The Good Sister

good sisterDrusilla Campbell is the author of The Good Sister and six other titles before her death last year. It’s the first book written by her that I’ve read. The author said in her acknowledgements, “Many women shared with me their deeply personal experiences of motherhood and depression. Your trust and honesty moved me deeply. My heart goes out to the millions of mothers who for centuries have suffered the graduations of postpartum depression alone, misunderstood, and often condemned.”

The Good Sisters covers the stories of five generations of mothers, daughters and sisters stories. The book focuses on postpartum depression of one mother in particular. The Mayo Clinic defines postpartum depression as:

“Postpartum depression may appear to be the baby blues at first — but the signs and symptoms are more intense and longer lasting, eventually interfering with your ability to care for your baby and handle other daily tasks. Postpartum depression symptoms may include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Intense irritability and anger
  • Overwhelming fatigue
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Lack of joy in life
  • Feelings of shame, guilt or inadequacy
  • Severe mood swings
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby

Untreated, postpartum depression may last for many months or longer.”

Campbell doesn’t tell the Roxanne and Simone Duran stories in a clinical way. The story begins with the present day circumstances of the sister’s lives, and weaves the back stories of what happened  to cause the girls to grow up entrenched in neuroses that inhibit each one from living a full and enriched life.

A blurb from Amazon – “Roxanne Callahan has always been her younger sister’s caretaker. Now married, her happiness is threatened when beautiful and emotionally unstable Simone, suffering from crippling postpartum depression, commits an unforgivable crime for which Roxanne comes to believe she is partially responsible. In the glare of national media attention brought on her sister, Roxanne fights to hold her marriage together as she is drawn back into the pain of her troubled past and relives the fraught relationship she and Simone shared with their narcissistic mother. At the same time, only she can help Simone’s nine year old daughter, Merell, make sense of the family’s tragedy. Cathartic, lyrical, and unflinchingly honest, THE GOOD SISTER is a novel of four generations of women struggling to overcome a legacy of violence, lies and secrecy, ultimately finding strength and courage in their love for each other.”

I was slightly depressed while reading the book. I thought of so many families who suffer because of dysfunction for one reason or another. Wikipedia gives the definition as, “A dysfunctional family is a family in which conflict, misbehavior, and often child neglect or abuse on the part of individual parents occur continually and regularly, leading other members to accommodate such actions. Children sometimes grow up in such families with the understanding that such an arrangement is normal.” I find that one or both parents refuse counseling that could help change and correct behaviors, attitudes and habits to help all members of a family to lead healthier, happier lives.

4 thoughts on “The Good Sister

      • My other grandmother’s name is Doris. Lovely names, Dori and Drew would be the current equivalents. Your grandmas names have returned again in popularity. 🙂
        Yes, I have been flat out, working full time plus, plus, plus!! Really missing writing and reading…just a bit longer and season winds down. Lovely to chat with you and will do more of in the autumn! Take are Meredith. Xx

        Liked by 1 person

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