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Sunflower Forest

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  1,081 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
Lesley’s Hungarian mother Mara – charming, childlike, lovable – was traumatized by her adolescent Holocaust experiences. Though her American husband and daughters try to live a normal life in Kansas, Mara holds them thrall to her moods and quirks. Lesley struggles to understand, but dealing with Mara is a severe strain which sets her apart from her peers.

When Mara’s psycho
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Mass Market Paperback, 436 pages
Published August 28th 1985 by Avon Books (first published 1984)
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Angela
Jun 29, 2010 rated it it was ok
After reading a couple of Torey Hayden's nonfiction books and absolutely loving them, I picked up this fictional attempt and am now very disappointed.

The story was obviously aimed at a young adult/coming-of-age audience. The story is told through the teenage eyes of Lesley, whose eccentrically-lovable but emotionally unstable mother behaves, well, in an unstable manner. I can't pinpoint exactly what bothered me so much about this book, but my guess is that Hayden, who is so good at taking someon
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Laura Harrelson
Dec 02, 2012 rated it liked it
I thought it was an interesting story about a girl finding out who she is and what she wants in life.
Christie
Sep 01, 2008 rated it it was ok
Big fan of hers but this wasnt my favorite.
Melony Martindale
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I liked this book. It really established the relationship between the characters and then the break down of those relationships. It maintained the confusion and coming into adulthood that all children face at the end of their high school path and beginning of their adult lives. I highly recommend this book.
Mandy Smith
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
10 stars! Loved everything about it.
Louise Marshall
An interesting read although I found it quite disappointing for a Torey Hayden book.
Jolieg G
Mar 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gewoon een "mooi boek" . Een gezin (vader - moeder en twee dochters) waarvan het leven beheerst wordt door de oorlogservaringen van de moeder.
Elk familielid gaat er op een andere manier mee om.
Rachel Brand
This story totally blew me away. I'd read a few disappointed reviews but the synopsis still interested me so I decided to read it anyway, not entirely sure what to expect. Overall verdict? It was wonderful! To begin with, I had the feeling that I'd be annoyed by the narrator, who was a 17-year-old girl only concerned with getting a date. In fact, all of the characters had flaws - but that's what made this book all the more readable. Every part of it was realistic and believable, which made the e ...more
Cristina
May 08, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Se c'è una cosa che questo libro trasmette davvero bene è l'impotenza e l'esasperazione che si prova a trattare con chi ha problemi psichici, anche chi si ama profondamente. E descrive con tragica precisione anche quanto sei lasciato solo, persino da chi dovrebbe difenderti, e come la percezione che gli altri hanno di te cambi quando si scopre che tu, o qualcuno vicino a te, ha questo tipo di problemi. Qui la cosa viene portata all'estremo, ma non credo che sia poi tanto diverso anche in casi me ...more
ReaderSP
Oct 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am a huge fan of Torey Hayden. I have read most of her other books and was happy to hear that she was branching out and trying something new with her writing. Although this book is something very new for Hayden she still writes with the captivating loveliness which fills her books.
This story is set in Kansas in 1978 and follows Lesley O'Malley, a teenager, as she tries to struggle through her complicated life. Lesley lives with her Mother, Mara, a Hungarian WWII Holocaust survivor who slips in
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Noor
Jun 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
I've read most of Torey Hayden's non fiction works and fallen absolutely in love with them; when I saw The Sunflower Forest on the shelf I was excited to see she was trying something new with her writing. Despite the change from reading her usual books to a purely fictional novel, her distinctively captivating tone is found in every page, bringing a sense of familiarity. The novel was set out quite similarly to the way in which her other books are written; if this is her unique writing style, I' ...more
Claudia Sesto
Apr 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"....quello che so è che non amiamo le persone perchè sono perfette. Se fosse così, non ameremmo mai nessuno."
L'amore incondizionato di un marito e delle figlie verso la mamma, la guerra che ha lasciato cicatrici profonde da causare gravi problemi psichici, vediamo come il mondo intorno a loro reagisce alle difficoltà di una famiglia apparentemente normale: sono questi gli elementi portanti di questo bellissimo libro della Hayden che ci catapulta in una piccola grande realtà e ci fa vivere le se
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Thais
May 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Questo libro è un pugno nello stomaco. Nonostante sia un romanzo e non ci siano dunque le storie vere di bambini vittime di abusi che Torey Hayden è così brava a raccontare, la vicenda di Mara O'Malley ha una tragicità molto intensa.
Sua figlia, Lesley, è la narratrice, e ci racconta della sua strana mamma che ha vissuto cose terribili in guerra, cose che tuttora la perseguitano fino a farle perdere il lume della ragione. Impossibile dimenticare un passato così, neppure l'amore può guarire certe
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Sara
Mar 14, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drammatici
E' coinvolgente e la morte di Mara arriva davvero all'improvviso. Solo, il viaggio di Lesley in Galles sembra un po' inutile, molto ben descritto, ma non aggiunge granchè al senso della vicenda. Anche il papà è un po' molle, non prende mai la situazione in mano e lascia che sia la figlia a sbrogliarsela con tutte le sue domande sulla madre mentalmente segnata. Che poi, il figlio perduto? Tutto ruota lì intorno, ma mica si scopre che fine ha fatto.
Oh, quando Lesley ha quella conversazione in tre
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Niina
I bypassed this book a great number of times before I could seriously even consider reading it - for some reason I didn't expect too much out of Hayden's purely fictional texts. At some point I started missing reading her books, and this was the only one I could immediately get my hands into - so I read it. I was sick while doing so, and the slow paced, dream-like story served as a great way to pass time not having to strain ones brain too much. I still don't know what I should say about this re ...more
Carlotta


"La Foresta dei Girasoli", non è sicuramente il libro migliore di questa autrice che normalmente apprezzo molto di piú, ma è scritto in un modo molto scorrevole considerando la complessità descrittiva che implica il raccontare una famiglia disfunzionale. La Hayden, in questo libro, narra lo stile di vita e le emozioni che ruotano intorno a un nucleo famigliare nel quale la madre è affetta da disturbi mentali causati da stress post traumatico dovuto alla seconda guerra mondiale. Descrive i probl
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Roberta
Feb 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
Pubblicazione recente per questo romanzo della Hayden, che è nota soprattutto per i suoi resoconti delle storie più particolari vissute nel suo lavoro come educatrice di bambini e adolescenti "difficili".

La giovane Leslie O'Malley ha ottimi motivi per sembrare molto più matura della sua età: a diciotto anni ha ormai alle spalle una vita a fianco della madre Mara, sopravvissuta agli orrori nazisti della Seconda Guerra Mondiale.
Sempre instabile e imprevedibile, Mara ha reso sempre la vita diffic
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Elisa
May 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ho trovato davvero emozionante questa storia. Cruda, dolorosa, stritolante. Come i girasoli con il sole, io non riuscivo a staccare gli occhi da quelle pagine. Avrei voluto leggere, leggere, leggere...tutto il giorno, sempre. Per conoscere la fine. Per sapere se l'amore sarebbe bastato a tamponare quel dolore silenzioso e perenne di Mara. Per capire che genere di donna sarebbe diventata Lesley, appena maggiorenne, quasi diplomata, troppo responsabile per la sua età. Per scoprire la bellezza del ...more
Michaella
I am a huge fan of Hayden's books having already read several of her non-fiction books about the children she has worked with. When reading Overheard in a Dream I was skeptical as to how much i'd enjoy it knowing it was a work of fiction, but found to enjoy it. The problem with 'The Sunflower Forest' is not that it is also a work of fiction, but that it doesn't focus on children with special needs like Hayden's other novels. At first, this put me off. Saying this, after finally getting into the ...more
Paulette
Jun 09, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I hate that I have to give this 2 star because it really should be a 3 star since I finished it, BUT I really didn't like it. For me it was only okay. Don't let that put you off though if you like books based on WW2 and how it effects the lives of people now. The story was good for those that like that genre...I had read other books based on WW2 times but this one really wasn't me. I kept wanting to put it away and not finish it, but something kept making me read on, even when it gave me nightma ...more
Tracey Jackson
I started reading this book thinking, yes a good choice I will whizz through this in no time, only to find it getting very interesting and then extremely slow. It is not easy to pick it up and read a bit. I find long stretches are needed to keep your interst and follow the story. This is one of a terrible tragedy which befalls the mother during WWII where she was taken from her family against her will, then an innocent 17 year old, to be a 'breeder' for the Nazi's. After a incident takes place s ...more
Lizzie
Oh man. Given to me in a box of books from my dad's colleague, offloading some of her teenage daughter's old books. I was way too young for them, 8 or 9 I think. They were mostly Sweet Valley Highs, and bits of vintage YA from the late 70's and early 80's. (I definitely had a MTI copy of Ice Castles in there.)

This was one of those (with this super creepy cover) and constantly drew me down to the basement to sneak-read it. This seemed necessary because it held me in thrall of its slightly grap
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Eccentrika
Jul 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, drama, psychology
E' un romanzo doloroso...
L'autrice è stata molto brava a ricreare un ambiente famigliare insano e difficile in maniera così veritiere e senza fronzoli. Sembra di vivere in quella famiglia, con i suoi tempi morti, con dialoghi semplici e non sempre indispensabili.. insomma, come un film senza colonna sonora. Proprio come è veramente... la vita.
Molto introspettivo, a tratti lento, ma ugualmente coinvolgente ed ipnotico. Sono state approfondite meno le tematiche della guerra, ma forse proprio per
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Judith Yeabsley
Aug 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
I've read one of her non-fiction and really enjoyed it. As none of those were avavilable at the library I thought I'd try one of her novels. The story is of a teenager who has a mother who has always been odd due to her experiences in WWII. As the novel progresses the true story and it's full impact starts to become known. It's a very chick sort of book and I enjoyed it although it was very dark and the ending didn't improve that feeling. It was engaging and I really wanted to keep reading but I ...more
Janet Burchell
Jan 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Rather depressing, although given the subject matter, hardly surprising. it describes a girls struggle to come terms with tragic events in her family, caused by her mother's mental health problems bought about by the brutalities inflicted on her during WWII.
I was expecting to read more about the mothers experiences really, but it focuses mainly on how the past continues to affect future generations. The daughter tries to understand her mother's actions, by visiting places special to her and gath
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Nina
Mar 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lesley's a teenager living with a younger sister, her dad and her embarrassing and not quite normal mum. As her mum's mental health deteriorates, Lesley is forced to leave school to keep an eye on her.

I found this book quite disturbing especially when disaster stroke. This novel, as all her other psychological work, is not something you read lightly. There're troubles on every page, even if occasional scenes light up the mood a bit. Highly recommend it though.
Mya
Aug 06, 2011 added it
Apparently this isn't the best of her books, but as it's the first I've read, I cannot really comment on that. I'll have to admit I didn't have very high hopes so was eventually pleasantly survived. Her style is very easy to read and there were enough twists and turns to keep me turning the pages. The story never really resolved itself (I don't think it was meant to) which always makes me feel a bit at a loose end, but I did enjoy it and would definitely give this author another try.
Christine
May 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first of her fictional books I have read. Didn't let me down. Not an easy book to read but nothing Torey writes is that easy to read. Her work with abused and traumatised children has given her great insight into the effects of trauma on the psyche. In this book she uses this knowledge to bring understanding to actions that to an outsider seem totally incomprehensible.
Jane Long
Jan 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this book. Love Torey Hayden anyway. They are always a good read. What I like about reading her books is that you can relate to them. You can see the plot happening to you or someone you know. Having known someone who had mental health problems, I certainly know how the main character felt.
Alison Pashley
Sep 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is the first Torey Hayden book I have read but it definitely won't be the last. Was far more intense than I expected, I was gripped from the beginning. Only complaint was that it seemed to finish a bit abruptly! I felt like it finished without Lesley ever coming to terms with who her mother was.
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Victoria Lynn Hayden, known as Torey L. Hayden (born May 21, 1951 in Livingston, Montana) is a child psychologist, special education teacher, university lecturer and writer of non-fiction books based on her real-life experiences with teaching and counselling children with special needs.
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