For decades, a well-to-do Baltimore family guarded a secret they felt too ashamed to reveal, much less speak of among themselves. For one daughter, that secret would haunt her for years but ultimately compel her to take surprising risks and reap unbelievable rewards—the story of which forms the stunning narrative of this remarkable memoir.
When Molly Bruce Jacobs, the family’s eldest daughter, finds herself newly sober at the age of thirty-eight, she finally seeks out and comes face-to-face with this secret: Anne, a younger sister who was diagnosed at birth with hydrocephalus (“water on the brain”) and mental retardation, was institutionalized. Anne has never been home to visit, and Molly Jacobs has never seen her. Full of trepidation, she goes to meet her sister for the first time. As the book unfolds and the sisters grow close, Jacobs learns of the decades of life not shared and gains surprising insights about herself, including why she drank for most of her adult life. In addition, she gradually comes to understand that her parents' reasons for placing Anne in a state institution were far more complex than she'd ever imagined.