My Mother, Munchausen’s, and Me

As a high school teacher, I have seen quite a few cases of parents with Munchausen’s, so this story hits a little personally for me.

Thank you Thread for the gifted ebook in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: There was a time when I loved my mother. It’s shocking to imply that I stopped loving my mum because mothers always love their children and always do their best for them. Mothers are supposed to be good. But my mother wasn’t good. Ten years ago, Helen Naylor discovered her mother, Elinor, had been faking debilitating illnesses for thirty years. After Elinor’s self-induced death, Helen found her diaries, which Elinor wrote daily for over fifty years. The diaries reveal not only the inner workings of Elinor’s twisted mind and self-delusion, but also shocking revelations about Helen’s childhood. Everything Helen knew about herself and her upbringing was founded on a lie. The unexplained accidents and days spent entirely on her own as a little girl, imagining herself climbing into the loft and disappearing into a different world, tell a story of neglect. As a teenager, her mother’s advice to Helen on her body and mental health speaks of dangerous manipulation. With Elinor’s behaviour becoming increasingly destructive, and Helen now herself a mother, she was left with a stark choice: to collude with Elinor’s lies or be accused of abandoning her.

This is a tough read – it’s emotional and eye opening at the same time. I do have a hard time rating memoir’s because who am I to judge their life experiences? It was well written, but I do feel it was more one-sided than it needed to be. I’d love to hear more about what the mother went through during her later years in life. While I agree that a memoir is to be more one-sided, the author did come across as wanting more self-pity from her life. I think that was a given considering the situation, but would love to have more insight from others in her life on what everyone went through during this lifetime experience.

3/5 Stars

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