Missing by Cornelia Maude Spelman #memoir #bookspotlight #booktwitter @jacklegpress


Acclaimed children’s book author Cornelia Maude Spelman’s memoir of her family springs from a meeting and subsequent friendship with the late, legendary New Yorker editor William Maxwell in the 1920s. When Spelman hints at what she thinks of as the failure of her parents’ lives, he counters that “in a good novel one doesn’t look for a success story, but for a story that moves one with its human drama and richness of experience.” Maxwell encourages her to tell her mother’s story at their final meeting. Missing is Spelman’s response to Maxwell’s wisdom. With the pacing of the mystery novels her mother loved and using everything from letters and interviews to the family’s quotidian paper trail-medical records, telegrams, and other oft-overlooked clues to a family’s history-Spelman reconstructs her mother’s life and untimely death. Along the way, she unravels mysteries of her family, including the fate of her long-lost older brother. Spelman skillfully draws the reader into the elation and sorrow that accompanies the discovery of a family’s past. A profoundly loving yet honest elegy, Missing is complex and beautiful like the mother it memorializes.

About the Author

My memoir, MISSING, is now out in paperback from JackLeg Press. It is about my search to understand the “emotional legacies” in my family, and to find out what happened in my mother’s past. You can see a one-minute video about the book on this site. Author Alex Kotlowitz (THERE ARE NO CHILDREN HERE) wrote of MISSING: “Spelman’s gentle, lyrical prose belies the haunting nature of her story, a searing, honest search for the lost pieces of her family’s story…It’s memoir writing at its absolute finest.”

I wrote “The Way I Feel” picture books to help children name, understand, and manage their feelings—and to help their parents and caregivers, who, perhaps, like many of us, were not offered much help, themselves, with their emotions. I felt sure that such books would be of use, but even my experiences when I was a therapist and worked with young children and families, and my own mothering and grandmothering times, had not prepared me for the touching responses of relief and comfort that these books have elicited. It seems that having their adults read with them about a feeling, turning the pages and looking at the illustrations of animal charcters who are experiencing feelings that the children, too, experience, places upsetting and confusing emotions into the safe world of a book, a safe world where feelings have names and where there are methods to manage them.

Purchase Here



Memoir Writing at its Absolute Finest.”

Cornelia Spelman’s gentle, lyrical prose belies the haunting nature of her story, a searing, honest search for the lost pieces of her family’s story. Missing is a book that both comforts and astounds. It’s memoir writing at its absolute finest. ─Alex Kotlowitz

A long, intimate journey; the very honest accounting of the way old pain works its way through the generations. One of the fascinations of the whole story comes from the vicarious satisfaction of seeing someone who actually does discover every bit of what is still discoverable, and then who dares to speculate with candor about how it all fits together, not to mention how it’s affected her.
─Rosellen Brown

Cornelia Spelman | Cornelia Maude Spelman M.S.W., is a writer, an artist, and former therapist. She is the author of picture books for children, including a series called “The Way I Feel.” Her work has been translated into ten languages and sold over two million copies worldwide.

JackLeg Press | JackLeg employs an environmentally sustainable publishing model and a rigorous editorial process to bring the best new and familiar voices into the literary world.

About fredreeca

I am an avid reader and paper crafter. I am a mom of 2 children, 5 dogs and 1 cat. I am a huge St. Louis Cardinals Fan
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