I always find it really hard to rate a book that talks so openly about the struggles that the author has lived with, yet that I didn't consider particularly well written. In this case the award winning writer, Pete Earley was involved, so there really wasn't any excuse for this being so slow to get going.
The early stages of the book were far too much back-story of parents, grandparents and even great-grandparents. It didn't keep my interest and I couldn't remember them all anyway. I would have preferred a family tree, possibly accompanied by a list with a little more detail, something that could be referred back to. (And at the FRONT of the book, not the back, where Kindle readers only find it when they finish reading!)
After the first quarter, the book began to improve; there started to be mention of the mental illness that I had read the book to learn about. I appreciate that Jesse Close did not get a diagnosis until she was in her fifties, so I understand the lack of explanation at that time in her story, but it was a bit alienating for me, as a reader.
My real involvement with the book began when her son, Calen started to show symptoms of mental illness and Jesse realised how his behaviour mirrored her own.
Jesse's childhood spent with a nanny, so her parents could dedicate all their time to a religious cult, was heartbreaking. She and her siblings had to live with the fact that they were second in importance for their own parents. Even once Dr and Mrs Close had broken away from the cult, her father was still a distant figure in her life, always putting his patients before his family. Although they spent a lot of their time apart, the siblings supported one another and became very close.
The main reason for the publication of the book is to publicise the issue of mental health and to attempt to reduce the stigma attached to the condition. To this end, Jesse and her family, including actress Glenn Close, have done a marvelous job of presenting their story from the heart. Although I could not rate the book as highly as I would have liked, I wish them all the best in their fight for recognition of the disease and acceptance of those who suffer from it as valid human beings.