Welcome to My Breakdown

A Memoir

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About The Book

In her “eminently readable memoir about turning darkness back into light” (People), the nationally bestselling author of Good Hair candidly shares her journey from having it all to plunging into a deep depression after her beloved mother’s death—and finally climbing back out.

Benilde Little’s life appeared perfect. A bestselling novelist with two beautiful children, a handsome husband, a gorgeous home, and good friends, she had every reason to feel on top of the world. She was mindful of the sacrifices that enabled her to prosper and never took the good life for granted. But when illness and aging overtook her parents, and other challenges suddenly loomed, she went into a tailspin of clinical depression.

Little chronicles her descent into a cavern so dark and impenetrable that she didn’t know if she’d ever recover. But, as she learns, the only road out of depression is through it. She reflects back on her protected upbringing in Newark, New Jersey; celebrates her remarkable mother; and tracks her youth from an early relationship with the Nation of Islam, to the city life of a young professional, to the domesticity of the suburbs. After finding herself sandwiched between the twin demands of elder care and childcare, she explores how, with therapy and introspection, she regained her voice and mapped a way out of her depression.

Writing in the courageous tradition of great female storytellers such as Joan Didion, Nora Ephron, and Pearl Cleage, Little doesn’t hold back as she shares insights, inspiration, and intimate details of her life with her trademark candor and fearlessness. Powerful, relatable, and ultimately redemptive, Welcome to My Breakdown is a remarkable memoir about the strength within us all to rise from despair and to feel hope and joy again.

About The Author

Photograph by Chester Toye © 2013

Benilde Little  is the bestselling author of the novels Good Hair (selected as one of the ten best books of 1996 by the Los Angeles Times), The Itch, Acting Out, and Who Does She Think She Is? A former reporter for People and senior editor at Essence, she lives in Montclair, New Jersey, with her husband and son. Her daughter is away at college. Follower her on Twitter and Instagram @BenildeLittle and read her blog, Welcome to My Breakdown, at BenildeLittle.Wordpress.com.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atria Books (April 21, 2015)
  • Length: 288 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781476751979

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Raves and Reviews

"Welcome To My Breakdown will put you face-to-face with the realities of personal pain. What Benilde shares is a heroic demonstration of how to turn depression and loss into a path back to self. Her willingness to be open and authentic creates a healing prescription for us all. What a blessing!"

– Iyanla Vanzant, author of In the Meantime and Every Day I Pray

"Benilde Little takes the fabric of suffering and weaves it into a raw, honest, and wonderful story of love and loss. Readers who have felt the depth of enduring sadness will see themselves in this deeply moving memoir."

– Janet Taylor, MD, MPH

"When we face the fire and come out on the other side, we learn what it is we are called to do. Benilde has written so beautifully and eloquently about the soul-crushing experience of depression—whether it is named or not. Throughout this defining journey, we see, hear, and feel deeply the signs of a despair that longs for light and relief. The healing is in us sharing our stories with one another... and knowing we are not alone."

– Terrie M. Williams, author of Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We're Not Hurting

"Little transcends the familiar. Her prose sings its own brokenhearted tune... Most memoirs describe journeys of self-discovery and redemption, and Little’s is no exception. At its conclusion, though, she doesn’t surge back to life sorrow-free. Rather, she leaves us with a sense that the twin strands of toughness and tenderness within her have braided themselves into a kind of equilibrium. After traveling these fearless pages with her, readers will cross their fingers, hoping the balance holds."

– New Jersey Monthly

"Told in her own fearless and wise voice, Welcome to My Breakdown chronicles a cavern of depression so dark that Benilde didn't know if she'd ever recover... Compelling read... Writing in the courageous tradition of great female storytellers such as Alice Walker, Maya Angelou, Joan Didion, Pearl Cleage, and Sista Souljah, Benilde doesn't hold back as she shares insights, inspiration, and intimate details of her life. Powerful, relatable, and ultimately redemptive, Welcome to My Breakdown is a remarkable memoir about the power within us all to rise from despair and to feel hope and joy again."

– digitaljournal.com

"One of the Best New Books -- An eminently readable memoir about turning darkness back into light."

– PEOPLE Magazine

"Breakdown takes a slight departure from her four novels, with major creative results... Lively anecdotes...achingly honest detail...Little gets herself together, piece by broken piece..."

– ESSENCE

"A moving memoir."

– Juicy

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