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In My Mother's Hands : A disturbing memoir of family life - Biff Ward

In My Mother's Hands

A disturbing memoir of family life

By: Biff Ward

Paperback Published: 1st June 2014
ISBN: 9781743319116
Number Of Pages: 288

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Poignant and moving memoir of Elizabeth Ward, known to one and all as Biff, who grew up in the 1950s in a household that tiptoed around her mother's demons and her father's fame.

There are secrets in this family. Before Biff and her younger brother, Mark, there was baby Alison, who drowned in her bath because, it was said, her mother was distracted. Biff too, lives in fear of her mother's irrational behaviour and paranoia, and she is always on guard and fears for the safety of her brother. As Biff grows into teenage hood, there develops a conspiratorial relationship between her and her father, who is a famous and gregarious man, trying to keep his wife's problems a family secret. This was a time when the insane were committed and locked up in Dickensian institutions; whatever his problems her father was desperate to save his wife from that fate. But also to protect his children from the effects of living with a tragically disturbed mother.

In My Mother's Hands is a beautifully written and emotionally perplexing coming-of-age true story about growing up in an unusual family.

About the Author

Biff has worked in radical secondary education, equal opportunity, Indigenous adult education, human resource development and mental illness education. She has had a peripatetic writing career, including writing Father-Daughter Rape, a feminist analysis of the literature from Freud to the early 80s about child sexual abuse (csa) before that term was invented. It was published by The Women's Press in London in 1984. Her poetry and essays appeared in anthologies in the 80s and 90s. Her memoir, In My Mother's Hands, is about her family's experience of her mother's mental illness at the same time that her father, Russel Ward, was writing The Australian Legend. Biff has three children and four grandchildren. She lives on the Monaro, in Canberra.

Gripping Biography

4

This book s very harrowing & quite depressing, but also very interesting. I read it in spite of not really taking to any of the protagonists. I can't say I "enjoyed" it but I'm glad to have read it.

Sydney

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Heartbreaking

5

This book was a real eye opener regarding mental health issues. Well written and very sad.

sydney, AU

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Excellent

5

To read it is to understand Biffs journey, very well written. Heart breaking.

Sydney

true

thought provoking and highly recommended

4

Honest, profound, unfeigned and veracious. I wept for all the characters. Biff is a real Trojan.

Perth Australia

true

A gripping read

5

Written with painful poignancy, this memoir never slides into maudlin self-pity. It respectfully depicts the difficulties and challenges of growing up with a mother with severe, (and unfortunately misdiagnosed and untreated) mental illness.

Perth

true

In My Mother's Hands

4.6 5

100.0

ISBN: 9781743319116
ISBN-10: 1743319118
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 1st June 2014
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.3  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.38
Edition Number: 1

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