While You Were Out: An Intimate Family Portrait of Mental Illness in an Era of Silence
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About the Author
"Meg Kissinger is a world-class reporter and a rip-roaring storyteller. Her heartfelt, eviscerating, deeply introspective investigation of long-held family secrets will leave you quaking with rage about our broken mental-health system--and grateful that writers like her are on the case."
--Robert Kolker, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Hidden Valley Road
--Tom Insel, MD, Former Director of the National Institute of Mental Health "Frank and revelatory, While You Were Out is a story of overwhelming power, chronicling the kind of American tragedy that feels both aberrant and ever-present."
--Rachel Aviv, author of Strangers to Ourselves "Bearing witness is an act of courage. Meg Kissinger has courageously given us a chronicle of love, loss, family and obligation, all refracted through the lens of mental illness. Here is a story as urgent and indelible as the bonds that hold its characters together. In speaking to her family's experience she has laid bare our own collective one."
--Jelani Cobb, Dean of Columbia Journalism School and author of The Substance of Hope "For years, Meg Kissinger had the mental health beat pretty much to herself. For the readers of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, she turned out one incredible story after another about the ordinary people who suffered from mental illness and addiction--and from the failure of health care institutions and local and state government to care for them. She wrote occasionally about her own family too. Now, in this gripping and poignant memoir, she has put it all together, telling the big-picture story of this country's catastrophic inability to create anything resembling a mental health system and the impact that those failings and a ruthless illness had on her own family. If you want to understand mental health in America, this is required reading."
--Rob Waters, Founding Editor of MindSiteNews "Meg Kissinger's memoir of a boisterous, loving, troubled family does the nearly impossible: tells a deeply personal story in the context of a nation-wide mental crisis, treating siblings and strangers with equal compassion and journalistic rigor. A beautiful, heartfelt book."
--Liz Scheier, author of Never Simple "A smart, stirring family memoir of suicide and survival, and a bracing call for more investigative journalism on mental health and addiction."
--Patrick J. Kennedy, former Congressman (D-RI) and New York Times bestselling co-author of A Common Struggle "More than a poignant memoir....this is an important and wise book, one which sheds light on a subject that is still surrounded by shame and silence."
--Daphne Merkin, author of the memoir This Close to Happy: A Reckoning with Depression and the novel 22 Minutes of Unconditional Love