Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Book Review: Leaving The Hall Light On

Leaving The Hall Light On By Madeline Sharples
Product Details:
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Lucky Press, LLC (April 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984631720
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984631728

Product Description: (From the Publisher)
Leaving the Hall Light On is about living after loss. It's about finding peace and balance and various ways the author, Madeline Sharples, finds to bring herself together after feeling so helpless and out of control during her son Paul's 7-year struggle with bipolar disease and after his suicide in September 1999. The author's book shares several aspects of her son's illness and how she and her husband, and their other son, Ben, survived Paul's suicide, as it: 1) describes the frustration, anger, and guilt of trying to care for an adult child with mental illness 2) gives mothers and fathers who have experienced a child's death ways to get out of the deep dark hole they are in, 3) tells people the realities of mental illness, 4) describes the steps Sharples took in living with this loss; the first and foremost that she chose to liveand go on with life and take care of herself as a woman, wife, mother, writer, and 5) shows readers that grief is love in action. To let ourselves grieve is to feel the depth of our love for as long as it takes. For those of us whose children have died, that may take the rest of our lives, but we will discover the gifts of our loss in the process.

About the Author:
Although Madeline Sharples worked for most of her professional life as a technical writer and editor, grant writer, and proposal manager, she fell in love with poetry and creative writing in grade school. She pursued her writing interests to high school while studying journalism and writing for the high school newspaper, and she studied journalism in college. However, she only began to fulfill her dream to be a professional writer later in life.
In addition to Leaving the Hall Light On, Madeline co-authored Blue-Collar Women: Trailblazing Women Take on Men-Only Jobs (New Horizon Press, 1994) a book about women in nontraditional professions and co-edited the poetry anthology, The Great American Poetry Show, Volumes 1 (Muse Media, 2004) and 2 (2010). Her poetry accompanies the work of photographer Paul Blieden in two books, The Emerging Goddess and Intimacy as well as appearing in print and online on many occasions.
Madeline is now a full-time writer and is working on her next book, a novel, based in the 1920s. She and Bob, her husband of 40 years, live in Manhattan Beach, California, a small beach community south of Los Angeles.

My Thoughts:
Heartbreaking, and yet beautiful.  As a mother, I can't imagine any greater pain than losing a child under any circumstance, let alone adding the trials and tribulations of dealing with a mental illness.  In this vivid memoir, Madeline Sharples provides a deeply vivid account of her experiences, before and after her son's suicide.  Not only does Sharples account the affects upon her personally, but also how this tragedy affected her family and the individual relationships within.  The reader is taken on an intimate emotional journey that ranges from grief and even hatred, to acceptance and hope.  I highly recommend this book to everyone whether you're a parent or not, this information presented is invaluable and can provide a souce of comfort to anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one.
At a past speaking engagement I attended, Dr. Maya Angelou spoke of her book, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, as a means of being a rainbow for other to take comfort in during their own time of crisis.  Madeline Sharples is truly a rainbow!  By sharing her own painful story, others will know they are not alone and that is truly a gift in its own right!  My overall rating is easily a Five.

Please stop back tomorrow for a special visit from this wonderfully talented author!



  1. Lovely Review!
    People tend to shy away from the topics of mental illness and suicide, but it is amazing how many of our lives have been touched by these events. In fact, I just talked to a lady last week whose daughter's friend had taken her own life--no one ever suspected.
    We need to read more, talk more, and share more!
    Thank you.

  2. Thanks for your response. I am truly struck by how many people are touched by mental illness and suicide, and of course, now that my book is out, I hear about it more and more.

  3. Kinberly, Thank you so much for your lovely review of my memoir. I look forward to returning here tomorrow. All best, Madeline

    Glad your computer is working again.


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