Grand Central Publishing|October 1, 2010|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-446-53578-6
Nine-year-old Merell knows what she saw in the pool that day. And her call to 911 immediately put her mother, Simone, under suspicion for an unforgivable crime. But as usual, Simone’s older sister, Roxanne, has come to the rescue. In the glare of national media attention she tries to help her vulnerable niece make sense of the family’s tragedy. And while striving to hold her own marriage together, she struggles with her always troublesome relationships with the beautiful Simone – who suffers from crippling postpartum depression – and their cold, narcissistic mother, Ellen. Unflinchingly honest and moving, THE GOOD SISTER is a novel of three generations of women seeking to overcome a legacy of violence, secrecy, and lies…as they discover just how far sisters, mothers, and daughters will go to hurt and help one another.
This was a very interesting and intense read!!! Nine-year-old, Merell, witnesses her mother attempting to drown her baby sister in their swimming pool and calls 911. Knowing full well that she’d be charged with attempted murder, her mother and older sister, Roxanne, come to her rescue telling the police that is not the way it happened and that Merell being young was mistaken. However, Simone is eventually charged with the attempted murder of all four of her children and under goes a trial.
This is a story about postpartum depression, depression, narcissism, dependency and co-dependency which has been going on in this family for three generations. My feelings really went out to Roxanne who is always there for Simone to the detriment of herself and her own happiness. Simone just cannot function without Roxanne after having been taught to be totally “helpless” by her family growing up. Due her to delicate condition she was literally waited on hand and foot, carried when she should have walked, never had to figure anything out on her own, and didn’t learn how to cope with any type of stress whatsoever.
Simone’s husband keeps her pregnant having had eight or nine pregnancies within a few years along with some miscarriages. His plan was not to stop until Simone produced him a son. I felt he took advantage of Simone in a lot of ways but other people may not see it the way I do.
Of course, I also felt sorry for Simone who was a product of her environment and the way she was raised. She didn’t ask to be raised ‘helpless’ and unable to cope with ordinary every day stresses never mind having four children in such a short span of time.
The interesting thing is that this story was similar to the life the author, Drusilla Campbell, lead as she writes in her “Note from the Author” near the end of the book. Having now read the book, I wonder how much more of this fictionalized version was really true. In any event, the book was intense yet very, very sad for all those concerned. Every character in this story was affected in some way, an incredible read, really.
We all know about the horrors of postpartum depression but rarely do women also encounter a psychosis along with it like Simone does, or women like the very real life “Andrea Yates” who also killed her own children. Although written as fiction, this story is a reminder to us all to remember to seek help for any new Moms we know who may be suffering from postpartum depression because it is very real. I would definitely and most highly recommend this book to other readers.