Estranged: Leaving Family and Finding Home by Jessica Berger Gross

Estranged: Leaving Family and Finding Home

A powerful, haunting memoir about one woman’s childhood of abuse and her harrowing decision to leave it all behind that redefines our understanding of estrangement and the ability to triumph over adversity.To outsiders, Jessica Berger Gross’s childhood—growing up in a “nice” Jewish family in middle class Long Island—seemed as wholesomely American as any other. But behind c...

Title:Estranged: Leaving Family and Finding Home
Author:
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ISBN:1501101609
Number of Pages:288 pages

Estranged: Leaving Family and Finding Home Reviews

  • Marika

    You truly never know what goes on in the homes of your neighbors and friends do you? This book is a perfect example of how little we do know about the people around us and the abuse that might be going on. Jessica is from the typical, nice Jewish home, (it even has a pool!) but one in which abuse occurs on an almost daily basis. Jessica's father is physically and emotionally abusive to her and during these periods of torment, her mother is just. silent. Similar to The Glass Castle, but one in wh

    You truly never know what goes on in the homes of your neighbors and friends do you? This book is a perfect example of how little we do know about the people around us and the abuse that might be going on. Jessica is from the typical, nice Jewish home, (it even has a pool!) but one in which abuse occurs on an almost daily basis. Jessica's father is physically and emotionally abusive to her and during these periods of torment, her mother is just. silent. Similar to The Glass Castle, but one in which the child/victim comes to term with her abuse and changes the narrative.

    I read an advance copy and was not compensated.

  • Hannah

    I enjoy reading memoirs a lot; part of it is seeing how other people cope with this thing called "life" and with the curveballs that get thrown at them. Another reason is the fact that usually you know things will turn out at least OK. The person made it out of whatever horrible situation they found themselves in and are now able to tell their story. I find solace in that and it makes reading about the aforementioned horrible situations bearable. I also find it important to see how other people

    I enjoy reading memoirs a lot; part of it is seeing how other people cope with this thing called "life" and with the curveballs that get thrown at them. Another reason is the fact that usually you know things will turn out at least OK. The person made it out of whatever horrible situation they found themselves in and are now able to tell their story. I find solace in that and it makes reading about the aforementioned horrible situations bearable. I also find it important to see how other people live - it makes me more empathic person I hope and shows me that there is always more to a person than meets the eye.

    Jessica Berger Gross tells the story of her childhood and her early adult years - about how her father was physically and mentally abusive and how her mother stood by. She does a remarkable job at still painting a well-rounded picture of her parents who are far more than abusers to her - they provide for her and they do love her and still do horrible things. Her parents until the end of their relationship with Jessica Berger Gross never see how all his wholly their fault and none lies with Jessica. No child deserves to be abused and to be scared at home and to internalize all the hateful things they hear.

    I devoured this book in a couple of hours; I just needed to know for sure that she gets out and gets better and finds a way to live with her scars. The way the story is told is wonderfully crafted and painted a vivid picture of Jessica Berger Gross' journey and how difficult it was in places and how much better things got for her. While at the same time showing that those scars do not disappear over night and that she still fights with her memories.

  • Katherine Brennan

    The book “Estranged” was a touching memoir describing a difficult and confusing relationship between a young woman and her family. I found myself thoroughly engaged as I read about her journey to find herself amidst this chaotic and ever-changing set of relationships. Before reading this story, I might have found it difficult to imagine how a person might decide to choose to stop communication with a parent. Berger Gross takes us through the complicated elements in her choice and brings light an

    The book “Estranged” was a touching memoir describing a difficult and confusing relationship between a young woman and her family. I found myself thoroughly engaged as I read about her journey to find herself amidst this chaotic and ever-changing set of relationships. Before reading this story, I might have found it difficult to imagine how a person might decide to choose to stop communication with a parent. Berger Gross takes us through the complicated elements in her choice and brings light and hope through her own self discovery. So beautiful to read about her new family and her commitment to investing in her family with love.

  • Kristen Lewis

    What I love about this memoir is that even though Jessica Berger Gross is telling her own story, it raises such compelling questions for all of us. When are relationships too toxic to hold on too, how can we set boundaries in the relationships we chose, and just how complicated but imperative this process is if we want to live lives in alignment with our own truth. I loved reading this book. It was moving and compelling and made my heart grow. I found it to be so hopeful. How she reconciled her

    What I love about this memoir is that even though Jessica Berger Gross is telling her own story, it raises such compelling questions for all of us. When are relationships too toxic to hold on too, how can we set boundaries in the relationships we chose, and just how complicated but imperative this process is if we want to live lives in alignment with our own truth. I loved reading this book. It was moving and compelling and made my heart grow. I found it to be so hopeful. How she reconciled her own choices and forgave in her own way without choosing to participate in abuse is just such a beautiful and poignant portrait of strength.

  • Cassandra Neyenesch

    I read this book on a plane ride and subsequent long, boring wait at the airport and I'm SO GLAD I had it because it was a great read and made the whole process fly by, pun acknowledged if not intended. I personally don't have many problems with my parents but felt a lot of suspense about how the author was going to get through her childhood and ultimately how she would confront her family. The writing style is honest and intensely-felt, and the details she mined from her memories of her childho

    I read this book on a plane ride and subsequent long, boring wait at the airport and I'm SO GLAD I had it because it was a great read and made the whole process fly by, pun acknowledged if not intended. I personally don't have many problems with my parents but felt a lot of suspense about how the author was going to get through her childhood and ultimately how she would confront her family. The writing style is honest and intensely-felt, and the details she mined from her memories of her childhood in Long Island made even the toughest scenes visceral and absorbing. I thought it was also very interesting how as a mother she decided to do everything the opposite of her own parents-- never to yell, and so on-- something which most of us don't do and therefore perhaps are more likely to repeat some of the worst patterns of our parents. (I know I yell too much, for example). A friend of mine who also had a terrible mother called this "having a reverse guru."

    Lots of food for thought no matter your relationship to your family.

  • Betsy Taylor

    Well written but ultimately I felt like she was selfish in her refusal to let go of her anger. I can see not willing to be able to see and interact with them, but as a mother maybe she could have at least extended more compassion. It also felt like one of those blogs that make you feel bad about your life - the yoga, the garden the perfect family... ain't buying it.

  • Deb

    I received this book through NetGalley and its publisher, Scribner. This is a story about a girl growing up in a dysfunctional Jewish family. The family consists of her father, mother, and two brothers. The trials and tribulations she encounters with an abusive father and submissive mother.

    At times, it feels like a typical teenager complaining about her father. Her parents were involved in helping her often: obtaining a car, buying clothes, attending summer camp. She appears out of control with

    I received this book through NetGalley and its publisher, Scribner. This is a story about a girl growing up in a dysfunctional Jewish family. The family consists of her father, mother, and two brothers. The trials and tribulations she encounters with an abusive father and submissive mother.

    At times, it feels like a typical teenager complaining about her father. Her parents were involved in helping her often: obtaining a car, buying clothes, attending summer camp. She appears out of control with drugs, alcohol and sex. She shares a few instances where her father is verbally and physically abuse while her mother stands by.

    She rebels against her parents. She gets married and doesn’t invite her family. She has a miscarriage and provides heart-wrenching details of the experience – without her mother. Eventually she has a child and doesn’t share the news with her family. The child never will know his grandparents. Jess has made it clear she wants nothing to do with her family. This isn’t just about her family; she has few long-term friends.

    As a parent of adult children, my heart ached for the parents. Perhaps the abuse was more prevalent than the book relays. I’m confident Jess’s parents weren’t without faults. However, Jess was absolutely unforgiving. It felt like a harsh sentence. Is she a bit spoiled?

  • Jodi Gerbi

    The author gives a very accurate and brave account of what estrangement is like while still being fair to her family of origin. It is a must read for anyone, estranged or not to get people talking about that very unspoken about subject of abuse within families and possibly can give the courage to someone who needs to do this in order to have a better quality of life.


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