An author loves to get notes from readers. I've gotten quite a few since my book was released in May 2011, for which I am very grateful.
I was so taken by the one I recently received that I have to share it with you here:
“I just finished Leaving the Hall Light On this morning. I wrote my review on here and Amazon. As a published author I know how fulfilling it is to receive feedback from readers. I write you this message today because I would request that you read my review. I am a writer, nurse, mother, and wife who suffers with Bipolar 1 disorder. I would like for you to know that I felt Paul's soul in the core of my bones. I know intimately the feeling of quietly walking down the hallway as to not disturb my loved ones, locking the bathroom door, and making the decision to end my life. As I sit here this afternoon writing this message I struggle to stay out of the bathroom today. I began reading the book through the eyes of someone who suffers from mental illness, but finished the book with a new understanding of the loved ones who have to fight the battle by our side. I appreciate that you dedicated the bench in Paul's name. That was so thoughtful. I also thought that it was wonderful that his legacy lives on through the names of his cousins. What a wonderful way to celebrate his life. I cried when I read how you were shunned by your friends. I was cheering when you wrote how you found new friends who cared and was willing to invest in your experiences. I wish your family happiness and peace. I hope Ben has many grandchildren for you to enjoy. :) Paul's life was something to be greatly celebrated. He was a talented music creator, a loving son (even though it was hard to see sometimes), and a man who wanted to o find the light in the darkness, but unfortunately lost the bipolar battle. Please know that I know the feelings he was experiencing as he made the decision to lay in the bathtub. It was nothing you or your husband did. It's a chilling pain that suffocates us with the thought of loss. Loss of stability, loss of normal, loss of loves, and loss of independence. The destiny for many of us is a life full of living as ghosts. We fight the need to die and in the end die as we live. I thank you for taking the time to read this message and hope you have a wonderful evening.”
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And I am thrilled that one of my writing teachers, Barbara Abercrombie, took the time to read and post her lovely review of Leaving the Hall Light On, on her blog, Writing Time - where she provides reading lists, creative writing exercises, and nurturing for the writing community.
I had the pleasure of taking an essay workshop with her a couple of years ago through the Writers’ Program at UCLA Extension. Barbara has published novels, memoir, books for children and numerous personal essays and articles. Her latest book is: A Year of Writing Dangerously: 365 Days of Inspiration and Encouragement (New World Library, June 2012).
“Leaving the Hall Light On by Madeline Sharples is a memoir about the most wrenching subject possible – the suicide of her son after his seven-year struggle with bipolar disorder. I have to admit I put off reading this for awhile because of the subject, but Madeline's tone is so direct, honest, and lacking in self-pity, and the narrative, even though you know what's going to happen, is so compelling and gripping, that it turns into a book you don't want to put down once you start reading. It's also the story of how a family survives this tragedy, how Madeline saves herself and finds a balance of keeping her son's memory alive yet moving on in her own life. The ending is beautiful: her other son's wedding eleven years later.”