I am an avid devotee of everything about Red Room. The three Es ….enthusiasm, encouragement and empowerment of the writer are daily demonstrated in Red Room blogs.
My first purchase from the site’s Book Store was Leaving the Hall Light On by Madeline Sharples. Originally I had purchased it on Amazon shortly after the book’s original publication about one year ago. Ten pages into reading the book, it was stolen by a family member who is a noted book thief. If you don’t read a book quickly enough and it seems interesting enough to her…off it goes with a promise that it will be returned. Through word of mouth about the creative insight and inspirational spirit of the book one of my loving daughters kept lending the book and lending the book to her friends. A year past and still no return …constant reminders resulted in proclamations of the disservice it would be if so and so” didn’t read the book. Fortunately the ease of ordering from the Red Room’s book store prompted me to order the book again and keep it in my possession.
Leaving the Hall light On by Madeline Sharples is a gift of sharing about one woman’s journey about the experience of losing her much loved son, Paul, to suicide. Every aspect of the before, during, and after impact of the suicide is honestly reflected in her path to healing through passages remembered in the book. She openly discusses the “toxic gloom” that encompasses her daily life with the onset and progression of her son’s bi-polar illness. The reader easily falls in love with the growing up years of her son before his illness, but the depths of despair of the on and off again ravages of this disease are described openly . While reading this book I was in constant admiration of Madeline’s awareness and confidence in her expressions of the disruptions and annoyances that this mental illness brought to her and her family’s daily living. However, her never ending deep love and compassion for her son was always evident. Many times there are those of us who sugar coat what it is like to live through troubling times, but not Madeline. She unveiled the good and bad effects of her son’s illness. And the after life of the event of her son’s death gives the reader a demonstration of a remarkable strength of a woman who then chose a different role to pursue, She called it very aptly “playacting.” When asked how she was doing, she transitioned from “okay” to an over the years progression to a reply of a meaningful “good.” She knew that walking the talk had positive results.
In my collection of books Leaving the Hall Light On will always be well remembered. Top reason is the excellent written skills of Madeline Sharples that reveal a story that needed to be told. Not only did it chronicle the illness of one young man but it offered the reader a look at the altered environment that he created for those who loved him and wanted to help and understand.
Madeline Sharples was generous in her steps to guiding other Red Room members in the development of the process of the publishing of her book. This member will always be grateful for her blog postings. But most all I cherish the reading of her story.
I think for Red Room members we should all be encouraged to purchase and read some of our favorite authors/members books that are offered in the Book Store. Strangers can turn into publishing and reading companions. Before the Book Store I read and treasured books written by Red Roomers, Sue Glasco, Jessica Barksdale Inclan, and Susan Browne. I am happy that now those books are easily available on the Red Room site.