• Title: Estranged: Leaving Family and Finding Home
  • Author: Jessica Berger Gross
  • ISBN: 9781501101601
  • Page: 362
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Estranged Leaving Family and Finding Home A powerful haunting memoir about one woman s childhood of abuse and her harrowing decision to leave it all behind that redefines our understanding of estrangement and the ability to triumph over adve
    A powerful, haunting memoir about one woman s childhood of abuse and her harrowing decision to leave it all behind that redefines our understanding of estrangement and the ability to triumph over adversity.To outsiders, Jessica Berger Gross s childhood growing up in a nice Jewish family in middle class Long Island seemed as wholesomely American as any other But behind cA powerful, haunting memoir about one woman s childhood of abuse and her harrowing decision to leave it all behind that redefines our understanding of estrangement and the ability to triumph over adversity.To outsiders, Jessica Berger Gross s childhood growing up in a nice Jewish family in middle class Long Island seemed as wholesomely American as any other But behind closed doors, Jessica suffered years of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her father, whose mood would veer unexpectedly from loving to violent At the age of twenty eight, still reeling from the trauma but emotionally dependent on her dysfunctional family, Jessica made the anguished decision to cut ties with them entirely Years later, living in Maine with a loving husband and young son, having finally found happiness, Jessica is convinced the decision saved her life In her powerful memoir reminiscent of Jeannette Walls s bestseller The Glass Castle, Jessica breaks through common social taboos and bravely recounts the painful, self defeating ways in which she internalized her abusive childhood, how she came to the monumental decision to break free from her family, and how she endured the difficult road that followed Ultimately, by extracting herself from the damaging patterns and relationships of the past, Jessica has managed to carve an inspiring path to happiness one she has created on her own terms Her story, told here in a careful, unflinching, and forthright way, completely reframes how we think about family and the past.

    One Reply to “Estranged: Leaving Family and Finding Home”

    1. I enjoy reading memoirs a lot; part of it is seeing how other people cope with this thing called "life" and with the curveballs that get thrown at them. Another reason is the fact that usually you know things will turn out at least OK. The person made it out of whatever horrible situation they found themselves in and are now able to tell their story. I find solace in that and it makes reading about the aforementioned horrible situations bearable. I also find it important to see how other people [...]

    2. My main takeaway from this book is that anyone can get a book contract these days! Advertised as "powerful" and "haunting," I found it to be neither. It's a long, uninteresting recitation of all the bad things that happened to her and how they continued to follow her into adulthood. She then attributes everything in her life to the shadows of her dysfunctional upbringing -- which is no doubt true, but it's exhausting to read a laundry list of it all. While memoirs are, at their very core, about [...]

    3. You truly never know what goes on in the homes of your neighbors and friends do you? This book is a perfect example of how little we do know about the people around us and the abuse that might be going on. Jessica is from the typical, nice Jewish home, (it even has a pool!) but one in which abuse occurs on an almost daily basis. Jessica's father is physically and emotionally abusive to her and during these periods of torment, her mother is just. silent. Similar to The Glass Castle, but one in wh [...]

    4. While I hate the thought of disbelieving anyone who has endured abuse, the way the author relayed her story left me feeling like she simply was someone who was throwing a tempter tantrum about not getting her way at home. Maybe it was the words she chose to relay her story, or the tone she used, regardless, I finished the book feeling sad for the family disconnect and how much her family must've been hurting as a result of her choice to walk away in unforgiveness. I only hope that through parent [...]

    5. DepressingWell written but ultimately I felt like she was selfish in her refusal to let go of her anger. I can see not willing to be able to see and interact with them, but as a mother maybe she could have at least extended more compassion. It also felt like one of those blogs that make you feel bad about your life - the yoga, the garden the perfect family ain't buying it.

    6. Can you say SPOILED TO THE CORE! This was far from “powerful, haunting and harrowing” as described. The narrative was whiny and she come off as a self-centered ungrateful brat who was blinded by her own disrespectful behavior. It lacked empathy and I had to force myself to read to the end. Most of the book was about her ungrateful, pity-party behavior where she went around using people and throwing tantrums till she got her way. She's always been financially dependent upon someone else wheth [...]

    7. The author gives a very accurate and brave account of what estrangement is like while still being fair to her family of origin. It is a must read for anyone, estranged or not to get people talking about that very unspoken about subject of abuse within families and possibly can give the courage to someone who needs to do this in order to have a better quality of life.

    8. I read this book on a plane ride and subsequent long, boring wait at the airport and I'm SO GLAD I had it because it was a great read and made the whole process fly by, pun acknowledged if not intended. I personally don't have many problems with my parents but felt a lot of suspense about how the author was going to get through her childhood and ultimately how she would confront her family. The writing style is honest and intensely-felt, and the details she mined from her memories of her childho [...]

    9. I received this book through NetGalley and its publisher, Scribner. This is a story about a girl growing up in a dysfunctional Jewish family. The family consists of her father, mother, and two brothers. The trials and tribulations she encounters with an abusive father and submissive mother. At times, it feels like a typical teenager complaining about her father. Her parents were involved in helping her often: obtaining a car, buying clothes, attending summer camp. She appears out of control with [...]

    10. Privilege wrote this book. The further I read in this book the less sympathy I found I had for the author. In the beginning she is completely helpless and dependent as a child, and repeatedly victimized by her father's behavior and her mother's complicity. As she gets older and finds more autonomy, I read along slackjawed as she described her Vassar education, her seven months abroad in Nepal, her extensive time working in Israel. Her travels here, her travels there. And her friends, she had so [...]

    11. jewish girl whose father abused her physically and emotionally. two older brothers. mother didn't stand up to him. she choses to abandon her family to live a happier life. husband is colby professor.a little whiny by the end

    12. I enjoy reading memoirs, but I found myself annoyed with this author. If you are looking for a book in this genre, I would suggest The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls or Etched in Sand: A True Story of Five Siblings Who Survived an Unspeakable Childhood on Long Island, by Regina Calcaterra. Both of these books are outstanding.

    13. It felt a little bit like fate when I received a free copy of this in the mail. I enter ' drawings fairly often and have never won one before this book or since. It came at the right time. It made me cry, it made me smile, it gave me hope, but more than anything it made me feel seen, heard, understood, and not alone. Berger Gross' family resembles mine in some ways, not at all in others. I think if you read this book, you might feel the same way. This book deserves a longer, more detailed, bette [...]

    14. This book came to my attention via a video on the web site, salon. The author, Jessica Berger Gross was being interviewed by Mary Elizabeth Williams. The topic of family estrangement interested me because my husband has not had a relationship with his mother for 14 years. During that time, there have been people who have expressed dismay at his decision, without being fully aware of the details, simply because "she's your mother". As Gross stated, quite rightly, we wouldn't ask an abused woman t [...]

    15. Although not a lengthy book (less than 300 pages) this book took me longer to read than anticipated. The writer's account of her life growing up in as one of 3 children in a Jewish family details much abuse and emotional trauma. Her father was physically and verbally abusive to her and her 2 brothers. She says this abuse extended to her mother as well. Her mother was cold and distant. The writer resents her mother for not rescuing her from her father, and thus permitting the abuse to continue. S [...]

    16. 2.5 Stars Let's get something straight. It is never acceptable for a parent, teacher, coach or any adult to hit a child. The author suffered physical and emotional at the hands of her father and from her mother's inability to intercede on her behalf. Having said that, I had trouble feeling sympathetic for the author. Her writing did not move me the way Jennifer Lauck's Blackbird did. Perhaps, it was the expensive education her parents provided, the trips to Israel and Nepal, creative arts camps [...]

    17. How do you explain the complicated ways in which some of your best moments as a family were knotted together with some of the most shameful ones. The author's memoir of the physical and emotional abuse she suffered under her father and her mother's passivity towards the abuse. A love/hate relationship. I struggled with this one to feel any empathy and it bothers me that I can't put into words why. I don't know if her writing was to mechanical and putting her story into words she distanced hersel [...]

    18. Engaging enough memoir about a young woman who ultimately decides to walk away from her abusive and dysfunctional family. I felt like not enough was told, and even significant events in the book were glossed over, and the whole book felt rushed in this way. I would have liked to know more about, perhaps, the parent's backgrounds, and maybe for the author to have slowed down The parts about her going abroad could certainly have been expanded with more detail, as these seem to have been pivotal po [...]

    19. What I love about this memoir is that even though Jessica Berger Gross is telling her own story, it raises such compelling questions for all of us. When are relationships too toxic to hold on too, how can we set boundaries in the relationships we chose, and just how complicated but imperative this process is if we want to live lives in alignment with our own truth. I loved reading this book. It was moving and compelling and made my heart grow. I found it to be so hopeful. How she reconciled her [...]

    20. The book “Estranged” was a touching memoir describing a difficult and confusing relationship between a young woman and her family. I found myself thoroughly engaged as I read about her journey to find herself amidst this chaotic and ever-changing set of relationships. Before reading this story, I might have found it difficult to imagine how a person might decide to choose to stop communication with a parent. Berger Gross takes us through the complicated elements in her choice and brings ligh [...]

    21. A thoughtful and moving memoir about how family relationships shape us, and about how one can gain the strength and courage to end relationships that have caused deep harm. This book illustrates our capacity to understand, process and forgive abuse while choosing not to continue the relationship in which it took place. The writer's familiar, conversational style takes you along with her on her inspiring journey from an unpredictable abusive childhood to adulthood where she was able to create the [...]

    22. No one knows what goes on behind the closed doors of neighbors homes.The abuse Jessica describes at the hands of her father&I found her mother just as guilty .Parents normally would do anything to protect their child but Jessica's mother allowed the abuse .A raw real book by a very brave,woman.The steps she took to break away from this abuse&make her own life & family hurray for Jessica &her new safe life,

    23. I would recommend this book to anyone who has ever been estranged from someone in their family, whether by your choice or theirs. Her memoir describes reasons to stay and reasons to leave, and the pain that both can cause.

    24. Really phenomenal book - touches on abusive families and NYC. Resonated deeply. So happy I picked it up!

    25. This was a difficult book to read, since I have been estranged from my Mom for nine years. There were many stark truths here.

    26. As someone who is been in a similar situation to the author, I can relate all too well. There is nothing quite as freeing as the feeling of not having to deal with incredibly difficult personalities, even when they're in your own family, maybe especially then. I commend Jessica for her powerful and honest portrayal of what it is like to be estranged from one's original family, and to set out and successfully start your own. An excellent read.

    27. Thanks to author, Scribner and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book. While I got it free it had no bearing on the rating I gave it.Wish that there would have been some sort of reconciliation but I didn't live through what author had to deal with.Sad but honest account of a hurt child/adult.

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