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Ghellow Road

A book by T H Waters

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One woman's gripping account about schizophrenia, suicide and survival.

  • Apr 4, 2011
Rating:
+5
Ghellow Road is a moving narrative of one woman's brave confrontation with her past and the gnawing demons of crippling mental illness that plagued her mother and thus affected the whole of her adolescent and teenage life.

At the onset, Theresa Waters had, by all accounts, an idyllic childhood that overflowed with two loving parents who had a penchant for all the offerings that life had to offer, compounded with an insatiable curiosity that would inspire any child to reach for the stars and grab life's ample opportunities with gusto and relish. But then a wrench got tossed into that idyllic life; gradually Theresa and her brother sensed that something was amiss, because those closest to them began to speak in hushed tones all the while never directly answering their genuine concerned inquisitiveness. Over time, their father opened up about their mother's health, and they frequently witnessed their mother's uncontrolled schizophrenic outbursts or sullen moody inwardness. Not fully comprehending, Theresa (out of love and when possible) would often tag along the thorny road of her mother's helter skelter delusions, yearning for the break of occasional normalcy that would every so often shine through. When it did, the family unit was fully intact and life was good and beautiful. Festivals were attended, beach outings and boat trips were aplenty and ice cream was the medicine that made life sweet and innocent. However, when the schizophrenic impulses manifested itself in her mother, the foundation of family stability slowly began to crack and loved ones played second fiddle to the unseen forces that no one could see or hear.

Pushing forward beyond the episodic moments of instability, Theresa's father did double duty for his kids, trying to be the super parent for their sake, but every human being has a breaking point, and sometimes, regrettably, that point goes to the extreme. And with no genuine outlet for what he was going through-with the exception of unfulfilled dreams and aspirations gone awry-it was up to the next generation to grab ahold of the helm, and he saw that in his two kids. He gradually lost his own identity and darkness overpowered him, and with that suffering, he chose to forever leave his burdens behind and exit the only way he knew how, by the gun. Hearing it go off, Theresa knew that her life was forever altered. Mental illness with one parent was one thing, suicide with another was simply incomprehensible. With the marrying of these two tragedies in one so young and still quite malleable it is a wonder that she and her brother were not themselves institutionalized. But they were shuffled around from foster home, to relatives and then back to their mother, who tried not to succumb to all the pitfalls that schizophrenia brings out. Creating a new reality, Theresa and her brother essentially went their own ways and forged new identities. Her brother eventually had a new life with a new family while she still remained in the vortex of yo-yo-like unpredictability. Her mother would date, dump, embrace Jesus Christ via the PTL Club and Jim and Tammy Faye Baker, forge friendships, get a job, wallow in depression, be normal, be a mother and then disappear for weeks on end. All the while, Theresa would somehow endure the oft repeated cycle of what no adolescent could imagine let alone truly experience. The only thing that was consistent in her life were the inconsistencies. The turbulence of her upbringing is what makes the story so fascinating, because the reader is also on a roller coster of emotional uncertainty with each progressing chapter.

Ultimately, stability is eventually found by way of a loving aunt. With her influence (among others) and a plethora of school friends and adventures, Theresa Waters was slowly able to navigate herself out of the dark tunnel of what statistically could have been a very tragic life. But turns funny, lively, stubborn, moving, sharp and edgy, Ghellow Road is a trenchant memoir of adolescents that evokes a little element (for me) of Ordinary People, Is There No Place On Earth For Me? and The Catcher in the Rye all merged into one. A winning debut.

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More Ghellow Road reviews
review by . May 06, 2013
One woman's gripping account about schizophrenia, suicide and survival.
Ghellow Road is a moving narrative of one woman's brave confrontation with her past and the gnawing demons of crippling mental illness that plagued her mother and thus affected the whole of her adolescent and teenage life.      At the onset, Theresa Waters had, by all accounts, an idyllic childhood that overflowed with two loving parents who had a penchant for all the offerings that life had to offer, compounded with an insatiable curiosity that would inspire any child to …
review by . April 07, 2011
   Ghellow Road tells the story of Theresa’s life from childhood to teenage years...it is a sad, interesting read about family relationships.    The book takes the reader into the world of a child of a depressed mother, a patient, loving father, and a childhood that was anything but normal. Each time her mother was hospitalized, her father would have Grandma take care of them....all except one time, and she and her brother didn't know why.   Dad had always …
About the reviewer
Christian Engler ()
Ranked #652
Not much to say; my info section and likes pretty much says it all. Cheers.
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Wiki

Ghellow Road is a literary diary of a young girl's journey through the tangled labyrinth that is her life. Theresa's story begins in a large midwestern city where she is born to loving parents in 1965. For a brief moment in time, her life is full, as is her heart, and the world is hers to receive without consequence. As time passes and Theresa grows, supernatural forces begin to shape her existence, no matter how carefully her father colors the empty spaces of her world. After a series of tragic events, Theresa and her family seek refuge in a small Minnesota town nestled near the shores of Rainy Lake. She creates a new life for herself there, sharing adventures with friends and riding the ups and downs of adolescence. Yet through it all, her mother remains forever lost in the prison of her own mind and forever lost to Theresa. The young girl feels as though she is leading a double life, one that no one else could possibly understand. She begins to peer at the world as if looking through a thick, black veil, never certain which pieces are illusion and which are not. Through the kindness and support of the townspeople, She eventually summons the strength to survive. This is a story of tragedy and triumph. This is the story of my life.
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Details

ISBN-10: 0982893116
ISBN-13: 978-0982893111
Author: T H Waters
Publisher: Verefor Publishing Company LLC

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