Cover Image: American Daughter

American Daughter

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Member Reviews

Portrays the resilience and perseverance of a strong woman.  Very good book.
I would recommend this book.
Thanks to the publisher and Net Galley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review
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There are not enough words to describe how this book hit me. Such an unflinching book, it almost had me in tears at many points. I won't forget for a long time.
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Wow, wow, wow.  We know these stories exist, of horrors and abuses most of us can't even fathom, and reading about them can be so, so hard.  Stephanie does a wonderful job of telling her story of survival in a way that captivates and grabs your attention from the beginning.   Knowing she has risen above, the story becomes one of hope and success made from nothing but heart and determination.  I loved the way this memoir was written.  Stephanie has a powerful voice and provides a stark reality of America's broken systems that failed her and her family time and again.
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I love a good memoir and this book is definitely in that category.  An amazing, heart wrenching and honest look at the author's life living with a mentally ill mother.  In the same vein as "The Glass Castle", this is sure to be a bestseller.    My only complaint and reason for not giving 5 stars is that I wanted more!  The author focuses a lot on her adult life, (which is also very interesting, as she continues to grapple with her relationship with her mother), but I wish we had gotten more details from her childhood.  Also, I think she would have been better served to write in a more linear fashion, rather than jumping back and forth.  Overall, though, a very worthwhile read!  Definitely recommend!

(Thank you to NetGalley for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review. This is no way affected my rating, and all opinions are my own)
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This is Stephanie's story of reconciling with her mother about her troubled childhood while her mother struggled with terminal illness. It is just an amazing story, how Stephanie overcame her childhood and became the success she is today is very inspiring.

What I loved most of all was that even in this messed up childhood, there were a couple of stories that were overwhelmingly sweet - spoiler alert! learning to read, Rick's return.

I was really happy for her that she was able to get closure, and to find out more about her history, and also that she was able to gain a better understanding of her mother. I would have liked to know how her siblings were doing but completely respected the decision not to include that. Overall, a great and emotional read.
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Stephanie Plymale speaks from the heart and shares a touching and moving chronicle of her survival from a horrendous childhood. 

SUMMARY
American Daughter is Stephanie Thornton Plymale’s memoir. Her childhood was a series of nightmares, thanks to a mentally-ill mother who was in and out of jails and psych wards. Stephanie experienced neglect, hunger, poverty, homelessness, truancy, foster homes, abuse, and inadequate education. 

Stephanie now in her fifties is successful and has risen above her horrendous childhood. Stephanie and her mom have been estranged during most of Stephanie’s adult life. But that all changed with a phone call from her mother telling her that that she was terminal ill.  This call set Stephanie on a road of discovery about her mom, allowing for reconciliation and healing.  

“But at the moment, I could only stand as if rooted in the middle of the room, overwhelmed by a desire so fierce it was like a revelation. This, I thought. I want this. And one day I’ll have it. “


REVIEW
AMERICAN DAUGHTER is a touching chronicle of Stephanie’s dreadful childhood.  I appreciate her ability and her willingness to share some brutally honest revelations with us.  She speaks from the heart and shares a moving story. Her writing is clear and concise. 

One of the most amazing thing about this story is that Stephanie is okay.  Despite everything she experienced as a child, she had the strength and fortitude to rise above her past and survived. She not only survived but flourished.  She is a successful business women, an educator, and a happy wife and mother. How did she do that? 

The story of her childhood is wrenching.  This book is difficult to read in places but it’s real, and people need to know and understand what happens in situations where a parent is mentally-ill, and with children in the foster care. The “system” failed Stephanie and her family. They fell between the cracks. She was failed by the school system, the child protection system, the legal system, and the healthcare system We need to take action to prevent this from happening to others. If you liked books like Educated or Glass Castles you will find this book intriguing and thought provoking.    

Thanks to Netgalley for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 


Publisher 	Greenleaf Book Group and River Grove Books
Published 	February 11, 2020
Review	www.bluestockingreviews.com
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Plymale's page-turning memoir of abuse, power, abandonment, and the tragedy of mental illness reads like a true crime story! American Daughter was on my Too Be Read list since I first heard of its publication, and it did not disappoint.!  Disclosure: I received an Advanced Reader's copy from NetGalley with the expectation I would provide an honest review.
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I love so many things about this book. American Daughter examines all that is wrong with our systems in this country. From the Education system, to Child Protective Services, to the Health Care system. The author suffered every tragedy a person could experience, yet persevered. As an educator myself, I can’t imagine how this innocent child fell through the cracks. 

I also appreciate the power of mental health being discussed in depth in this book. The author experienced all of the ACEs (Adverse Child Experiences) that we see in society now. The book really chronicles the power of neglect, abuse, and the importance of adults stepping in to protect our youth. 

I am so thankful that she had people walk along side her in her adult years-her husband, daughter, therapists, former foster mom-to heal her heart and soul. 

Beautiful & tragic story.
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American Daughter is a dark and real story of a little girl that survives the trauma of a bad childhood. Definitely recommend!

Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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The best nonfiction books are the ones that demonstrate that truth really is stranger than fiction. It's hard to imagine that Stephanie Thornton Plymale's story actually happened, except that we know it did because this memoir is proof. She had a heartwrenching childhood (homelessness, abuse, neglect) because of her mentally-ill mother, and only decides later in life to dig deeper into her mother's past for answers. The journey she takes to determine which of her mother's lies were true and how she can reconnect to other family members is intriguing and suspenseful. However, I felt the main drawback to the book was that Plymale's story was not told linearly - I hated all the jumping back and forth and would have felt much more invested in the story with a more chronological format. There was also a side tangent of Plymale's tempation to cheat on her husband that completely drew me away from her quest for answers about her family. I think the book would have had a stronger narrative if Plymale had stuck more with her childhood experiences and her research into her mother's life (rather than her sort of boring fights with her husband). Because her mother shaped so much of who she is, I would have loved to focus more on the thread of their relationship (and skimped more on her adult experiences as a wife and mom). Overall, though, I greatly admire Plymale's honesty and willingness to look at a family history drenched in pain and trauma.
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“Find a way to be the love you didn’t get.” Time and again, Stephanie must confront the the failures of society that ultimately prevented her from receiving the love that she so desperately wanted. Instead of wallowing in the challenges and traumas, she used them as motivation to pursue the love of a mother who couldn’t be bothered and of a husband who seemingly lost interest. Throughout her story, Stephanie holds on to the idea that she will make something of herself, despite being an “American daughter” and a representation of all the ways in which her world failed her. This story is one of courage, tenacity, and the need for human connection.
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I loved this book!  The writing, the story, and Plymale herself. I love that she tells her whole story; not shying away from making it all known, even parts that may draw criticism or judgement from readers. It’s REAL!  A beautiful memoir that I very much enjoyed reading.
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Thank you @netgalley for the chance to read this wonderful book!! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5)
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Wow- what a roller coaster ride of emotions in this story. American Daughter is a memoir about a woman named Stephanie who was raised by a mother with mental illness. After being homeless, in and out of foster care, and having to deal with her mothers various partners- she found her way to a more peaceful and predictable life. Along the way, her mother comes back into her life and what she finds out, changes everything. .
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This story reminded me so much of the Glass Castle. If you enjoyed that book- you will love this one. It was a wild ride and without giving anything away- I really enjoyed Stephanie’s search to find answers about her heritage/lineage as well as her search to find how to forgive her mother.
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The content of this book was definitely interesting but I never felt a connection to the author. I found the author to be semi-unlikable throughout the book through her treatment of others. Even though I understand the reason for her lashing out and her behavior, I still found it hard to connect to her in any way or give her empathy for her treatment of her husband, etc.
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Very courageous book. A must read for those who have been through any kind of abuse or those who want to understand and help.
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There is a feeling of complete honesty from the author is refreshing. Complete frankness,  is endearing and builds up empathy and you really care.

.Ability to overcome such challenges and heartbreaking circumstances,. Not allowing them rule her later life. It puts your own problems into prospective. 

Its a great story of true redemption and hope. Shocking and encouraging, in equal measure. 
A book to share with all around you. Something to provoke discussion and even a call to action in some respects.
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One of the best books I’ve read in the last year!  You don’t want to miss out on this book. I was totally captivated by the life this woman showed strength, courage, and unwavering determination got her through. I highly recommend this book
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This is the tale of a strong woman, a survivor. It feels strange to review it, because it feels like reviewing someone's life. I mostly want to thank Stephanie for sharing her life and her memories with us. I'm glad you are a survivor, because I am sure the world is more beautiful with you in it.
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This memoir is filled with a raw honesty that pulls the reader in and empathize with the author.  The miraculous ability to survive and assist others by sharing her story about growing up with a mentally ill mother and the impact that it had on her life is inspiring.  The road to forgiveness is inspirational.  Have your tissues ready when you read this one.
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Stephanie lived in and out of foster care her whole life. She survived not just one, but two auto accidents which should have killed her. The neglect and abuse she suffered would have crippled most people.  Instead, Stephanie became everything she ever wanted in a mother. A successful businesswoman, a wife, a mother of three healthy, well adjusted children and finally, the caretaker for her mother.  Her mother spent too many years in and out of jail, psychiatric hospitals, and had more boyfriends than a mom should expose her children to. 
Stephanie spent the last years of her mother's life learning about the trauma her mother endured, the family that she never knew about and most importantly about the power of forgiveness.  This book does not let you go from the first pages. A beautiful story of a life lived well, forgiveness and the love of a family and how it can change you.
Thank you NetGalley for the chance to read this book.
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