Secret Girl: A Memoir

Secret Girl A Memoir For decades a well to do Balti family guarded a secret they felt too ashamed to reveal much less speak of among themselves For one daughter that secret would haunt her for years but ultimately comp

  • Title: Secret Girl: A Memoir
  • Author: Molly Bruce Jacobs
  • ISBN: 9780312364069
  • Page: 391
  • Format: Paperback
  • For decades, a well to do Balti family guarded a secret they felt too ashamed to reveal, much less speak of among themselves For one daughter, that secret would haunt her for years but ultimately compel her to take surprising risks and reap unbelievable rewards the story of which forms the stunning narrative of this remarkable memoir.When Molly Bruce Jacobs, the famiFor decades, a well to do Balti family guarded a secret they felt too ashamed to reveal, much less speak of among themselves For one daughter, that secret would haunt her for years but ultimately compel her to take surprising risks and reap unbelievable rewards the story of which forms the stunning narrative of this remarkable memoir.When Molly Bruce Jacobs, the family s eldest daughter, finds herself newly sober at the age of thirty eight, she finally seeks out and comes face to face with this secret Anne, a younger sister who was diagnosed at birth with hydrocephalus water on the brain and mental retardation, was institutionalized Anne has never been home to visit, and Molly Jacobs has never seen her Full of trepidation, she goes to meet her sister for the first time As the book unfolds and the sisters grow close, Jacobs learns of the decades of life not shared and gains surprising insights about herself, including why she drank for most of her adult life In addition, she gradually comes to understand that her parents reasons for placing Anne in a state institution were far complex than she d ever imagined.

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      Posted by:Molly Bruce Jacobs
      Published :2018-06-14T23:22:19+00:00

    1 thought on “Secret Girl: A Memoir”

    1. While the writing was acceptable, the story was disjointed and lacked cohesion. While I feel sympathy for the Author and her extremely disfunctional family, this was a hard book to readd not for all the right reasons.This seemed more like a purging of her own angst more then an memoir about her relationship with her institutionalized younger sister.Sadly, this is one of those books that make you think "If they would publish this, then I can get my book publish NO PROBLEM!".

    2. A self serving and mixed up account of the author's sister Anne, who had hydrocephalus, was retarded, and was placed in an institution by her parents. Flash forwards and backwards do nothing to clarify the story of how she became aware of her sister's existence, became an alcoholic, became a lawyer, and stopped drinking after marrying, divorcing, and having two sons. After getting sober she decides to meet Anne. For the first half of the book we don't get an image of what Anne is actually like o [...]

    3. Such a gut wrenching story So sad that it's a true story In today's generation we have come so far but still have issues with coming to terms with those with disabilities But during the time in this story anyone with pretty much any type of disability was tossed aside like a piece of trash to live their lives in an institution :( Definitely puts in perspective how far our medical fields have come and helped give hope and a better perspective on life to the families that are affected by such diff [...]

    4. Poorly edited but fascinating story. The portrait the author paints of her family is both vivid and frustrating, and I really admired her lifelong refusal to become as cold and frozen as her parents by reaching out to her sister and learning to have a relationship with her. That is something that, given her background and social pressures, takes a lot of humanity.I really wish someone had taken her prose style and given it a good scrubbing, though. There's far too much heavy-handed advice about [...]

    5. Secret Girl is a combined autobiography and biography of Jacobs and her sister Anne. As she and her sister become teenagers, Jacobs’ father tells them that they have another sister, Anne, who was born with water on the brain. The baby, twin to Jacob’s sister Laura, was not expected to live and was committed. While Jacobs’ was always fascinated by her sister, she could find out very little about her from her parents, nor did she actually meet Anne until she was in her late 30s. Once she has [...]

    6. This book was a beautifully written memoir. I would recommend it as a companion to "The Memory Keeper's Daughter" and any person who wants to know the impact of secrets, dysfunction, denial on a family.Even today, some Americans find out that they had siblings, family members they never knew they had who had been institutionalized. This was the case for Molly Bruce Jacobs. Her sister was institutionalized after birth. The author didn't know of her existence until she was thirteen, and didn't vis [...]

    7. I wanted this book to be great. I work with adult individuals with developmental/intellectual disabilities and I was hoping for an uplifting story of discovering treasure and reconciliation. Instead I found more abandonment for Anne at the end when she most needed it. I thought there were moments of revelation for Brucie, but mostly it was self absorbed and more about her alcoholism and Anne was secondary. Sure, it was a terrible tragedy that she lost her son, but she should have been there for [...]

    8. Secret Girl is ostensibly about what it is like to find out that you have a retarded sister who has been institutionalized since birth. “Brucie” (Author Molly Bruce Jacobs) learns this as a teenager, and visits her sister Anne once with their unstable mother. Then what? The remote parents here are well-to-do, (dad’s well-respected journalist) and prefer not to be bothered. So, send Brucie off to boarding school, when she enters the teenage rebelious phase. Why not? They can afford it.The r [...]

    9. I heard this author interviewed about the book a few years ago on NPR and was really taken by her story. I felt misled by the title and description of this book because it was actually in large part a memior about her own recovery from her divorce and alcoholism. It seemed that these and other themes about her family were repeated over and over without a lot of new insight as the book progressed. One thing that was interesting and different from other memiors I've read was her honesty about what [...]

    10. Taken from the back of the book. " For decades, a well-to-do Baltimore family guarded a secret they felt too ashamed to reveal, much less speak of among themselves." Molly is a newly sober alcoholic at the age of thirty-eight when she decided it is time to meet Anne the family secret, her younger Sister. Story is heartbreaking. I hard time reading it for many reasons. First one is the parents, they were not parents to any of their kids, especially Anne. Another one was the flash backs and the Au [...]

    11. I think Molly Bruce Jacobs probably thought she was being compelling and "deep" when penning this novel, but I found it trite, masturbatory, dull, and anticlimactic. In fact, I thought the most riveting part was when the author mentioned (towards the very end) that her 11-year-old son had died, but that THE MANNER OF HIS DEATH WAS TOO AWFUL TO DESCRIBE. Okay Molly.if you say that, it's going to piss off your reader and she's going to play detective. So anywayI googled her family and found out th [...]

    12. "I doubt my mother had anything more than the vaguest notion of how taxing children could be. In any case[] she must have collapsed into feelings of regret and self-pity I can't really blame my mother for that. In her circumstances, I'd have been tempted to do the same."This is how the author, on page 71 of this memoir, justifies her mother tossing her across the room as an infant and abandoning a child to a home for mentally retarded children when one of her twins doesn't turn out the way she'd [...]

    13. There were things I liked about this book--the story, the message--and things I didn't like about the book. What I didn't like was how parts of the book seemed to be the author's imaginings, instead of the truth based on research and interviews. I don't want to read an "imagining" of what happened to her sister, I want to read what really happened. I also felt like the author was just as damaged by the end of the book as she was on page one. In that aspect it was a bit sad.But the good parts of [...]

    14. Secret Girl: A Memoir by Molly Bruce Jacobs (St. Martin's Press 2006)(Biography). The author was the eldest daughter in a family of several children. She had a hydrocephallic younger sister who was also mentally retarded who had been surrendered for adoption/institutionalized by their parents. At 38 years of age, the newly sober author sought out the sister she had never met. This is a book about how guilty she felt about the whole mess, about how and why she sought forgiveness from the sister, [...]

    15. I selected this book to read for one of my graduate projects. It is the story of a family who lived their lives apart from their daughter with hydrocephaly. Their daughter was put into residential care, and her sisters spent their childhood not knowing she even existed. The book, written by the oldest sister, documents the effect this secret had on her life, and the process of letting herself get to know her secret sister. It was heartbreaking and yet all made perfect sense in the context of the [...]

    16. I enjoyed this enough to keep reading but really wanted to hear more about Anne and less about Molly - became tedious after a while, and disjointed. Very sad the way our society treats people with disabilities, especially back in the 50s and 60s this practice was not uncommon. My aunt was also born retarded in the 1950s, whisked away and institutionalized. I heard about her for the first time as a teenager, and have never met her. As a matter of fact, I had forgotten all about her until I saw th [...]

    17. I thought the author talked way more about herself then her sister. I wanted to hear more about Anne. The first half of the book is Brucie talking about how messed up her life is. Her parents, especially her mother, are just horrid people. I will never understand how a parent can turn their backs on their own child. The ending of this book really struck me. I was so sad to read what happened. Also I didn't see the whole growing up connections between Anne and Brucie that Brucie talked about.

    18. I was touched by this story of a woman who decides to meet her disabled sister at the age of 38. The sister has lived in institutions or group homes all her life and had little interaction with the family because of the stigma in the 50's-60's. This author tells of her struggle to kindle a lost relationship with her sister and also recognize and face the difficulties in her own life. It's about life's losses that can become gains. I would recommend it.

    19. This book chronicles the author's discovery, and later in her life, subsequent visits with her mentally retarded sister. The girls' parents had had Anne, the author's sister, institutionalized from the time she was born. Anne was rarely visited by their parents. This book is a testament to how a family's dysfunctions can become very detrimental all members of the family in various ways. Don't overlook reading the Epilogue. It really knocked me out. This was a very well-written memoir.

    20. If I could give this any less stars, I would. This book has very little to do with the "secret girl". I can't even begin to describe how much this book bothered me. The author was completely selfish (I guess you get to be if you're the author) and, in my opinion, used the title as an "artsy-oh-this-really-ties-into-me-being-the-one-whose-life-has-been-a-secret" way. I just can't get out the frustration I feel about this book. blah. Good luck reader.

    21. Interesting book. Really makes you think about the disparity of reactions to what people deem "family secrets", as well as the impact on others involved. At times the author blames and castigates her parents, and at other times she makes excuses for them. I find it strange that she waited so long to actually meet her sister.

    22. I really enjoyed reading this book. It is interesting the way the author parallels her life to that of her institutionalized sister. I didn't expect it to be written that way. So there are really two main characters. Though, if you don't want to read something that will make you a little sad then don't read this one.

    23. Well-written account of the norm, a dysfunctional family of means. The story of parents hiding away a less than perfect child to allegedly preserve the "normalcy" of the family is almost comic if it weren't tragic. The author examines her own life to see where things unraveled, only to find that her secret sister shared many similar events.

    24. I thought this book was about the family's secret -- a mentally incapacitated child locked in institutions from birth. Instead, it was a drivelling account of the author's life. There are some poingant moments, but then the author seems to lose touch with her point, and then ends the book so quickly it leaves a sour taste in the mouth. It was hard to finish.

    25. This is a sad book that I feel I had a difficult time with due to my job as a social worker and a family member with some learning disabilities and how I can't imagine her being sent away and never knowing her. It had the potential to be a great book except the way things happened still seemed to be as though the author didn't learn anything. Unfortunately it's a true story.

    26. I picked up this book last week and knew pretty quickly that I had read it before. Oops. But I was compelled to read it again. the secret girl was the hidden twin sister that was born in the 50"s mentally retarded. The parents never brought her home and she spent her life in institutions. The older sister went to meet her years later and . (you will need to read the story to learn more.)

    27. This was a good book, true story. I was mad at the mother from the start, and never really got over it. I was only thinking of how I would have dealt w/ it if either of my children was mentally handicapped. I had to keep reminding myself back then, that kind of news wasn't excepted at all was easier to cover it up, and send them away. So sad.

    28. Now that I sit awhile after reading this book, thinking about it, I am a little pissed at the author. It seemed she had no problem coming in and out of her sister's life. Also, it annoyed me that there is no picture of Anne anywhere in/on the back of the book. Seemed like the sister prefered to talk more about herself than her Anne.

    29. Great Book. Really neat because its based so close to home. It is about a mentally retarded girl who's parents were well to do socialites in the baltimore county area. They end up putting her into Rosewood State Hospital. It chronciles her life while then and then moving into a group home.

    30. The story of a young woman and the mentally challenged sister that was hidden from her life as a child. Start out interesting but the narrative lost strength towards the end. Epilogue added a confusing note.

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