Mother of My Invention:

Your Genes Don’t Tell the Whole Story

Barbara Jean Bloom, New Jersey College for Women, 1943

Mother of My Invention is a memoir of loss and a search for identity, both for my mother and for myself. Not a typical motherless daughter, I lost my mother to schizophrenia and consequent long-term institutionalization when I was an infant; she died in a state asylum when I was thirteen. My memoir traces my coming to terms with a legacy of mental illness, while searching out who my mother might have been and learning to open myself to opportunities that shape my own identity. In the process, I’ve discovered that my mother’s illness doesn’t define either of us. Instead, my character has been built–piece by piece–through the many people and experiences that I’ve embraced throughout my life.

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