Cover Image: Stepping Back from the Ledge

Stepping Back from the Ledge

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Member Reviews

After the tragic heartbreaking loss of her beloved mother to suicide on April 26th, 2012, Laura Trujillo began her search for knowledge and understanding. “Stepping Back from the Ledge: A Daughter’s Search for Truth and Renewal” (2022) is a profound meaningful account of her journey that included revisiting the magnetic splendor and beauty of the Grand Canyon. Trujillo lives in Ohio with her husband and is the managing editor of Life and Entertainment at USA TODAY.

The mother-daughter bond was always so close it seemed unbreakable. Trujillo and her sister were raised in Phoenix, AZ. Following her parents' divorce, her father lived nearby and co-parented with her mother on good terms. As a retired nurse and hospital administrator, her mother had numerous close friends and associates that sincerely valued her service and friendship—she was adored and celebrated by her family members. Yet, underneath all this happiness and success of her mother’s life, there were several undisclosed facts concerning mental illness--in addition, Trujillo carried a secret burden of a terrible truth—one that would positively ruin her mother’s happiness if she knew, and forever alter their family dynamic. 

The love and support of her husband and children allowed Trujillo to retrace and understand every detail of her mother’s life just before her suicide: which included counseling by her parish priest. Trujillo traveled to the scenic point in the Grand Canyon where she hiked with her mother as a teen and discovered her mother’s name listed in a memorial booklet sold in the gift shop (2016). Although it was unsettling to see her mother’s name in print, even the vastness and depth of the Grand Canyon couldn’t hold the tender love for her mother that remained.  **With thanks to Random House Publishing via NetGalley for the DDC for the purpose of review.
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Whoa! What a ride. It was very fast-paced. The writing style kept me hooked and I didn't find myself losing any interest. I enjoyed getting to know each of the characters and how real the story felt. The author did a great job painting the setting, so it was easy for me to visualize the scene played out before me.  I recommend giving this one a chance!
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Well-written and well-reached book about a young woman ( married with 4 children ) attempting to understand her mothers suicide. 
The story was pertinent to me because I live in the areas of Arizona she talks specifically about, and I have climbed the Grand Canyon twice and visited several other times. So I related to the placing of the story.
The author is a professional journalist, which is apparent I reading the book ( its well constructed).
The one negative was that there was a lot about suicide statistics and related elements, but perhaps that interested me less than others drawn to the book because I am fortunate to not have any touchpoint to suicide. 
Good read, a good investment of time.
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Stepping Back from the Ledge: A Daughter’s Search for Truth and Renewal
Laura Trujillo 
Publication date: 19 April 2022

A grieving and confused daughter, Laura Trujillo wrote “Stepping Back from the Ledge: A Daughter’s Search for Truth and Renewal” after her mother ended her life by jumping from the edge of the Grand Canyon. She wanted to understand how such a thing could have happened and whether she could have done anything to prevent it.

Six months before her mother’s death, at her therapist’s advice, Trujillo disclosed to her mother that she had been sexually abused by her stepfather for years as a teenager. She was then 40-years-old.

After her mother’s death, family members turned their backs on her. Instead of being angry at her stepfather, they blamed her for her mother’s death. While they knew how desperately her mother was struggling with depression, Trujillo was unaware of what her mother was going through.

Another challenge she faced was how to discuss her mother’s death with her four children who all adored their grandma. She and her husband, John, told their two eldest boys and held off on the details when they gently broke the news to their youngest son and daughter.

Moved, partially, by a note her mother had written to her family about being “too proud to seek help” and realizing her suicide was the extreme outcome of bottling her up her feelings for years, Trujillo realized she needed to ask for help and find a net to catch her when she fell.

In “Stepping Back from the Ledge: A Daughter’s Search for Truth and Renewal” the author takes her readers on her journey through guilt, grief, loss, anger, discovery and healing. This is an illuminating and courageous memoir written with great love.

I think the book would be a great choice for a book club as there are so many points of discussion.

A huge thank you to @NetGalley and @RandomHouse for the ARC.
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Note: there are no spoilers in this review as all information is provided in the publicity material.

Laura Trujillo writes a brave, gut-wrenching examination of her mother's suicide. She had an extraordinary relationship with her mother, one they both held most dear. Despite their closeness, each still kept secrets from the other. The time came when Laura shared her secret of childhood sexual abuse, news which devasted her mother.

Trying to understand her mother's suicide sent Laura into a deep depression and almost brought her to the edge herself. She learned her mother hid her own depression well, and through therapy came to recognize some of the signs that as a child, she had no understanding of.

The author, a journalist, also reviews how suicides have been covered in the media through the years.

A tragic and haunting book, written with pain, honesty, and immense love!

My gratitude to Random House who permitted me to access an e-arc of the book via NetGalley. The book is scheduled for publication 4/19/22. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and are freely given.
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Trujillo writes a poignant memoir about a difficult subject: suicide. Her mother ended her life at the Grand Canyon in 2012. It happened months after her daughter, Trujillo, finally revealed a deep,secret, she had been sexually abused for years by her mother’s husband. The book details how the author has grappled with her mother’s death, studying and retracing her last movements and thoughts. 
It’s a must read for anyone who has lost anyone to suicide.
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This memoir, about suicide and the secrets we keep from the people we love most, is beautifully written, well-reported and bravely told. As a former journalist, I really appreciated Laura's consideration and dissection of the places where her story overlaps with her children's, her family's; the places where her mom's story is part of someone else's experience; and who gets to tell what part. 

This is a book written with honesty and courage and immense care. 

Thanks to NetGalley for the advance copy.
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Stepping Back from the Ledge by Laura Trujillo is a memoir of a daughter working through the trauma of her mother's suicide. It's an emotional powerhouse of a book, covering sexual abuse and depression and guilt. I find myself still thinking about it even though it's been a while since I read the last page. Highly recommend.
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The author, Laura Trujillo speaks of her personal and heartbreaking experience of dealing with her mother’s suicide in this touching and well-written memoir. Laura begins with a brief account of what happened to her mother then explores her own reactions and her personal grief process. She describes how she went to a very dark place during this time, even to the point of contemplating suicide herself. She spends one chapter addressing how the media covers suicide and how this has changed over the years. Her experience with her own grief and how other family members grieved differently is thoroughly addressed. My favorite quote from the book is “Everyone grieves differently and we must all give others grace.” Laura explains how she was sexually abused by her mother’s husband (she does not refer to him as “stepfather”) and how her mother killed herself a few months after Laura  revealed this to her thus drawing blame from other people. She ends up conducting her own psychological autopsy, learning  that her mother had been depressed for years and even suicidal at times long before Laura revealed the abuse to her. As a psychiatric practitioner of 44 years, I found this book incredibly thorough in addressing how suicide impacts so many people in so many ways. The flow of the book was a little “choppy” at times but overall, very powerful and written well. Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishers for the Advanced Reader Copy.
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I found this a compelling read about a woman’s battle to deal with her mother’s suicide. She found herself really struggling in the time after learning of her mom’s death, and takes off on a search for answers. She used counseling, medication, and trying to get answers herself for why her mother made the choice she did. It’s a tough subject, but it handled with honest and compassion. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
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I received an ARC of, Stepping Back from the Ledge, by Laura Trujillo.  This was a very interesting book.  The bond between mothers and daughters can be intense.  Laura's story is no different.  Secrets, abuse, and suicide, are talked about in this story.
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A. Gut wrenching memoir a very brave author who digs deep to share sad horrific family secrets.From the opening pages where she is standing at the spot at the Grand Canyon.As she shares her and her mothers close relationship the darkness creeps in.When she describes the chilling sexual abuse her stepfather over& over through years inflicted on her it brought me to tears. Riverside tThis is a haunting read blaming herself for her moms suicide.a book I will not forget an author I wish peace for her & her wonderful family.#netgalley #randomhouse
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This was heart-wrenching and I thought the author so eloquently put her story into words, generously displaying emotional intelligence, compassion, and forgiveness. I was so saddened by the lack of validation upon unravelling the devastating truth, and the betrayal she further suffered with loved ones who turned their backs. I felt anger at a loving note that was still disclosed to him after what he had done, although I try my best to refrain from judgement. 

I feel she has endured so much and the truth is the truth, she was always right to tell it. This story was upsetting at times and I applaud the author for telling it in such a thoughtful and respectful manner which betrays both her generosity and empathy. She navigated the difficult path of grief and depression and tried to make sense out of the unthinkable.
I thought this poignant phrase was very thought-provoking and powerful:

‘And the thing with suicide is this: Everyone has their own part of a story, and many don’t want to share. There is shame for some, and for others there is blame. Many don’t want to talk about it, They don’t want to answer questions or even remember the past. There’s no one who has the answer, and sometimes the bits they have, they lock inside. Or they remember the way they can or want. They want to protect the memory of the person they love.’

4.5 stars.
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Beautifully-written, heartbreaking memoir about the author’s mother and the aftermath of a traumatic life event. The author opens her wound - brutally and without flinching - recounting “signs” and regrets and family dynamics and trauma and familial mental illness that contributed to the way in which the author has lived her life.  While I finished the book just now, I’m left with wanting more information about a couple of events that the author only touched upon. Since it is a memoir, this is the author’s prerogative and one I support and understand. An important book and one I’m so grateful to have been given the opportunity to do read by Random House. I’m grateful.
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