Annie's Ghosts: A Journey into a Family Secret (Paperback)
Fall '09/Winter '10 Reading Group List
“Every family has a secret. Steve Luxenberg discovers his shortly before his mother dies in her eighties. While she had told everyone throughout his life that she was an only child, his mother actually had a sister who had been institutionalized in her twenties. Luxenberg's journalistic approach to discovering the truth about his aunt is fascinating, as he mines the underlying story of secrets and their effects on families. A great reading group nonfiction pick.”
— Valerie Koehler, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX
Beth Luxenberg was an only child. Or so everyone thought. Six months after Beth's death, her secret emerged. It had a name: Annie.
Praise for Annie's Ghosts
"Annie's Ghosts is one of the most remarkable books I have ever read . . . From mental institutions to the Holocaust, from mothers and fathers to children and childhood, with its mysteries, sadness, and joy--this book is one emotional ride."--Bob Woodward, author of The War Within and State of Denial
"Steve Luxenberg sleuths his family's hidden history with the skills of an investigative reporter, the instincts of a mystery writer, and the sympathy of a loving son. His rediscovery of one lost woman illuminates the shocking fate of thousands of Americans who disappeared just a generation ago."--Tony Horwitz, author of A Voyage Long and Strange and Confederates in the Attic
"I started reading within minutes of picking up this book, and was instantly mesmerized. It's a riveting detective story, a moving family saga, an enlightening if heartbreaking chapter in the history of America's treatment of people born with what we now call special needs." -- Deborah Tannen, author of You Just Don't Understand and You're Wearing That
"This is a memoir that pushes the journalistic envelope . . . Luxenberg has written a fascinating personal story as well as a report on our communal response to the mentally ill." -- Helen Epstein, author of Where She Came From and Children of the Holocaust
"A wise, affecting new memoir of family secrets and posthumous absolution." -- The Washington Post
"Annie's Ghosts will resonate for many, whether the chords have to do with family secrets, the Depression, memories of a thriving Detroit, the Holocaust's horrors, or the immigrant experience." -- The Detroit Free Press
About the Author
Steve Luxenberg has been a senior editor with the Washington Post for 20 years. He lives in Baltimore, MD. This is his first book.
"Annie's Ghosts is one of the most remarkable books I have ever read . . . From mental institutions to the Holocaust, from mothers and fathers to children and childhood, with its mysteries, sadness, and joy--this book is one emotional ride."—Bob Woodward, author of The War Within and State of Denial