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Shadow Daughter: A Memoir of Estrangement
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Shadow Daughter: A Memoir of Estrangement

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  62 ratings  ·  18 reviews
A riveting, provocative, and ultimately hopeful exploration of mother-daughter estrangement, woven with research and anecdotes, from an award-winning journalist.

The day of her mother's funeral, Harriet Brown was five thousand miles away. To say that Harriet and her mother had a difficult relationship is a wild understatement; the older Harriet grew, the more estranged they
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published November 6th 2018 by Da Capo Press
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4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  62 ratings  ·  18 reviews

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Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Harriet Brown’s Shadow Daughter: A Memoir of Estrangement is more than her own memoir. Brown shares her own story of being estranged from her mother in bits and pieces, surrounded by personal stories from a variety of people (some estranged by choice, others not), as well as research into the psychology and social impact of being estranged from family—why it happens, how it feels, and more.

This format works really, really well. This is a tough topic because of intense “family first” social norms
Ramona Mead
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book resonated with every cell in my body. If you have never experienced or considered family estrangement, much of what the author has to say may be difficult to understand. The research Brown has done, along with other studies she cites throughout the book, is enlightening and comforting to those of us who come from families dealing with estrangement.

Brown shares the story of her own estrangement from her mother with honesty and grace. I can only imagine how painful yet cathartic it was
Oct 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoirs, psychology
Family estrangement is an interesting topic, but remind me never to read another book on it by an author who is obsessed with her own estrangement issues. “Obsessed” is not too strong a word, either, in my opinion. By the time I reached the final chapter, I did not want to ever read another word about Harriet Brown’s mommy issues. She even brings up the Holocaust in the next to the last chapter, while stating: “I’m not advocating for comparing family conflicts to genocide, of course.” And I’m no ...more
Pamela Reilly
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A nonfiction description of the experience of estrangement with a touch of poetry. Harriet Brown writes beautifully combining her experience with others' to illuminate this difficult problem. Her story is described with heartbreaking specificity but will lead you past the heartbreak to look at the problem as many people experience it and potential ways to live with it. She is definitely not suggesting a one-size-fits-all answer - Brown treats this timely topic with appropriate delicacy and forti ...more
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Sad, and a bit heartbreaking. Cried because it hits close to home.
Thanks to author,publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book. While I got the book for free,it had no bearing on the rating I gave it
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Harriet Brown admits she led a pretty good childhood; she was not physically abused (much), she had food and clothing, hers was not a broken home. But her mother was emotionally abusive, tearing Harriet down constantly. No one could praise Harriet without her mother cutting in, and telling them they didn’t know Harriet like she did, that Harriet was in fact a horrible child, self-centered and selfish. Harriet got out of the house as soon as she could, at 16, but it was hard to overcome the drive ...more
Linda Edmonds cerullo
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An honest and painful memoir of a woman who endured a strained relationship with her mother for years before finally, in an attempt to preserve her emotional and mental health, became estranged from her. While I've read some reviews of "Shadow Daughter" that were critical of Harriet Brown, it is clear that her estrangement with her mother was not done without thought. As with many cases like this, it is not a single moment that causes the rift, but a multitude of difficulties through many years ...more
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is especially timely for me, and I read it with a lot of interest about how others have dealt with estrangement from their "loved one(s)," and some of the hows and whys and what happened to them. I have a lot of thoughts about this book, and how honest the author was about her own thoughts on the subject and the dealings with her mother and father and sister and extended family, as well as the experience of others who have experienced this.

There's no real happy ending, but I was sort
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Harriet Brown is one of the millions of people who grapple with familial estrangement. In this book, she gives compelling credence to the fact that estrangement is sometimes the healthiest option. Witness the cruel, narcissistic parents who can't see their child as a separate human being- they look upon said child as an extension of themself.
Of course, there are always two sides to the causes of estrangement. Perhaps the adult child is spoiled, ungrateful, etc,. Nonetheless, estrangements are a
Ellen Murland
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shadow Daughter is a fascinating and riveting look at the issue of familial estrangement.The author’s own story of estrangement is interwoven amongst the many stories of her interviewees. This book describes the many forms that estrangement can take, its costs as well as its payoffs. It is ultimately a book about love, heartbreak and the resilience of the human spirit. Whether or not the issue of estrangement is something you have grappled with personally, this book has something to teach us all ...more
Janilyn Kocher
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shadow Daughter is about estrangement from family. The author reveals her story throughout the chapters as well as others she interviewed. Brown eventually had to walk away from both her parents because a relationship was too stressful. Eventually her mother dies and she rebuilds a different relationship,with her father. It's a sad subject, but sometimes a person has to walk away in order to protect herself. Anyone who has doubts about cutting ties and reads this book will find the permission th ...more
Audra Gayle
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
I picked this book up because of a conversation with a friend whose family is toxic. Is the answer to walk away? My friend's still unsure what to do. And Brown really explores all the reasons adult children decide to be estranged from their families. This book blew me away. Brown turned over every rock and does so with such honesty that it stopped me in my tracks.
Zhuo Zhang
After reading "Brave Girl Eating", I started to pay attention to the books written by this author. This book is a little heartbreaking because almost eight out of nine chapters, the author was narrating the the estrangement with abundant examples. Yes, she did a lot of research writing this book, but I am a little lost in the point that the author tries to make.
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
Not exactly a memoir, more of an essay. The narrative is broken and repetitive. I wish it was more like Mary Karr’s Liars Club style, not so much a constant citation of studies and different cases of estrangement.
Dec 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
While I felt the book relied too heavily on one particular source in its analysis, the author's own story was compelling and I identified with a lot she had to say. I am going to have to read her chapter on forgiveness again. It's given me a lot to think about.
Deanne Ruedemann
Feb 14, 2019 rated it liked it
I was hoping for a more personal memoir but it reads like a greatly researched article about estrangement between adult children and parents. The author is a very good writer and I felt sadness about her estranged relationship with her own mother. I just didn’t enjoy reading it.
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
all I can bring myself to say abt this book is: big mood lol
Anna Joyce
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Feb 24, 2019
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Dec 31, 2018
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Jan 16, 2019
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Dec 13, 2018
Chelsea Grieve
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Dec 29, 2018
Deborah Jacobs
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Mar 22, 2019
Athena Currier
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Feb 20, 2019
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Feb 15, 2019
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Jan 13, 2019
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Nov 22, 2018
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Feb 08, 2019
Karin Hedlund
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Feb 10, 2019
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