Book Review: Leaving the Hall light on by Madeline Sharples

If you aren't charmed by those eyes then you mat as well be blind!
If you aren’t charmed by those eyes then you might as well be blind!


When I started researching and reading about Bipolar and related stories, hoping to understand some more to help my brother some how, this was the very first memoir I stumbled upon. I just came upon it on the Amazon and then ended up as a guest on Madeline’s blog.

I found all excuses not to do a book review, the obvious then being that it could trigger an episode in my beloved, and maybe lead to another tragic ending? And then,Sherrey Meyer a dear friend of ours who equally interviewed me recently, did a very befitting review of this memoir. So what was there for me to add? I whined there that I had planned on reviewing the memoir but thought Sherrey’s said it all. Sherrey said no two reviews were the same.

The Memoir

A passion for the piano right from birth
A passion for the piano right from birth

One more pale tale. A poor mother has to bury (in this case, burn) the same child she had birthed and nurtured 27 years earlier. To get such a nightmare a few months to ‘christmas’, is simply put devastating.

There is so much information here about the memoir, the resumes of lessons learnt and persons touched and transformed. I mean, until we (the system) understand what goes on or wrong with the brain, screw it and even us up, we can only but go really ‘crazy’ too.

The boy could not understand what was going on, he tried for 7 years, played excellent music to solace him through, and then shut the toilet door to let himself out of this world.

See that piercing/contemplative stare
See that piercing/contemplative stare

Ha, the grief is unimaginable.

My Take on this work

It was after reading this memoir that I started fearing that something could happen to my own brother. Barely three months later, disaster struck indeed. l had learnt two huge things from this memoir: to keep fond memories (and even fun-less ones), and to grieve it out anyway you can. Do I say I am grateful to Madeline for sharing her story? Yes, her story mindful of the enormity of the tragedy.

I don’t care how Madeline sees faith in any supreme being before or thereafter. Indeed, any ‘religious faith’ may only dance with one’s grief but not with the reality of a precious one’s exist.

What I takeaway, is one more of those instances where a mother’s love is proven beyond reasonable doubt (even this expression may not be the best). I mean, there is nothing to prove right?  It’s your son, your womb, your cross, your trouble? The ‘System’, can only give as much of a damn as the credit cards roll. Even then, there is still a lot of hesitation, lousy actions, reactions and worthless argumentation. Call it procedures, rights or whatever…

If loosing a day old daughter can still haunt me this bad every now and then, what am I to expect of mums like Madeline? She did well to transform his room into her office, dedicate a bench at the park for him, compile his songs into a soon to be released CD, Paul on the Pianoand is in the ranks of the Mental Advocates we proudly are.

My Rating

Yes, another 5 star. Read it for yourself and maybe give less, I dunno. It takes Courage, it takes love, it takes determination and dedication to write it all down.

About the Author

AuthorMadelineSharplesThis memoir of hers and her numerous other poems and works, can be found on her site: Madeline Sharples’ maintains a great blog: “Choices” and I find her choice of theme soul searching. She also writes for several websites including Naturally Savvy, PsychAlive, Aging Bodies, and Open to Hope. Madeline Sharples and her husband of 42 years live in Manhattan Beach, CA.

Ah, just like Danielle Steel, here is another fluent author dealt the fate of writing her own son’s tragedy!


3 thoughts on “Book Review: Leaving the Hall light on by Madeline Sharples”

  1. Dear Marie, Thank you so much for your wonderful and insightful review of my memoir Leaving the Hall Light On. I am glad it was a help to you as you grieve for your brother.
    I have one correction in my bio: I no longer have a blog at Red Room. That site no longer exists.
    And I love that you compare me to Danielle Steele – you honor me.
    Best, Madeline

    1. Dear Madeline,

      I am the one to thank you. I am greatly humbled. Oh my, when did I start off in this blogosphere to do this much and touch others so?

      I will correct the bio. Yes, sadly so, unfortunate circumstances can also teach us a lot, unite others further and inspire, motivate and keep us going some more.

      Comparing you to DS, was putting two vulnerable moms on the same page – never saw that as an honour, but if one – then you sure deserve it 🙂

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