Swallow the Ocean

Swallow the Ocean

Charismatic, beautiful Sally Flynn was the center of her daughters' imaginations, particularly Laura's. Without warning, life as they knew it changed as paranoid schizophrenia overtook Sally. Whether it was accusing Laura?s father of trying to win her over to the side of Satan, or buying only certain products that were evil-free, glimmers of her mother?s future paranoia gr Charismatic, beautiful Sally Flynn was the center of her daughters' imaginations, particularly Laura's. Without warni...

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Title:Swallow the Ocean
Author:Laura M. Flynn
Rating:
Genres:Autobiography
ISBN:Swallow the Ocean: A Memoir
ISBN
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:304 pages pages

Swallow the Ocean Reviews

  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    Sep 14, 2014
    This was required reading for a course I'm auditing in creative non-fiction. It's clear that the author doesn't remember everything about her childhood. This isn't a criticism, because who does, but I think because of this she may focus a bit too much on repetitive details of playti...
  • Caroline
    Jan 25, 2014
    Well written memoir of a mother's schizophrenia. I am really impressed by the way she was able to capture the negative symptoms - wooden withdrawal, lack of empathy. She also conveys the powerlessness of childhood, and the personal effects of chromic fear. I seldom comment on other rev...
  • Jane
    May 28, 2008
    Had been hearing about this book, and caught the tail-end of an interview with Laura Flynn on MPR a few weeks ago. Why is it that reading about and/or observing other people's major family dysfunction is always so compelling? This book reminded me, in some ways, of "The Glass Castle" b...
  • Jaylin
    Jul 22, 2010
    Interesting topic. What drove me crazy about this book is she spent more time talking about games she and her sisters played in drawn out detail. It was ok one or two times but it was so many times that it drove ME crazy. I felt so bad for her mother. Her husband left her, the kids lef...
  • Andrea
    Jun 10, 2019
    A dark but good story about three young girls (author is one of them) growing up in the 1970s with a mother battling schizophrenia (carefully chosen language there based on a part of this book). Kids today (yes, I know I sound like an old woman) thankfully will never fully understand t...
  • Lizzie
    Jan 26, 2015
    So-so memoir of growing up with a mother who was paranoid schizophrenic. Her father left and wasn?t able to get custody for several years. She does a good job of describing daily life with her mom and sisters, her mom?s many restrictions based on paranoid delusions, and the girls' ...
  • Bridget
    Sep 19, 2008
    This book is lovingly written and is an inspiring portrait of a family struggling to manage living with schizophrenia. I fell in love with each and every one of the main characters and deeply admire their fighting spirit and their ability to survive and come out the other side relative...
  • Juliette
    Jun 07, 2008
    I am a sucker for any memoir about the 1970's. It's even better if a memoir is set in San Francisco, and it is the icing on the cake if Patty Hearst is mentioned in the story. I am also a sucker for memoirs about mental illness. Swallow the Ocean contains all of these elements. Overa...
  • Leslie Zampetti
    Jan 30, 2009
    Both poignant and matter-of-fact simultaneously, Flynn's memoir of her childhood spent coping with her mother's schizophrenia is well-written. Her story examines how children know something is wrong and how they cope, despite not having the intellectual knowledge of adults with regard ...
  • Laura
    Jan 03, 2009
    Laura Flynn will be in Little Falls April 4 & 5th 2009 to teach at Great River Arts Association (What's in a Word? a 2-day workshop on writing family memoir) I plan to read her book before the workshop. I've started reading Swallow the Ocean and am already enthralled with the wr...
  • Susan
    Jul 10, 2009
    A decently written memoir about a mother who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. Written by the middle of three daughters, set in San Francisco in the 1970s. The writing style is actually quite good for a memoir, and the emotion is quite genuine. I guess my only complaint is that it i...
  • MK
    Feb 02, 2009
    Swallow the Ocean is a tragic story of three sisters and their struggle to love and be loved by a mother with paranoid schizophrenia. Their mother slowly turns within herself and wraps herself in her mental illness while her three daughters struggle to hold on to her as well as keep up...
  • Karen
    Feb 23, 2013
    A brave and honest memoir about being the daughter of seriously mentally ill mother. In her acknowledgements, the author mentions how the book took shape after chapter 19 was published in excerpted form. I found this interesting because I felt like chapter 19 was the chapter that had ...
  • Heidi
    Nov 25, 2012
    I love memoirs by people who had (ahem) "interesting" childhoods but overcame their past to become happy, capable adults. So many memoirs start out promising, but then turn into tedious navel-gazing by narcissistic adults who insist they'll never, ever find happiness in life because th...
  • Candy
    Feb 27, 2011
    Imagine you're just a little girl. Now imagine you're a little girl with a mother with schizophrenia. Now imagine you're a little girl with a mother with schizophrenia and a father that has to get out of the situation. You've just summed up the early life of Laura Flynn. **** Warni...
  • Kelly
    Jan 22, 2011
    [image error] [image error] [image error] If you get irriated by diet junkies and Go Green! hornets, then you would have hated me back in '09. I'm lucky my body doesn't suffer worse symptoms from lack of H2o intake, but I was pretty much full of it back then. As a senior propos...
  • Anita NotherBook
    Apr 19, 2010
    The founder of my writer's group lent me a copy of this book; she was in an MFA program with the author. The story is gripping and is a hard but addicting read, written by the daughter of a schizophrenic mother. I also liked the writing and the memoir's style. It starts off by immersin...
  • Sarah
    Jan 23, 2012
    I'm really drawn to the tragic-upbringing memoirs and having read quite a few of them at this point (this probably isn't the greatest sign), I've become a little "been there, done that" about them. Emotionally immune. I realize these are people's lives and feelings and I shouldn't pict...
  • Tiffany Reddick
    Dec 31, 2011
    Very good memoir. Her writing style seems to follow the writting advice in "Shimmering Images," demonstrating the extraction of details from memories. She explains how she and her sisters adapted to their mother's illness, each differing in stage of life, personality, and experience wi...
  • Lisa  Carlson
    Apr 25, 2011
    Told in the first person this is a remarkable story that confirms children are resilient. Flynn and her sisters deal with a mother who is tragically falling apart with schizophrenia. When I refer to tragic I mean her mother is a different state of mind which leads to an overly protecti...
  • Rainbowgardener
    Nov 10, 2018
    Well written memoir of growing up with a mother who is paranoid schizophrenic. I especially liked that she showed how as a young child, she just accepted everything going on as normal and the struggle to pull herself out of her mother's disturbed perceptions and finally to let go of he...
  • Rosalie
    Mar 24, 2016
    Flawed but compelling This book delves into some intriguing events that made the author who she is today, but as a someone who read this book for the express purpose of reviewing it I have to be honest. The first third of the book could be condensed into a single chapter, many of th...
  • Corielle Hayley
    Jan 24, 2017
    I've read a lot of these memoirs written by people who had messed up childhoods, in one way or the other. Many share characteristics, usually an unhinged mother, but there's always a new focus that keeps me coming back for more. In Swallow the Ocean, Laura Flynn recounts her childho...
  • Yasmary
    Sep 18, 2011
    Yasmary Ozuna Family 4E - English I Book Review #1 10/13/11 Swallow the Ocean: A Memoir by Laura M. Flynn This book was first introduced to me by my sister. I had only read at least three chapters of the book and I found it boring, but later when it came to decide what in...
  • Kate Campbell
    Apr 25, 2014
    Set in 1970s San Francisco, Swallow the Ocean is the true story of what it?s like to experience a mother?s schizophrenia from the perspective of a child confined by the insanity. It?s not a story I sought for the author?s first-hand perspective of mental disintegration, but for...
  • Kathryn
    Jun 13, 2013
    Just because you have a sad childhood, doesn't mean it will make an interesting book. Too many meaningless details of the games she played with her sister rather than discussing their relationship or anything of substance. There were glimpses of good good writing but overall, as I ...
  • Caryn Mohr
    Jan 11, 2014
    I wanted to read this memoir before starting a class taught by its author. It's a stunning book that envelopes you in the pain of growing up with a mother descending into mental illness. It breaks your heart while ultimately lifting it in a beautiful, powerful testament to human resili...
  • Susan Bazzett-Griffith
    Jul 15, 2013
    An intense memoir about the life of Flynn and her sisters growing up in the 1970s with their schizophrenic mother and the divorce of her parents. An interesting read, and a talented author, she tells her story of her mother's descent into madness with candor, and her experiences with t...
  • Nanseera
    Sep 18, 2013
    "Swallow the Ocean" is a memoir by Laura M. Flynn. It tells of Laura's childhood, of her family dynamics as her mother slowly spirals into a mental illness. Her parents are getting divorced and her father is fighting for full custody. Laura and her sisters band together using their mot...
  • Jessica Aiken-Hall
    Jul 31, 2017
    I enjoyed reading this memoir through the eyes of a child. I had a father with paranoid schizophrenia and could relate to many details. I also have written my memoir and appreciated the author's honesty. I started this book a month ago, lost it in my bag, and re found it only a few p...