Narrated By: Mariel Hemingway
Duration: 9 hours and 7 minutes
What to expect
A moving, compelling memoir about growing up and escaping the tragic legacy of mental illness, suicide, addiction, and depression in one of America’s most famous families: the Hemingways
She opens her eyes. The room is dark. She hears yelling, smashed plates, and wishes it was all a terrible dream. But it isn’t. This is what it was like growing up as a Hemingway. In this deeply moving, searingly honest new memoir, actress and mental health icon Mariel Hemingway shares in candid detail the story of her troubled childhood in a famous family haunted by depression, alcoholism, illness, and suicide. Born just a few months after her grandfather Ernest Hemingway shot himself, it was Mariel’s mission as a girl to escape the desperate cycle of severe mental health issues that had plagued generations of her family. Surrounded by a family tortured by alcoholism (Mariel’s parents), depression (her sister Margaux), suicide (her grandfather and four other members of her family), schizophrenia (her sister Muffet), and cancer (her mother), it was all the young Mariel could do to keep her head. In a compassionate voice, she reveals her painful struggle to stay sane as the youngest child in her family, coping with the chaos by becoming obsessive about her food, schedule, and organization.
The twisted legacy of her family has never quite let go of Mariel, but in this memoir she opens up about her claustrophobic marriage, her faltering acting career, and her turning to spiritual healers and charlatans for solace. Mariel has ultimately written a story of triumph about learning to overcome her family’s demons and developing love and deep compassion for them. At last she can tell the true story of the tragedies and troubles of the Hemingway family, and she delivers a book that beckons comparisons with Mary Karr and Jeanette Walls.
Memoirs, Biography: general, Gender studies: women and girls, Biography: arts and entertainment
Listen to a sample
“Her memoir of growing up Hemingway…[shows] a progression toward self-awareness evident in the strength of writing later in her book.”
“Brings to life the notoriously chaotic legacy of the Hemingway family…in this revealing memoir.”
“A beach-chair must.”
“Mariel was written before about some of these family issues but never with the full disclosure and unvarnished candor of this alternately harrowing and inspiring group family portrait.”
“Details her life growing up in rural Idaho, her parents’ alcoholism, her sister’s depression and suicide, and Mariel’s experience filming Manhattan, and dealing with Woody Allen.”
“[As] actress-turned-author Hemingway ponders her life and career in light of her famous family’s self-destructive history…we find her psychically well-adjusted enough to be the author of a self-help book and this generically positive but fairly uneventful celebrity memoir. Kudos to the author for mostly avoiding her family’s ‘curse’.”