My Mother’s Munchausen’s and Me by Helen Naylor @threadbooks_ #NetGalley #NewRelease #MyMothersMunchausensAndMe

My Mother, Munchausen's and Me : A true story of betrayal and a shocking family secret by [Helen Naylor]


There was a time when I loved my mother. It’s shocking to imply that I stopped loving my mum because mothers always love their children and always do their best for them. Mothers are supposed to be good. But my mother wasn’t good.

Ten years ago, Helen Naylor discovered her mother, Elinor, had been faking debilitating illnesses for thirty years. After Elinor’s self-induced death, Helen found her diaries, which Elinor wrote daily for over fifty years. The diaries reveal not only the inner workings of Elinor’s twisted mind and self-delusion, but also shocking revelations about Helen’s childhood.

Everything Helen knew about herself and her upbringing was founded on a lie. The unexplained accidents and days spent entirely on her own as a little girl, imagining herself climbing into the loft and disappearing into a different world, tell a story of neglect. As a teenager, her mother’s advice to Helen on her body and mental health speaks of dangerous manipulation.

With Elinor’s behaviour becoming increasingly destructive, and Helen now herself a mother, she was left with a stark choice: to collude with Elinor’s lies or be accused of abandoning her.

My Mother, Munchausen’s and Me is a heart-breaking, honest and brave account of a daughter unravelling the truth about her mother and herself. It’s a story of a stolen childhood, mental illness, and the redemptive power of breaking a complex and toxic bond.


My Mother, Munchausen’s and Me 


What a tragic story this is! But Helen’s father should have shelved some responsibility for the care of his daughter. He was there a lot of the time but seemed quite happy to go along with the way they lived. That was through choice, not a condition.

There is no doubt that Helen had a terrible childhood. She endured hardships, loneliness and dangerous conditions, but it was the system that let her down. Her mother had an illness, which had been constantly overlooked. Having Munchausen’s meant this was how she was going to behave.

The account is well written, and it must have been so frustrating for her when the authorities, doctors, family and friends wouldn’t listen to her. That is a huge burden to take on, and I can imagine the guilt of walking away.

I am glad that Helen included that her mother had been respected in her career, and her charity work before the illness took over her. I feel sorry that Helen missed a normal childhood and did not have a mother around for her. I wish her well.

I wish to thank the publisher and Net Galley for an e-copy of this book, which I have reviewed honestly.


Helen Naylor

Helen Naylor has been writing as a hobby since she was a small girl; but it wasn’t until she began a memoir about growing up with a mother who faked illnesses and had narcissistic personality traits that she was encouraged to pursue writing professionally. Helen lives in Nottingham with her husband; two children and cat and enjoys cycling; playing guitar and drinking good coffee. –This text refers to the paperback edition.

My Mother, Munchausen's and Me : A true story of betrayal and a shocking family secret by [Helen Naylor]

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