Reckless Steps Toward Sanity: A Memoir

Judith Sara Gelt (Author)


At sixteen Judith Sara Gelt finally rebels after spending years watching her warm, Jewish home in Denver disintegrate. It's 1968 and bipolar disorder has been ravaging her mother and has sent her father, a powerful attorney, into a spiteful tailspin. To escape Gelt makes one perilous choice after another, and these decisions carry her, unprepared and alone, into a world that is sometimes cruel and often dangerous. After returning to Denver she works to understand her parents and her past, and she is surprised to discover her own strengths.

Throughout her memoir Gelt reflects upon how risk taking has shaped her relationships with and her attitudes toward men and sex, her daughter, Judaism, and her own eventual diagnosis of major depressive disorder.

Product Details

$19.95  $18.35
University of New Mexico Press
Publish Date
April 01, 2019
9.1 X 0.8 X 8.6 inches | 0.7 pounds
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About the Author

Judith Sara Gelt is a retired middle school teacher and a former lecturer in educational psychology and philosophy. Her work has appeared in various publications, including the Denver Post, the Nashville Review, and Iron Horse Literary Review. She lives in Denver, Colorado.


"[Gelt] opens up her story and allows us entry, where we not only find her story but discover our own."--Joe Mackall, author of The Last Street Before Cleveland: An Accidental Pilgrimage
"With vivid prose, Gelt makes real for us a childhood fraught with family, societal, and sexual tensions while providing hope as she makes a brave journey toward understanding and healing."--Sonja Livingston, author of Ghostbread
"Perfectly paced and composed with an artist's keen eye and ear, this is a brave, painstakingly honest, and ultimately redemptive plunge into the life of a girl and woman we come to love, respect, and, yes, learn from. I highly recommend this moving and important book."--Andre Dubus III, author of House of Sand and Fog
"If you're like me and enjoy looking in the windows of other families, this book is for you. Judith not only pulls back the curtains, she invites you in and offers up a cup of tea and a comfortable seat."--Mom Egg Review
"An inherently interesting, exceptionally well written, and impressively candid memoir."--Midwest Book Review: Wisconsin Bookwatch