The best books on mental health, addiction, and how those affect families

Karen Harmon Author Of Where Is My Happy Ending?: A Journey of No Regrets
By Karen Harmon

The Books I Picked & Why

The Glass Castle

By Jeannette Walls

Book cover of The Glass Castle

Why this book?

Jeanette's memoir is one of my favourite books. A heartbreaking and heartwarming story of a girl growing up in a home with addiction and mental health issues. Even though her parents have serious problems, the author paints a picture of love at all costs. She weaves us through her childhood, allowing us to see the world through her eyes. You will smile, laugh, and possibly cry.

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Too Close to the Falls

By Catherine Gildiner

Book cover of Too Close to the Falls

Why this book?

Too Close to the Falls is hilarious and moving with a dark side that at first is undetectable. Gildner's memoir is richly absorbing and captures childhood's essence, where each experience is a lesson. In the 1950s, Too Close to the Falls is an exquisite, haunting portrayal of friendships, brushes with death, and how a schoolgirl affects the course of aboriginal politics. Memorable and skillfully told.

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The Memory Palace

By Mira Bartok

Book cover of The Memory Palace

Why this book?

A harrowing and beautiful tale of two sisters growing up with a paranoid schizophrenic mother. The author describes a fine line between gentle artistic creativity and debilitating mental illness. The reader will come away with a better understanding of how deeply children are affected growing up in a dysfunctional and traumatic environment. A mother's love and a journey to forgiveness teach us the complex meaning of love.

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Mennonite Girl at the Welcome Inn

By Mary Ediger

Book cover of Mennonite Girl at the Welcome Inn

Why this book?

This lovely memoir follows Mary, the daughter of Mennonite Pastors. Her recollections are comical and heartwarming as she deals with growing up in a Mennonite home in a non-Mennonite community. The creativity that goes with being raised with little means and living frugally makes Mary and her family rich beyond belief in adventure and storytelling.

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Olive Kitteridge

By Elizabeth Strout

Book cover of Olive Kitteridge

Why this book?

Stout's story is fiction, but we can all see the truth in ourselves displayed by the main character Olive. She never fails to exude the ugly parts while also showing lovable humanitarian features. Olive comes across as not a very nice person, but we somehow fall in love with her. The author introduces us to Olive's life and the characters, who are equally trying to maneuver around who she is as a wife, mother and friend. Olive Kitteridge is also a four-part Netflix original.

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