Clea Simon, the daughter and third child of a Long Island doctor and his artist wife, grew up in the shadow of two older siblings who suffered from mental illness. Her brother eventually committed suicide, her sister was in and out of institutions and eventually hid from the family. Simon describes the tremendous pressures on her as "the normal one," how the strange dynamics of her family affected her too, even as she made it to and through her father's alma mater of Harvard, and developed a career as a rock critic and free-lance writer. She also interviewed many individuals who grew up in similar circumstances and surveys the scanty research about families as a whole and the effects of mentally ill people upon their siblings. This is a brave and thoughtful book.
This report prepared by David Loftus