Reckless Steps toward Sanity
280 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
11 halftones
Release Date:01 Apr 2019
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Reckless Steps toward Sanity

A Memoir

University of New Mexico Press

Winner of the High Plains Book Award for a First Book

At sixteen Judith Sara Gelt finally rebels after spending years watching her warm, Jewish home in Denver disintegrate. It's 1968 and bipolar disorder has been ravaging her mother and has sent her father, a powerful attorney, into a spiteful tailspin. To escape Gelt makes one perilous choice after another, and these decisions carry her, unprepared and alone, into a world that is sometimes cruel and often dangerous. After returning to Denver she works to understand her parents and her past, and she is surprised to discover her own strengths.

Throughout her memoir Gelt reflects upon how risk taking has shaped her relationships with and her attitudes toward men and sex, her daughter, Judaism, and her own eventual diagnosis of major depressive disorder.

Craft-wise, Gelt slips seamlessly in and out of scenes, balanced by specific summaries. The result is that we move along quickly, indulging in the movie of her life, voyeurs, an audience in a coming-of-age Survivor show.'--Deborah L. Hall, River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative
Gelt tells her story with clarity, presenting a complex and bittersweet storyline. . . . A significant work.'--Dianna Linder, Billings Gazette
A powerful and heartrending story of personal recovery.'--Kirkus Reviews
If you're like me and enjoy looking in the windows of other families, this book is for you. Judith not only pulls back the curtains, she invites you in and offers up a cup of tea and a comfortable seat.'--Mom Egg Review
An inherently interesting, exceptionally well written, and impressively candid memoir.'--Midwest Book Review: Wisconsin Bookwatch
Perfectly paced and composed with an artist's keen eye and ear, this is a brave, painstakingly honest, and ultimately redemptive plunge into the life of a girl and woman we come to love, respect, and, yes, learn from. I highly recommend this moving and important book.'--Andre Dubus III, author of House of Sand and Fog
With vivid prose, Gelt makes real for us a childhood fraught with family, societal, and sexual tensions while providing hope as she makes a brave journey toward understanding and healing.'--Sonja Livingston, author of Ghostbread
[Gelt] opens up her story and allows us entry, where we not only find her story but discover our own.'--Joe Mackall, author of The Last Street Before Cleveland: An Accidental Pilgrimage
Judith Sara Gelt is a retired middle school teacher and a former lecturer in educational psychology and philosophy. Her work has appeared in various publications, including the Denver Post, the Nashville Review, and Iron Horse Literary Review. She lives in Denver, Colorado.
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