Monday, May 16, 2011

Review - Ghellow Road by T.H. Waters

Title: Ghellow Road (Amazon)
Author: T.H. Waters
Publisher: Verefor Publishing Companies
Release Date: 2010
Pages: 290
Genre: Autobiography
Source: Author

Ghellow Road is a literary diary of a young girl's journey through the tangled labyrinth that is her life. Theresa's story begins in a large midwestern city where she is born to loving parents in 1965. For a brief moment in time, her life is full, as is her heart, and the world is hers to receive without consequence. As time passes and Theresa grows, supernatural forces begin to shape her existence, no matter how carefully her father colors the empty spaces of her world. After a series of tragic events, Theresa and her family seek refuge in a small Minnesota town nestled near the shores of Rainy Lake. She creates a new life for herself there, sharing adventures with friends and riding the ups and downs of adolescence. Yet through it all, her mother remains forever lost in the prison of her own mind and forever lost to Theresa. The young girl feels as though she is leading a double life, one that no one else could possibly understand. She begins to peer at the world as if looking through a thick, black veil, never certain which pieces are illusion and which are not. Through the kindness and support of the townspeople, she eventually summons the strength to survive. This is a story of tragedy and triumph. This is the story of my life. (Goodreads)

Kim’s take:

This book is a sad and compelling look into the dysfunctional life Theresa lived growing up with a mother who is a schizophrenic. Her loving and active mother, Rainy, becomes someone Theresa no longer recognizes. As a child, Theresa does not understand mental illness and is often terrified of her mother’s actions. Theresa’s mother is hospitalized several times for schizophrenic episodes. The first few times, her grandmother was able to stay at their house to care for Theresa and her brother, Mikie. For unknown reasons, the children are sent to a foster home during one of their mother’s hospital stays.

Theresa’s father has always been a rock for the kids and tries to keep their lives as normal as possible, despite their mother’s mental illness. Unfortunately, after losing his job, he becomes unable to cope and becomes very depressed. Though she is very young, Theresa is able to notice the changes in her father. One tragic evening, her father commits suicide, and Theresa loses any chance of living a normal childhood.

Her mother moves them to her hometown to stay with her parents until they can get on their feet. Theresa has never met her maternal grandparents and is devastated to leave her beloved grandmother behind along with the only life she has ever known. Everything in her life has changed which is very traumatic to a small child.

It was interesting and sad to read about the stages her mother went through trying to deal with her illness. She would seem to do fine for a short while and then everything would crash down and life would become too hard for her to deal with and she would shut down. Not long after moving into the first place of their own since her father’s death, Theresa’s brother runs away to live with another family and never returns. Their connection to each other is forever broken.

As the book progressed, Rainy’s delusions and ability to rationalize seem to become worse with each episode. For example, she purchases an ant farm as a gift for a graduating family member without the understanding that it is an inappropriate gift, despite Theresa trying to intercede.

Through all of this, Theresa seems to understandably be untrusting. She has been constantly sent to live with others when her mother did not feel like dealing with her or was unable to. In the end, she comes to live at her beloved Aunt Mae’s house where she is provided a place of love and stability. My heart truly broke for this little girl who was robbed of her childhood.

T.H. Waters did an excellent job of detailing the experiences through the eyes of a child. And going through your teen years is hard enough without having to try to hide your mother’s mental illness. Theresa seems to persevere despite having the deck stacked against her and I found myself rooting for her throughout the book.

I thought the book was excellent with an easy to read style of writing. It should be considered necessary reading for anyone with the need to understand what it is like to live with someone suffering a mental illness.

I’d highly recommend!

Kim’s Rating


  1. Sounds like an interesting read chick! I'm glad you liked it!!!

  2. I hadn't ever heard of this one before but it sounds very interesting. What a rough life!