In This Issue

Half in Love: Surviving the Legacy of Suicide: A Memoir

This review of the memoir by Linda Grey Sexton delves into the dark topic of the inherited tendancies of suicide

By Alma H. Bond

The Legacy of Anne Sexton: PsycCRITIQUES, 2011 Vol 56(20)

In her review of Half in Love: Surviving the Legacy of Suicide: A Memoir, by Linda Gray Sexton, daughter of famous poet Anne Sexton, Alma Bond states:

"Anyone who doubts the inherited tendency to suicide should take a look at Anne Sexton's family history. The length of the list of suicides is incredible. The whole family on both sides was peppered with mental illness, alcoholism, and the wish to commit suicide. Linda's father spent many mornings in the kitchen speaking to Linda of his own suicidal feelings. His aunt had succumbed to the family illness and lived out her life in institutions. After Anne died, her oldest sister and her father's sister killed themselves. Did her cousins feel the same urge? Linda wondered. Was the cause genetic, a chemical imbalance in the body, the influence of living with someone suffering from the illness, or all of the above? What about her future children? Would they suffer from the same illness? Should she even have children?"

What do you think? How does a genealogy shaped by mental illness and suicide color the experience of parenthood?

Read the complete book review. Comments from members of Division 39 members are especially welcome!