of living with a schizophrenic mother. It is a story of two young girls living in an extremely dysfunctional family. Not only did they have to survive the ordeal with their mother; they lived with an alcoholic, abusive grandfather. If that is not bad enough, their grandmother develops Alzheimers and is left for the mother to take care of her.
This story shows the true meaning of love, truth and the capacity for forgiveness in the family. Both women show extreme courage in the face of adversity and dealing with their mother in their own individual ways. There is no right or wrong to this story; but I have to admit I had to be very careful about judging these women when I never walked in their shoes. Most of us will never have to experience a third of what they dealt with.
This video will give you some insight into the author and where she was coming from when she wrote the book. This is a very inspiring story and well worth your time to read.
I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.