Gracie & Albert
By Cheryl Grant Gillespie
Androscoggin Press (2019)
In her memoir, Gracie & Albert, Cheryl Grant Gillespie does much, much more for me than enhance the story of her birth family from what it was in her collaborative effort, Compassionate Journey: Honoring Our Mothers’ Stories. The powerful depiction of her parents’ relationship within the crucible of Gracie’s mental illness is so vivid that it brings to mind dark incidents in my own family, happenings often hidden from my view as a child.
Her use of often stinging dialog painfully focuses a spotlight on treatments of the insane during mid-twentieth century, cruelly archaic by today’s standards. Yet, the ability of the Grant family members to accept their fates and tribulations reveals the strengths of their love for each other.
Each time Gracie pulled her legs up into a fetal position in a chair in her doctor’s office, the pain of her own reality could not be any sharper. With this and other compelling images, Cheryl shows her mastery of her craft.