Uphill Walkers by Madeleine Blais
A Memoir of a Family

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In 1952, Madeleine Blais's father died suddenly, leaving his pregnant wife and their five young children to face their future alone in a newly purchased house in rural Massachusetts. Uphill Walkers is the story of how the Blais family pulled together to survive and ultimately thrive in an era when a single-parent family was almost unheard of. As they came of age in an Irish-American household that often struggled to make ends meet, the Blais children would rise again and again above all obstacles -- from the complex vicissitudes of Catholic doctrinal education to the inevitable sibling rivalries. At every step of the way they were inspired by a mother who expected much but gave even more, as she saved and sacrificed to provide her children with the same education they would have received had their father lived. Then, when they had grown to adulthood and begun to lead separate lives, the Blais children had to band together once more to come to the aid of Raymond, their troubled eldest brother, whose mental illness had driven his life to take increasingly darker turns. Beautiful, heartbreaking, and full of wonderful insights about sisterhood, brotherhood, and the ties that bind us together, Uphill Walkers is a moving portrait of the love it takes to succeed against the odds -- and what it means to be a family.

About Madeleine Blais

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Published May 10, 2001 by Atlantic Monthly Press. 256 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Parenting & Relationships. Non-fiction

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They didn’t starve, but they had to resign themselves to eating “cheaper tuna” and a dessert they called “dogfood.” As the eldest sister, the author was also the cruelest—shamelessly given to tormenting her sister Jacqueline (she defaced her diary, mocked her for being homesick at summer camp, an...

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Publishers Weekly

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Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Blais (author of In These Girls, Hope Is a Muscle, a high school basketball team narrative that was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist in 1995) turns her impressive reporting skills to her own 1950s rural Massachusetts childhood in this occasionally de...

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