In the minds of the good people of Bend of the River, North Carolina, the exotic Maggie Barnes is 'not right', 'flighty' or, put more politely, 'the Barnes woman with all her problems'. To Maggie's immediate family - her husband Frederick, son Freddy, and young daughter, Hattie - she is a maddening and beloved paradox: quite clearly depressive, yet also a beautiful, generous, satin-clad siren.
Maggie is at times vivacious and captivating, but at others she is infuriating, violent and heartless to those who love her. Through Hattie's now adult eyes, a devastatingly poignant portrait of her mother emerges - wry, irresistibly comic yet unsparing in its depiction of a child's despairing love for her mentally disturbed mother. Sights Unseen is also the story of the marvelous extended Barnes family. Each with their own strategies for dealing with the impossible Maggie, the members of the Barnes family struggle to understand her and to preserve a nurturing, loving family relationship with her.
I really enjoyed this book, although at certain points I found the story incredibly poignant. Sights Unseen by Kaye Gibbons clearly illustrates how mental illness affects the entire family, however I think that during my reading, I kept expecting the author to branch out more into the community with this story. I ultimately gave Sights Unseen by Kaye Gibbons an A!
One of my favorite authors, this book by Kaye Gibbons skips backward and forward through time to tell the story of a young girl and her family struggling to handle her manic depressive mother. Hattie longs for a more typical mother/daughter relationship while her mother, consumed by her disease, has little energy or perception left for her young daughter. Sometimes tragic, sometimes quirky and humorous, it is a compelling story.
From prize-winning author Kaye Gibbons, "Publishers Weekly" called this 'her best novel since 'Ellen Foster". This is the haunting story of a toubled, manic-depressive mother, as told by a confused but affectionate daughter.
An unforgettable tale of unconditional love-and of a Southern family's desperate search for normalcy in the midst of madness. It's the story of Maggie, "the Barnes woman with all the problems"...and Hattie, a child struggling to find a place for herself in her damaged mother's heart.