- File Size: 1020 KB
- Print Length: 331 pages
- Publisher: Mariner Books; 1 edition (June 23, 2009)
- Publication Date: November 1, 2017
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B003URRT0E
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #690,862 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Digital List Price:||$16.99|
|Print List Price:||$16.99|
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The Suicide Index: Putting My Father's Death in Order Kindle Edition
An Amazon Book with Buzz: "The Second Home" by Christina Clancy
"A sure-footed ode to the strength of family, the depth of loss, and the power of forgiveness." - J. Ryan Stradal Learn more
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“[A] remarkable memoir . . . She exposes the whole messy territory of inheritance, of heritage, of what our families leave us, the treacherous trail of genetics and psychology and unhappiness, the legacy of all those generations as they play out in ways that we can see and ways that we will never see across the patterns of our lives. . . . True in a way that transcends mere recollection . . . She arrives at an almost perfect balance, producing a survivor’s story, a portrait of suicide from the outside, one that finds clarity in its inability to be clarified.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Honest, brave, incredibly moving, and completely unflinching in its honesty. It’s one of those rare books that will haunt you for a long time after you finish it . . . Wickersham’s writing is gorgeous, restrained and lyrical at the same time, and there’s not an extraneous word or ounce of fat in the book. In trying to comprehend what happened, Wickersham uses the format of an index, in an attempt to impose an order and shape on what appears to be a chaotic, perhaps random, act of her father’s . . . [An] amazing memoir.” —NPR’s Morning Edition
“Joan Wickersham’s deceptively simple organization of this volume packs a hard jab to the throat, and I found myself alternately holding my breath and looking away from the words on the page in stunned silence. Reading this book is a physical act—of beauty, of pain, and of frankness. The sections on writing and truth are some of the finest I’ve seen.” —Newsday
“Joan Wickersham’s deeply moving memoir seeks to comprehend the incomprehensible . . . What propels every intensely crafted page of this book is Wickersham’s relentless drive to comprehend her father’s suicide . . . Wickersham has journeyed into the dark underworld inside her father and herself, and has emerged with a powerful, gripping story.” —The Boston Globe
“[A] daughter’s piercing and profoundly considered response to [her father’s] death. She constructs her book like a series of index cards, with chapter headings that mimic those on outlines. It becomes a brilliant choice, allowing Wickersham to flip and sort through 15 years of what William Maxwell observed when he wrote, ‘The suicide doesn’t go alone, he takes everybody with him.’ . . . Against the violent transgression of suicide, Wickersham has crafted a consummately subtle book. . . . In its discipline and art, ‘The Suicide Index’ has the feel of a classic.” —The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)
“I read The Suicide Index with a rapacity bordering on need, with tears in my chest and in my eyes. Occasionally I had to put it down and leave the room. More often, I devoured it. The book is . . . The measured, elegant, gripping work of a professional writer who has set her powers of observation to work on her own family—her parents and grandparents, her uncle, her sister, her husband, her son—and on herself.” —The New York Sun (defunct)
“[A]n extraordinary, magical mystery tour of a book.” —Los Angeles Times
“What makes the narrative so compelling is not only Wickersham’s gift for making her memories sing as though they were our own, but also how she presents herself as a willful seeker, open to any and all incarnations of truth, able to admit how much she doesn’t know and never did . . . in this very moving memoir, Wickersham comes as close as she’s able to getting it right.” —Elle
“In spare prose, Wickersham has produced an artful and vivid memoir. . . . Capacious enough for both intimate detail and general information; cold data and lyric moments; for mystery and for consolation. . . . The elementary facts—where, when, and how—are straightforward, even simple . . . but her pursuit of ‘why’ leads Wickersham and her reader into the ‘unanswerable questions [and] unresolvable paradoxes’ that give her book classic qualities.” —Publishers Weekly
“This book is beautifully written and haunts the reader long after it’s closed.” —Library Journal
“[A] sensitive and thorough memoir built around her father’s suicide and the mystery of why he did it. It is both haunting and comforting to see how she puts her father’s death ‘in order.’” —Knoxvillle News Sentinel
“She writes beautifully . . . about the amount of sheer space a suicide takes in the lives of surviving family members, from the moment of death through the weeks, months and years afterward. . . . Bleak, strong and fiercely honest.” —The Washington Post
“In this harrowing, beautifully written memoir, Joan Wickersham tries to understand the forces that drove her father to take his own life. Part detective story, part anguished examination of a family, The Suicide Index traces the myriad repercussions suicide has not only on the future but also on the past. A powerful, important book.” —Abigail Thomas, author of A Three Dog Life
“The Suicide Index is just astonishing. Having endured the suicide of a close family member, I opened this book with dread and longing: fearful of revisiting so much pain yet keenly wanting, as I always will, to understand why. No one can ever fully answer the question that suicide remains for those left behind, yet here, in Joan Wickersham’s exquisitely straightforward story, I found surprising consolation. It is a love story, a mystery, a quiet tragedy, a dark comedy, and a profoundly absorbing modern family saga. It will stay with me for a very long time.” —Julia Glass, author of Three Junes and I See You Everywhere
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Your book, The Suicide Index is nothing short of riveting. Written with such HEART and such BEAUTY and maybe mostly—COURAGE. Alas, I am your new number one fan.
I have yet to read a book that reaches where yours does to find out/seek/dig at the truth, meaning, and repercussions of suicide. There isn’t a stone unturned in your three-hundred some pages, not a consequence unrealized or unrecognized. I see you telling the story your father could not. I see you giving his suicide ultimate voice.
Mental health continues to have such stigma, and that’s another reason your book touched me so deeply. Thank you for unabashedly shedding an artistic light on such a deeply personal issue.
You are so truly gifted, and I am planning to reread your book sooner than later to study the structure and narrative arc more deeply.
This author does a presentable job with facts. It must have been difficult to write about her father’s suicide, but she does so with great honesty. She shares the family’s reaction. She shares the reactions and experiences of friends. There are some very well-written parts of the book.
But often the point of view changes. When she writes from the ”you” POV, but means the “I” POV, the result is often disturbing. Sometimes chapters or parts of chapters are written in third person. The result is confusing.
There’s a chapter called “Suicide, Psychiatry as an Indirect Means of Addressing” where I, the reader, was lost. Who was she addressing? Her psychiatrist? Her psychiatrist’s son? I kept restarting the chapter thinking I had missed something.
Other times she is addressing her father. Sometimes she spends too much time on unrelated stories, like listing her mothers possessions.
The biography of her father and grandparents is too long. And we readers still end up knowing very little about these people other than that the grandparents were dancers.
Yet there are many parts of the memoir that are well-written and that deserve attention.