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I'm So Glad You're Here: A Memoir

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I’m So Glad You’re Here is the story of a family disrupted by ramifications of a father’s mental illness. The memoir opens with a riveting account of Gay, age eighteen, witnessing her father being bound in a straitjacket and carried out of the house on a stretcher. The trauma she experiences escalates when, after her father has had electroshock treatments at a state mental I’m So Glad You’re Here is the story of a family disrupted by ramifications of a father’s mental illness. The memoir opens with a riveting account of Gay, age eighteen, witnessing her father being bound in a straitjacket and carried out of the house on a stretcher. The trauma she experiences escalates when, after her father has had electroshock treatments at a state mental hospital, her parents leave her in a college dorm room and move from Massachusetts to Florida without her. She feels abandoned. Both her parents have gone missing. Decades later, when Gay and her three much-older siblings show up for their father’s funeral, she witnesses her sundered family’s inability to gather together. Eventually, she is diagnosed with PTSD of abandonment and treated with EMDR therapy―and finally begins to heal. Poignant and powerful, I’m So Glad You’re Here is Gay’s exploration of the idea that while the wounds we carry from growing up in fractured families stay with us, they do not have to control us―a reflective journey that will inspire readers to think about their own relational lives.


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I’m So Glad You’re Here is the story of a family disrupted by ramifications of a father’s mental illness. The memoir opens with a riveting account of Gay, age eighteen, witnessing her father being bound in a straitjacket and carried out of the house on a stretcher. The trauma she experiences escalates when, after her father has had electroshock treatments at a state mental I’m So Glad You’re Here is the story of a family disrupted by ramifications of a father’s mental illness. The memoir opens with a riveting account of Gay, age eighteen, witnessing her father being bound in a straitjacket and carried out of the house on a stretcher. The trauma she experiences escalates when, after her father has had electroshock treatments at a state mental hospital, her parents leave her in a college dorm room and move from Massachusetts to Florida without her. She feels abandoned. Both her parents have gone missing. Decades later, when Gay and her three much-older siblings show up for their father’s funeral, she witnesses her sundered family’s inability to gather together. Eventually, she is diagnosed with PTSD of abandonment and treated with EMDR therapy―and finally begins to heal. Poignant and powerful, I’m So Glad You’re Here is Gay’s exploration of the idea that while the wounds we carry from growing up in fractured families stay with us, they do not have to control us―a reflective journey that will inspire readers to think about their own relational lives.

54 review for I'm So Glad You're Here: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Savanna (savbeebooks)

    Thank you to Booksparks for the free copy to review. Once again, it doesn't seem fair to rate a memoir with stars. Pamela tells the story of what it was like the day her father was removed from their house in a straight jacket and brought to the hospital. He then received numerous electroshock treatments. A few years later while in college, they move to Florida without Pam, who feels abandoned by her parents. After many years of being apart, Pam is asked by her mother to come and stay with her, a Thank you to Booksparks for the free copy to review. Once again, it doesn't seem fair to rate a memoir with stars. Pamela tells the story of what it was like the day her father was removed from their house in a straight jacket and brought to the hospital. He then received numerous electroshock treatments. A few years later while in college, they move to Florida without Pam, who feels abandoned by her parents. After many years of being apart, Pam is asked by her mother to come and stay with her, as Pam's father is not doing well. Pam agrees, drops everything and heads to Florida. There, she is confronted with the distance between her and her older siblings, death of her father, and her mother drinking. This memoir is short and sweet. I enjoyed the different mixed media that was in the book - it had recipes, journal entires, poems, and quotes. The writing style was pretty fluid, I just wish there was more background in this book. The book is only about 150 pages, and it spans from when Pam is 18 years old to in her 50s, with snippets of when she was 5 and 6 years old. I was wanting more information about certain parts in the book. I would have been OK with another 100 pages if it meant I was going to get a more well rounded story. Overall, a quick read if you are interested in memoirs!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    I’ve often thought after reading Educated about how I would attempt to write my own memoir about my childhood trauma and dysfunctional family. Pamela Gay takes a similar episodic approach as Tara Westover and wraps up the story with her own healing path. This is a much easier read than Educated, in that there is not many references to childhood abuse, this story follows more of her adult life. It touches upon the foundations of rejection, abandonment and beginnings of mental illness in childhood I’ve often thought after reading Educated about how I would attempt to write my own memoir about my childhood trauma and dysfunctional family. Pamela Gay takes a similar episodic approach as Tara Westover and wraps up the story with her own healing path. This is a much easier read than Educated, in that there is not many references to childhood abuse, this story follows more of her adult life. It touches upon the foundations of rejection, abandonment and beginnings of mental illness in childhood but focuses more on the aftermath in adulthood. The snippets follow a time when Pamela goes to stay with her mother to help out as her father is passing away in a care facility. She goes back and forward in time filling in essential bits of how the family got to the fractured state they are in. What I really liked is that, unlike her siblings, she was able to see her mother as a person and not just as her mother. She showed great empathy, that even through her own feelings she could support and care for her mother. The dysfunctional family bit did raise my anxiety a bit as there is infighting which reminded me in a lot of ways of my own family. But, the arc of progression and healing she shows is hopeful and seems attainable rather than being some heavy spiritual rote self-help story. Thanks to Booksparks for a review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Story Circle Book Reviews

    From the very first page, Pamela Gay takes the reader into the most traumatic day of her life, the day she spends the rest of her years to date recovering from. She is eighteen, home from college for Thanksgiving, and her father is being taken from the house in a strait jacket. Her mother tells Pamela to “watch the turkey” as she leaves her home alone. A few years later, after her father’s electroshock treatments, both parents move to Florida while Gay is in college in Massachusetts, the second From the very first page, Pamela Gay takes the reader into the most traumatic day of her life, the day she spends the rest of her years to date recovering from. She is eighteen, home from college for Thanksgiving, and her father is being taken from the house in a strait jacket. Her mother tells Pamela to “watch the turkey” as she leaves her home alone. A few years later, after her father’s electroshock treatments, both parents move to Florida while Gay is in college in Massachusetts, the second trauma: abandonment. This is not an easy read for anyone who has mental illness in their family, or in their own experience. It can also trigger anxiety for readers who felt abandoned as a child, were exposed to adult dysfunction, or came from unhappy families. One page includes a disturbing photograph of an image the author created during this trying time. That said, Gay does a thorough job of explaining how she felt and how she overcame it. Her structure is an unusual one for memoir. She created a table of contents with the topics: Prelude, Decades Later:1995, Healing From Trauma, Perception and Postlude, and follows the story with extensive Endnotes with references to books and articles she has researched. Many of her chapters are less than a page in length. She includes numerous quotes from other writers to illustrate her points, and she even includes a recipe she made for her mother on one visit. The timeline is a bit jumpy, but not hard to follow, as she goes forward and back through her trauma, her reunion with her mother and much older siblings, and numerous arguments and unpleasant encounters. Her therapy sessions and the research she has done on healing trauma seemed worthy of a separate book to me. I would have liked more description of her growing up years, and less focus on her mother's life, but that was the author's choice, as all memoir writers must do. With all her focus on personal trauma, I wished for more details on what the author liked to do, her time with friends, etc. For readers and writers of memoir who want to see how a unique narrative structure works, I’m So Glad You’re Here will prove to be instructive and intriguing, like putting together a puzzle when one knows how the final picture is supposed to look. This was not a memoir I enjoyed, because of the subject matter and the feeling of distance from the author, but I commend the author for diving into her own troubled past to heal herself and then sharing that journey with others, that they may find hope as well. This book was reviewed for Story Circle Book Reviews by Linda Wisniewski.

  4. 5 out of 5

    BreeAnn (She Just Loves Books)

    My Synopsis: I’m So Glad You’re Here is a memoir written by Pamela Gay. She shares her very traumatic early life experiences and how those shaped her life. Pamela witnessed her father’s forced removal from their family home at a young age. He was restrained and wheeled out right in front of her, leaving a terrible mental imprint on her. Pamela’s family later moved to Florida leaving her behind, which further impacts her mental health. Pamela shares with the reader that she was later diagnosed with My Synopsis: I’m So Glad You’re Here is a memoir written by Pamela Gay. She shares her very traumatic early life experiences and how those shaped her life. Pamela witnessed her father’s forced removal from their family home at a young age. He was restrained and wheeled out right in front of her, leaving a terrible mental imprint on her. Pamela’s family later moved to Florida leaving her behind, which further impacts her mental health. Pamela shares with the reader that she was later diagnosed with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. She tries a multitude of methods to help her, but finally finds eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) as a therapy method and finds that it helps her. This leads her to the beginning of her healing process. How I Felt: Pamela Gay’s story was written with such an honest, emotional voice. I thought that she was very open about her experiences and her recovery process, and I appreciated that. She talks a lot about her family’s dynamic, how they interacted with one another, and also about their mental health history. I like how this information helped to shape her story, and I found it very interesting. I’m So Glad You’re Here is a fairly short memoir, at 168 pages, and while I did get a good sense for her overall story, I would have enjoyed more information. Her first experience is at 5 or six years old and she discusses events all the way into her 50s. It’s a lot of time to put into a 150+ page book, so there are definitely portions of her story I would have liked to delve deeper into. What she was willing to share though, was very interesting. Pamela includes a variety of information in the story, which reduced the overall length of the narrative, but provided such an interesting addition to her story. She includes quotes, entries from journals, and poems. There were even recipes added throughout the book, which I really enjoyed. Overall, I thought this was an emotional memoir that had a good story with shines a light on the importance of mental health and wellness. Content Warnings: Mental health, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), abandonment. To Read or Not To Read: I would recommend I’m So Glad You’re Here for readers that enjoy an emotional memoir that focuses on the journey to recovery. I was provided an advanced reader's copy of this book for free. I am leaving my review voluntarily.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    In this memoir, Pamela Gay reflects on the trauma she experienced after witnessing her father physically restrained to a stretcher and transported away to a psychiatric hospital only to later be treated with electroshock therapy treatments. She recalls fragments of memories and delves into how each experience played a role in shaping her life. Gay is only diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) later in life and after seeking various therapeutic interventions ranging from medication In this memoir, Pamela Gay reflects on the trauma she experienced after witnessing her father physically restrained to a stretcher and transported away to a psychiatric hospital only to later be treated with electroshock therapy treatments. She recalls fragments of memories and delves into how each experience played a role in shaping her life. Gay is only diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) later in life and after seeking various therapeutic interventions ranging from medications to talk therapy, does she discover eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy and start on a path of healing. . It’s hard to put a rating on someone’s personal experience and life story but Gay has a unique way of being open with her lived experience. The fractured family dynamic, familial psychiatric history, and significant life events all contributed to putting a stamp on her life. I was genuinely moved by her honest narrative though I would have welcomed an additional 100-pages if it meant more background information or details. I found that while she highlighted the memories that stood out to her and had meaning in her life, a lot of it was broken up, jumping back and forth in time periods. This left me wanting more however I am sensitive to the fact that if Gay wanted to share more, she would have. I am a strong advocate for mental health having worked in the field for the past 12-years. This memoir is crafted from the heart and delivers a personal experience unique to her. While brief in comparison to other memoirs, I do thank the author for inviting us to read her story and applaud her for being brave enough to share it with the world. . Thanks to @BookSparks and @SheWritesPress {#partner} for gifting me with this copy in exchange for an independent and honest review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tina Rae

    This is a beautifully written, absolutely haunting story. This memoir opens with Gay’s father being taken away in a straitjacket on Thanksgiving Day and the story that follows is how that moment forever changed both her parents and her relationship with them. It moves into Gay as an adult, coming to terms with physically losing the people she’d already lost long ago. My only real problem with this book is that it’s so short. Coming in at just under 150 pages, it’s definitely a quick read and with This is a beautifully written, absolutely haunting story. This memoir opens with Gay’s father being taken away in a straitjacket on Thanksgiving Day and the story that follows is how that moment forever changed both her parents and her relationship with them. It moves into Gay as an adult, coming to terms with physically losing the people she’d already lost long ago. My only real problem with this book is that it’s so short. Coming in at just under 150 pages, it’s definitely a quick read and with short chapters to boot. But I wanted a little more between the time Gay’s father was taken away and his death. I would’ve glad spent another 100 pages or more with Gay’s lovely writing and the aftermath of her life between those events. I get that it's hard to share this information and Gay did a wonderful job with the stories that are provided in this book. But I feel like it would've been an even more powerful story with more background between that awful Thanksgiving as a teenager and her adulthood. So I overall, this is a wonderful memoir about a lot of tough subjects: grief, pain, mental illness. And Gay handles them all beautifully. I just wanted this book to keep going on! I definitely recommend if you’re looking for a good memoir that’s a quick read! And have I mentioned the lovely writing? Thank you so much to BookSparks for my gifted copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    Thank you BookSparks for the advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for my honest review! I'm So Glad You're Here: A Memoir is the story of Pamela Gay as she recounts her experience growing up in a family deeply affected by mental illness. What I Loved: I really enjoyed the writing style of this memoir. The book is full of quotes, poetry, letters and passages that help express the emotion of the author. The chapters are very short, which I think is nice considering the issues can be so heav Thank you BookSparks for the advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for my honest review! I'm So Glad You're Here: A Memoir is the story of Pamela Gay as she recounts her experience growing up in a family deeply affected by mental illness. What I Loved: I really enjoyed the writing style of this memoir. The book is full of quotes, poetry, letters and passages that help express the emotion of the author. The chapters are very short, which I think is nice considering the issues can be so heavy at times. I loved the way Gay expresses all the complex emotions that go along with caring for mental health and elderly family members. I could easily emphasize with each person's feelings. Some sections were truly heart-wrenching. What I Didn't Love: I wished the book was longer! This was a very short book coming in at less than 200 pages and I would have actually loved 200 more. I was craving more detail and memories to go along with the chosen selections. However, I understand sharing your life difficulties and pain is tough so I respect the author's choice to keep this short. I definitely recommend it if you are looking for a short, emotional memoir.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Gibbs

    Thank you to @booksparks for my copy. 💕⁣ ⁣ In this memoir, Gay opens up about her fractured family due to her father’s mental illness. She discusses abandonment, trauma, and the journey to healing. This book is a quick read at only about 150 pages.⁣ ⁣ My thoughts: The author has a beautiful writing style and I admire her so much for being brave enough to put her story out in the world. I only wish it was a tad longer. As a memoir, it’s not necessarily as “fun” as a fictional read but it kept my inte Thank you to @booksparks for my copy. 💕⁣ ⁣ In this memoir, Gay opens up about her fractured family due to her father’s mental illness. She discusses abandonment, trauma, and the journey to healing. This book is a quick read at only about 150 pages.⁣ ⁣ My thoughts: The author has a beautiful writing style and I admire her so much for being brave enough to put her story out in the world. I only wish it was a tad longer. As a memoir, it’s not necessarily as “fun” as a fictional read but it kept my interest and I think this book is important and powerful. It shows just how much and for how long we can hold on to trauma and let it affect our lives. It sheds light on the struggles happening in many families, including some of our own. To get real here, it inspired me to reflect on my own issues growing up in a broken family with a strained maternal relationship and realize the importance of pursuing help to heal. I would recommend this book if you are looking for a quick read, a memoir, or just an honest discussion about mental health/overcoming trauma.⁣ ⁣

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is a quick and easy read for anyone interested in memoir, especially family dysfunction. It is not difficult for the sensitive reader, so this is a good introduction to the genre for someone who might otherwise shy away from traumatic material. Memory and all its fragmentation is a challenge for any memoirist but Gay embraces fragmentation by deliberately employing a mixed-media approach, using journal entries, family recipes, a photograph, letters, and so forth. I really enjoyed the unique This is a quick and easy read for anyone interested in memoir, especially family dysfunction. It is not difficult for the sensitive reader, so this is a good introduction to the genre for someone who might otherwise shy away from traumatic material. Memory and all its fragmentation is a challenge for any memoirist but Gay embraces fragmentation by deliberately employing a mixed-media approach, using journal entries, family recipes, a photograph, letters, and so forth. I really enjoyed the unique structure and this was one of my favorite features of the memoir. The memoir also captures the ongoing work of healing from relational trauma, how time and experience change our perspective, requiring us to constantly integrate new information we learn about the past. Gay's story is an achievement in healing from trauma, complete with a surprise triumph at the end.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Maggie Siciliano

    3.5⭐️ When Pamela Gay was eighteen she witnessed her father being taken away to the state mental hospital in a straitjacket. What followed was years of trauma, abandonment issues, and strained family relationships. I’m So Glad You’re Here is the story of a family disrupted by ramifications of a father’s mental illness, and a daughter’s journey to healing. This is a beautifully written memoir. I loved the short chapters that included poetry, journal entries, recipes, and letters. I think this book 3.5⭐️ When Pamela Gay was eighteen she witnessed her father being taken away to the state mental hospital in a straitjacket. What followed was years of trauma, abandonment issues, and strained family relationships. I’m So Glad You’re Here is the story of a family disrupted by ramifications of a father’s mental illness, and a daughter’s journey to healing. This is a beautifully written memoir. I loved the short chapters that included poetry, journal entries, recipes, and letters. I think this book has something for everyone and it offers important lessons about childhood and family. While it always feels wrong to give someone’s very personal experiences a ⭐️ rating, I just wanted more from Pamela’s story! This book is short but heavy, and content warnings include: mental illness, death of a parent, suicide attempts, addiction/alcoholism, and PTSD. Thank you @booksparks & @shewritespress for my gifted copy and including me on tour! This one is available today 5/26/20!

  11. 5 out of 5

    S Anderson

    A short memoir about the author dealing with the death of her parents. Her father suffered from mental illness and both her mother and she had strained relationships with her older siblings. While it was a tough subject Pamela kept the narrative from becoming overwhelmingly bleak by including some happy memories and recipes.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Karen Benedetto

    An infuriating read. Not sure what the point was except maybe a therapist said it would do her good to write it. Ugh.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tina

  14. 4 out of 5

    elysa

  15. 5 out of 5

    booksforbrit

  16. 5 out of 5

    OTIS

  17. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Cheresnick

  18. 4 out of 5

    Robert Pfleegor

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ingrid

  20. 5 out of 5

    Megan | readingwithmegan

  21. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sara

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lucianna Wolfstone

  25. 5 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jodi Heselschwerdt

  27. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Gerhart

  28. 5 out of 5

    Shantel

  29. 4 out of 5

    Marsha Lambert

  30. 5 out of 5

    Brenda Maki

  31. 5 out of 5

    Melisa Dowling

  32. 4 out of 5

    Christine Eckstein

  33. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Peterson

  34. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Bowcutt

  35. 5 out of 5

    Bill Schlott

  36. 5 out of 5

    Melissa ahmed

  37. 4 out of 5

    Liz Bowcutt

  38. 4 out of 5

    Ron

  39. 4 out of 5

    Karyn Palmer

  40. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

  41. 4 out of 5

    Kim Ellis

  42. 5 out of 5

    Anna

  43. 4 out of 5

    Betty

  44. 5 out of 5

    Tracy Dishman

  45. 4 out of 5

    Lydia Wallace

  46. 4 out of 5

    Micielle

  47. 5 out of 5

    Marti Wilson

  48. 5 out of 5

    Tabatha

  49. 4 out of 5

    D. Eisenbise

  50. 4 out of 5

    Amy

  51. 5 out of 5

    Jimmy

  52. 5 out of 5

    Barry

  53. 4 out of 5

    Bettye Short

  54. 5 out of 5

    Sherri

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