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

The Long Journey Home by Margaret Robison
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's review
Feb 24, 2011

it was ok
Read from February 24 to March 04, 2011

A couple of years ago I read Augusten Burroughs's books Running With Scissors, and Dry. Running With Scissors was a book that was both disturbing and haunting. At the conclusion of the memoir, I found myself wondering what kind of family Burroughs had come from and naturally I wanted to know what possessed the boy's mother to deposit him in the home of her clearly unstable psychiatrist. When I saw that Augusten's mother had written her own memoir, I was eager to get my hands on it. After reading Running With Scissors, I didn't have much sympathy for a woman who (whether intentionally or unintentionally) abused her child then left him with her bizarre psychiatrist. But Margaret Robison had her own story to tell; one of pain, loss, and eventually of hope. Even as a young child, Margaret knew that she didn't fit in, and struggled to find a place for herself in the large and frightening world around her. Her family was in shambles, her mother was emotionally absent, and her father passed away when she was a small child. If Margaret's childhood was tumultuous, her adulthood was completely chaotic. She married an abusive man named John who fathered both of her children John Elder and Christopher. Despite John's abusive tendencies, Margaret received very little support from those around her. At some point during her early adulthood she began to experience psychotic episodes and was admitted to several institutions, though none of them seemed to help.

I won't give a complete synopsis of the book, but I will say that it is worth a read. The books stands alone as a memoir and whether her son's books have been read or not makes no difference. The content of the book is powerful and frightening and my only real qualm with it is the way it is organized. There were times while reading it that I felt that the author jumped from one subject or story to the next very quickly and I found myself unsure of what was going on. Margaret's psychotic episodes threw me for a little bit of loop as well, and I wish the author would have explored it a little deeper. I'm still not sure if she continues to have them, and why they began in the first place.

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