Steve Luxenberg - Official Website

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Connecting to Annie's Ghosts: An Interview and a Reviewer

As I watched the computer screen at WPYR-FM in Baltimore, the calls began stacking up.

"A sister no one talked about."

"A half-brother I never knew existed."

"An uncle airbrushed out of family photos."

During an interview yesterday about Annie's Ghosts on "Midday," Dan Rodricks's public affairs show, listeners jammed the phone lines to talk about the secrets in their own families. We only had time for three calls, unfortunately. Each story was compelling, and each secret was different. Some involved institutionalized relatives, like my aunt Annie, while others involved some other taboo or shame of the generation when the secret was born -- the uncle was gay, the half-brother was from a now-secret previous marriage.

Telling my family's story, and explaining the cultural forces that swirled around my mom as she decided to turn her institutionalized sister into a secret, clearly had resonated with Dan's listeners. It was quite an experience to sit in the studio, earphones on, and hear their stories.

It was also quite an experience to hear this review by Susan McCallum-Smith, which was broadcast Monday on WYPR.

No matter how other reviews turn out, I'll always have this one.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Alan Stamm | Birmingham, MI said...

"Annie's Ghosts proves, as the best nonfiction writing does, that true facts about true life need no embellishment to be startling or moving."

What a wonderful gift that sentence is.

Yes, definitely a review to cherish forever with well-earned pride.

September 19, 2009 at 9:53 AM  
OpenID sparroweye said...

My father's other two siblings never had any children due to the family's mental illness secret. No one told me. I have three sons who should have that medical information. My oldest son has suffered from depression. I don't even know what the diagnosis was for my grandmother or my Uncle Jack. Jack died in Florida State Hospital in 1930, his mother Hazel Conner Fuller died in New York State mental hospital. It may have been on Long Island. I have visited Jack and Hazel's grave. I like to think Hazel had post partum psychosis as she had four children all close together. Today she might have been saved by medication. I imagine the records are gone now. http://www.flickr.com/photos/66013135@N00/1801568714/in/set-72157602132844674/ My Uncle Jacks headstone. At least they gave him that. Candace Fuller Pfau

September 27, 2009 at 12:03 PM  

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