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Invisible Sisters by Handler Jessica

Invisible Sisters

by Handler Jessica

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6126194,696 (3.21)2
Title:Invisible Sisters
Authors:Handler Jessica
Info:PublicAffairs (no date), Hardcover, 272 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:@requested: early reviewers, @wishlist: to read

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Invisible Sisters by Jessica Handler



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Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
Having just read a host of memoirs about loss, grief, illness, strong mothers, tormented fathers who fall apart during hard times and excruciating circumstances Invisible Sisters stands out as being one of the best. Jessica Handler's memoir about the death of her two sisters, and the disintegration of her family, especially her father is searing and honest and matter-of-fact and I inhaled this book over the course of a day.

Like many families the Handlers did not talk about the death of their daughter, Susie who died at age 8 from Leukemia. Since the time that Susie was diagnosed her parents managed this life-altering fact in opposite ways and after her death her "parents began the slow and terrible turning away from one another that erodes families facing the death of a child." Very soon after her father mentally and psychically fell apart and the family that Jessica knew was gone. For Jessica, the "well" daughter, there was expectations to meet and hopes to fulfill, conflicts to mediate between parents and the need to protect; her other sister, her mother and mostly herself. Lost, without much support she left home early, bereft and alone with death as her companion.

I understand all of this. As someone who grew up with the specter of death shadowing my family there is no way out of it terrorizing you. So you can tentatively try to make friends with it, you can accept that you will be frighted and sickened and devastated by fear, be immobilized by it, live life as fully as possible, forget about it and do all of this at once. This is what I treasure about Jessica's smart and gracious book. She comes to know this and as she worked to save herself, with the support and love of her mother, husband and community of people around her, she hands herself back a life full of meaning and peace.

Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to review this book for an honest opinion. ( )
  Karen59 | Sep 19, 2015 |
What the loss of a woman's two sisters does to her family and to her own childhood. Wish I could put my finger on what is missing here, but something I wish this book had is more from or about the mother and the other sister who made it to adulthood before dying. ( )
  olevia | Apr 5, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I've started this book several times - I haven't finished it yet, not because it isn't good - it is very good so far - but I have to be in a certain mindset - it is not depressing - but sobering. Easier for me to read it on a warm summer day, not on a grey, winter one.
  mlschmidt | Jan 22, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A very sweet memoir. The love Jessica Handler feels for her sisters is very evident and her guilt over being the "well" sister is compelling. ( )
  leaseylease | Jul 29, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received this book from the Early Reviewer program and have been looking forward to finding time to read it. I will admit to being concerned about the "cry factor" the book presents since it's clear from the book's jacket that the author loses both of her younger sisters. As the oldest sister in my family, you can see how I was concerned.

That said, the author's story did not make me cry. Instead, it made me marvel at her strength. It impressed me how well she was able to share her sisters' too brief lives with the world in order to ensure that they are cared about and remembered for all time. She brings you into her family life and lets you see, in black and white (literally and figuratively), exactly how life was. Things seemed unclouded by the passing of so much time and I appreciated that the author never became maudlin in her writing, which could easily have happened with such a story.

If you enjoyed Jeannette Walls' The Glass Castle or Mary Karr's The Liar's Club, then this memoir should be added to your reading list as well. ( )
  Mykirulz | Jul 23, 2009 |
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Portrays the immense emotional toll that two daughters' illnesses take on a family living in Atlanta. Of the Handlers' three daughters, two developed fatal, rare bone-marrow disorders: Susie was diagnosed with leukemia when she was six and died two years later; Sarah, the youngest, suffered from Kostmann's syndrome, and died at age 27, in 1992. Haunted by these deaths, the author, the so-called well sibling, revisits her conflicted childhood, when her father, a crusading civil rights lawyer from Harrisburg, Pa., and her kind, smart mother from Boston, were happy and still looking toward the future. The family's move to Atlanta in 1965 allowed the father to support labor unions, and Handler, as the oldest, was alerted to the importance of demonstrations and even taken to the funeral of Martin Luther King. However, with Susie's diagnosis (compounding the worry over Sarah's chronic sickliness), the parents began the slow and terrible turning away from one another that erodes families facing the death of a child. In the last part of this affecting memoir, Handler struggles in her young adulthood to find her own way. "Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.… (more)

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Jessica Handler is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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Jessica Handler chatted with LibraryThing members from Oct 12, 2009 to Oct 23, 2009. Read the chat.

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An edition of this book was published by PublicAffairs.

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