June 2024 Staff Recommendations

My Grandmother’s Hands: Radicalized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies 

Recommended by Lindsay, this book shines a light on the impact of psychological trauma on the body—trauma that affects the somatic system—due to systemic racism. The author, a therapist who specializes in trauma, includes personal anecdotes coupled with neurological and psychological research that focus on the damage caused by racism from the perspective of trauma and body-centered psychology. He ascertains that the body is as susceptible to the harmful effects of trauma as our mind is. He contends that white supremacy is stored in ALL of our bodies. The author explores solutions to ending America’s generational cycle of trauma by healing our bodies through somatic exercises and taking part in social action. 

Lindsay says, “I’ve only just started reading this book, but I am struck by its compelling exploration of the interconnectedness of historical trauma, healing and personal transformation. It is thought provoking and comes from an empathetic approach for the reader to understand how racialized trauma manifests in our hearts and bodies, as well as the potential pathways toward healing and reconciliation.” 

Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father by Alysia Abbott 

In this vibrant memoir, Alysia Abbott recounts growing up in 1970s San Francisco with Steve Abbott, a gay, single father during an era when such a childhood was rare. Reconstructing their time together from a remarkable cache of Steve’s writings, Alysia provides us an unforgettable portrait of a tumultuous, historic period in San Francisco, as well as an exquisitely moving account of a father’s legacy and a daughter’s love. 

Mary says, “I am excited to recommend this book as it is a perfect pick for June – celebrating fathers and pride.  I admit to having a bias about this book, as Alysia is one of my brother’s closest friends.  Alysia’s story is a labor of love.  It is an authentic and captivating memoir that beautifully captures a uniquely heartbreaking and heartwarming relationship between father and daughter.  The book was turned into a movie that premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival so you can read the book or see the movie or both!” 

Six Schizophrenic Brothers 

Six Schizophrenic Brothers is a documentary inspired by Robert Kolker’s book Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family. The documentary follows the Galvins, an Irish-Catholic family that resided in Colorado Springs in the 1940s. Parents Don and Mimi Galvin raise twelve children, six of which are diagnosed with schizophrenia. We follow the impact of the diagnoses on the family. All members of the household are affected—some even serve as research subjects for genetic research and treatment for schizophrenia. The documentary also investigates the mystery behind the unknown causes of schizophrenia and the possible genetic link behind the illness. 

Darcy says, “I started watching this on a Saturday afternoon and by Saturday evening, I had watched all four episodes.  The story of the Galvin family is riveting.  The impact of this disease on the entire family was heartbreaking–the impact is truly generational.  The Galvin family is so generous in their storytelling and in sharing how the disease of schizophrenia took hold, over and over, on multiple siblings.  As a mother, I cannot imagine what Mimi Galvin went through and I was absolutely struck by her dedication to her children and the fact that she never gave up on them.”