Beth's Reviews > The Long Journey Home: A Memoir

The Long Journey Home by Margaret Robison
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May 06, 11

Read from April 17 to May 06, 2011 — I own a copy, read count: 1

Margaret Robison’s memoir, "A Long Journey Home", was a journey to read. Much of her writing was disjointed and, at times, hard to follow. She rambled on, obsessing over minute details that lacked substance. For any novelist, there is a fine balance between giving too much detail and not giving enough. Robison erred on the side of too much information. Sometimes her writing was calm and clear, but most of the time it jumped erratically from thought to thought.

The thing that made this novel hard to read, was the fact that Ms. Robison failed to adequately portray, “her side of the story”. As it reads, I found myself asking, “what about your kids”. As a teen, her son, Chris, appeared to be all but forgotten. Neither of the kids had a stable parent. Yet Robison does not take responsibility for how she negatively affected her children. There is no remorse and no apology. Robison notes over and over how her memory was affected by her psychosis, and later her stroke, but she insists that her sons’ novels were lies. Maybe they were, maybe they were not, the author does not provide any concrete information that contradicts her sons' statements.

Margaret Robison made a bold attempt to help readers understand what it is like to be mentally ill. We see how frightening and difficult it can be to the individual sufferer, as well as to those around her. There is little doubt how terrible it must feel to see things that are not there, etc. Unfortunately, the novel did not have the author’s desired effect, which was to redeem herself in the face of her sons conflicting views. In fact, she looked very self absorbed. Had this been a work of fiction, regardless of her haphazard writing, it may have worked. Regrettably, it was not.
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