"An Abbreviated Life"by Ariel Leve has joined the genre of memoirs about crazy families.
Before that, Augusten Burroughs had created a brandname for himself detailing his mentally ill mother and the eccentric psychiatrist who reared him, in exchange for the child support money. The latest of Burrough's books in that category is "Lust and Wonder."
In reading both, I asked myself: But, what human being doesn't wind up growing up in crazy? The new term for that is "dysfunctional."
Even if the family begins "normal," whatever that means, life tends to intervene.
The breadwinner might lose the big job.
The family business might tank.
A parent decides to seek romance outside the vows of marriage
One or both parents develop mental illness or what is currently positioned and packaged as "brain disease."
A sibling gets into trouble with the law.
A scandal happens that is covered by the media.
And so on.
The problem with so many of the memoirs about family dysfunction is that they don't provide insight into the dynamics. I resent investing the time in this genre putting up with what I experience as a self-absorbed author.
I have been able to derive more enlightenment and tools for coping from reading scientific articles and spiritual guides about how groups function.
Before those from crazy decide to share their suffering in a memoir, they should ask themselves how they plan to deliver useful takeaways not available elsewhere?
Most of us, because of the pain involved, assume that our experience is unique. Believe me, it isn't. The hours and hours I put in on the cushions in Buddhist temples and the rooms of recovery have me wondering: Are crazy families standard?
BTW, when I stopped blogging about my own dysfunctional family, page views increased exponentially. Perhaps the shelf life on stories about crazy in families has expired.
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