Songs of Three Islands: A Story of Mental Illness in an Iconic American Family
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Songs of Three Islands: A Story of Mental Illness in an Iconic American Family

3.2 of 5 stars 3.20  ·  rating details  ·  44 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Their fabled wealth enabled them to amass great houses and even private islands, but it was a dynasty torn apart by a succession of tragedies: suicide, alcoholism, and extremities of mental illness were passed on from generation to generation.

For the women in the family, the consequences of this legacy have been painful. After a difficult childhood, the author’s daughter w...more
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Published June 22nd 2010 by Atlas (first published May 5th 2009)
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I bought this book to sell and ended up reading it. There may be spoilers but it is biographical so here it goes: It is written by the great-grand niece of Andrew Carnegie, who was in business with her great-grandfather, Thomas Carnegie. Monks chronicles the first awareness of mental illness in her family that started with her grandmother who spent time at McLean hospital, famous for its wealthy and note-worthy patients. Set first on the island of Cumberland, off the coast of Florida, the author...more
Songs of Three Islands was criticized on because Millicent Monks didn't portray her daughter in a positive light.

Yet I found the book to be an illuminating memoir that is revealing in its transparency.

Millicent Monks has a daughter with borderline personality disorder and the author pulls no punches in detailing the harrowing nature of this mental illness.

The link is to tell readers that no one escapes the cruel blow of mental illness: not the rich nor the poor not the black nor the w...more
The rich are different -- of course they have more money, but often they are even crazier. This is another memoir of money and mental illness. Of course her father had numerous affairs which brought on her fragile mother's sharp decline. The author does not overwhelm the narrative with her family connection to the Carnegies and Rockefellers, but the reader is well aware of it. Monks tells a touching and honest story of her search for stability in spite of some unfortunate inheritances. Readable,...more
Mar 16, 2011 Wendy rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who'd like to learn about borderline personality disorder
Shelves: biography
This is an interesting book about a branch of the Carnegie family, and how they have dealt with mental illness. The author's mother was probably manic-depressive, the author has classic depression/anxiety (triggered by a difficult childhood and enormous stress) and the author's daughter has borderline personality disorder, which is horrifying. I don't think it would be possible to "really like" or "love" this book, because it is so sobering. But I thought it was really captivating, and I learned...more
Tracey Marion
A memoir of Borderline Personality Disorder that spans three generations of a family. I related a lot to the author's early descriptions of her feelings, only to discover she doesn't seem to think she's Borderline at all, though she talks a lot about the illness in her mother and daughter. She has strange beliefs about psychic-ness and meditation and talks far too much about details of her family acquiring property and geographical details of places.
Interesting but strange book. I do cheer her for putting mental illness out there - it should be talked about more and we should all be more understanding of people suffering its affects - and the families of those people. She raises the issue of nature or nurture - and in the end feels it is far more nature than it is nurture.
Hmm, this was a difficult book to get into. I found the way the author jumps around quite distracting. I myself am quite spiritual, but to me it was just a bit too fanciful, not what I expected. Not overly impressed.
My sister met the author through her work. It was an interesting read that followed several generations of the Carnegie family and their struggles with mental health issues.
Interesting book gives a peak inside not only a wealthy family, but one with dirty secrets. First half much better than later half.
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Songs of Three Islands: A Memoir. Millicent Monks Songs of Three Islands: A Memoir of Motherhood and Mental Illness in an Iconic American Family

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