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City of One: A Memoir
In the literature of childhood loss and adult redemption City of One stands as a remarkable and powerful addition. The memoir by Francine Cournos, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University, is an eloquent, clear-eyed look at the death of both her parents by the time she was eleven. Temporarily taken in by her mother's family, Cournos and her younger sister ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published July 1st 2000 by Plume
(first published May 1st 1999)
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This is a sad story of a child losing all of the adults in her life by early adolescence (first her parents each die, then her mother's family abandons her and her sister to foster care). There is a lot of good advice on how (and how not to) approach a child's grief upon losing a parent. The author, now a psychiatrist, is very insightful on the extra challenges a teenager faces in entering foster care -- forced into new attachments at the very stage where a teen typically begins to separate. The ...more
Another memoir that needed a ghostwriter to make the narrative flow better. This woman became a doctor, a psychiatrist, and examined her childhood traumas. Her dad left (died?) when she was young then her mother was sick for years before dying when she was 13. They had already sent her brother away so she and her younger sister first went to live with an aunt and then were turned over to a Jewish foster care agency. She would mention patients she saw to illustrate how she was processing her deta ...more
Dec 17, 2016 Marika Alexander rated it really liked it · review of another edition
She was orphaned by 11 and given to a foster family a few years later, despite having aunts and uncles who chose not to take her in. She was one of the "lucky" foster kids, in that her new family was loving and stable, she excelled at school and became a doctor and then an analyst. Her journey from bereft orphan to beloved wife/mother/colleague is inspiring and educational. She seeks to explain the special pain and feelings kids feel when they lose parent(s) to death during their childhoods. A m ...more
Francine Cournos gives us a memoir of the lasting impact of losing parents at a young age. Unsparing, she details how, after her mother’s death from metastatic breast cancer, her aunts and uncles were unable to care for Cournos and her sister, so they placed her in foster care. This memoir is all the more powerful because Cournos is a renowned psychiatrist, and she is able to add information from research and prevalent psychotherapy beliefs.