Estranged
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 closed doors, Jessica suffered years of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her father, whose mood would veer unexpectedly from loving to violent. At the age of twenty-eight, still reeling from the trauma but emotionally dependent on her dysfunctional family, Jessica made the anguished decision to cut ties with them entirely. Years later, living in Maine with a loving husband and young son, having finally found happiness, Jessica is convinced the decision saved her life. In her powerful memoir reminiscent of Jeannette Walls’s bestseller The Glass Castle, Jessica breaks through common social taboos and bravely recounts the painful, self-defeating ways in which she internalized her abusive childhood, how she came to the monumental decision to break free from her family, and how she endured the difficult road that followed. Ultimately, by extracting herself from the damaging patterns and relationships of the past, Jessica has managed to carve an inspiring path to happiness—one she has created on her own terms. Her story, told here in a careful, unflinching, and forthright way, completely reframes how we think about family and the past.

Estranged Details

TitleEstranged
Author
FormatHardcover
ReleaseJul 11th, 2017
PublisherScribner
ISBN1501101609
ISBN-139781501101601
Number of pages288 pages
Rating
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Contemporary

Estranged Review

  • Hannah
    June 2, 2017
    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.
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  • Marika
    March 1, 2017
    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.
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  • Jodi Gerbi
    July 26, 2017
    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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  • Cassandra Neyenesch
    July 12, 2017
    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.
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  • Kristen Lewis
    July 10, 2017
    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.
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  • Katherine Brennan
    July 4, 2017
    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.
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  • Karen Levin
    July 10, 2017
    A thoughtful and moving memoir about how family relationships shape us, and about how one can gain the strength and courage to end relationships that have caused deep harm. This book illustrates our capacity to understand, process and forgive abuse while choosing not to continue the relationship in which it took place. The writer's familiar, conversational style takes you along with her on her inspiring journey from an unpredictable abusive childhood to adulthood where she was able to create the A thoughtful and moving memoir about how family relationships shape us, and about how one can gain the strength and courage to end relationships that have caused deep harm. This book illustrates our capacity to understand, process and forgive abuse while choosing not to continue the relationship in which it took place. The writer's familiar, conversational style takes you along with her on her inspiring journey from an unpredictable abusive childhood to adulthood where she was able to create the family she always craved.
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  • Rhonda Lomazow
    July 5, 2017
    No one knows what goes on behind the closed doors of neighbors homes.The abuse Jessica describes at the hands of her father&I found her mother just as guilty .Parents normally would do anything to protect their child but Jessica's mother allowed the abuse .A raw real book by a very brave,woman.The steps she took to break away from this abuse&make her own life & family hurray for Jessica &her new safe life,
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  • Betsy Taylor
    July 16, 2017
    DepressingWell 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.
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  • Brian Hasbrouck
    July 23, 2017
    Really phenomenal book - touches on abusive families and NYC. Resonated deeply. So happy I picked it up!
  • Kay
    April 12, 2017
    Thanks to author, Scribner and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book. While I got it free it had no bearing on the rating I gave it.Wish that there would have been some sort of reconciliation but I didn't live through what author had to deal with.Sad but honest account of a hurt child/adult.
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  • Jessica
    July 17, 2017
    Intriguing memoir that gives a real feel for the contradictions of growing up in an abusive family. And while I, thankfully, haven't been in a similar abusive situation, I have always been fascinated with the difficulty some people have accepting someone else's familial estrangement. Even in circumstances where the abusive parent has been unwilling to accept responsibility and is often still repeating abusive patterns. So this is a good book for those in circumstances similar to the author and f Intriguing memoir that gives a real feel for the contradictions of growing up in an abusive family. And while I, thankfully, haven't been in a similar abusive situation, I have always been fascinated with the difficulty some people have accepting someone else's familial estrangement. Even in circumstances where the abusive parent has been unwilling to accept responsibility and is often still repeating abusive patterns. So this is a good book for those in circumstances similar to the author and for those of us who aren't.
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