It’s #GuestDayTuesday once again, folks, and today, I’m happy to have Debbie Russell with us to talk about her upcoming book, Crossing Fifty-One: Not Quite A Memoir. This book sounds very intriguing, and you have a chance to get the first chapter free, too, which is always nice! With that in mind, let’s all welcome Debbie to The Write Stuff. And Debbie, that’s your cue to take it away! 😀
Thanks so much for having me! I really enjoy your lovely blog and I’m so excited to share Crossing Fifty-One with your audience!
In essence, it’s a love letter to my dad. The idea for the book first came to me in 2005 when I stumbled across a file of family letters from my grandfather’s stay at the “Narcotic Farm.” I remember feeling really stunned by the discovery, especially since no one in the family had ever mentioned it. The letters revealed a loving and strong family dynamic, in a time when communication by letter was typical.
When my dad was accepted into hospice in 2016, I became acutely aware that my paternal lineage was disappearing. I’d always been interested in family history and genealogy and felt enormous pressure to preserve everything I knew about my dad and his family. I wanted to understand my dad through his experience as a son and brother, so I brought the letters out again. The events that followed were so remarkable that I knew I had to somehow weave my own experience with that of my grandfather’s.I’m still offering the first chapter free to new subscribers to my monthly newsletter, which you can find at my website HERE
A week before Christmas 1951, Dr. Ralph Russell, a successful San Diego surgeon, risked everything to voluntarily enter a locked federal drug-treatment facility known as a “narcotic farm.”
Sixty-five years later, Dr. Russell’s granddaughter Debbie suffers a debilitating crisis of identity when her father, (Dr. Russell’s oldest son) always her biggest fan, is accepted into hospice.
Debbie’s investigation into her paternal lineage reveals family secrets and ignites her mother’s volatile outbursts, propelling her into therapy.
When therapy fails her, the grandfather Debbie never knew saves her, and she collaborates with her dying father one last time to make her biggest dream come true.
Crossing Fifty-One pulls back the curtain on the internal struggles of midlife and provides a blueprint for redefining one’s self beyond the constraints of addiction and dysfunctional family dynamics.
READERS’ FAVORITE 5 STAR REVIEW EXCERPT:
Debbie Russell’s Crossing Fifty-One: Not Quite a Memoir is a touching reflection on familial history that doubles as a personal exploration of the author’s own identity. The book follows Russell’s journey as she faces her father’s terminal illness, exploring her ancestry as a means of coming to terms with her grief. Through her research, Russell uncovers a volume written by her great-grandfather, a man of ego and destiny, whose characteristics mirror her own. Russell goes on to examine the scientific basis of her genetic traits, a concept that she believes is informed by both the men and women in her family. Her grandfather, a medical doctor, passed down a wealth of knowledge to her father who, in turn, passed on his loving nature to Russell. Ultimately, Crossing Fifty-One serves as a reminder that our familial histories are often deeply ingrained within us, shaping who we are and who we will become…
Here is an author who had done some serious homework and all I had to do was pick a comfortable chair and let her tell me how it went. The writing is exceptional, and the delicate balancing act between the tangible science and the emotional journey is really, really well done. I found myself choked up multiple times and had difficulty putting the book down even though it was past my bedtime…Very highly recommended.
All of my Readers’ Favorite advance reviews can be found HERE
More advance reviews can be found at Goodreads HERE
Author Debbie Russell
Debbie Russell is a lawyer turned writer. She spent twenty-five years as an Assistant County Attorney in Minneapolis, prosecuting numerous high-profile cases and fighting off several nervous breakdowns. At age fifty-five, Debbie took early retirement, giving up a full pension for the freedom of time. She now spends that precious time writing, restoring her property to native prairie and wetlands, and training her rambunctious retrievers.
Debbie’s first published article appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune in 2001. After that small triumph, her writing focused primarily on legal briefs and memoranda, which were consigned to district court files. Debbie resumed creative writing in 2014 when she began her storytelling blog, sharing personal stories and professional experiences that have touched her life in a significant way. Debbie’s article “Getting the Most out of Therapy: Easier Said than Done,” partially based on events in her book, was top ranked in the December 2021 issue of Elephant Journal, an online magazine that celebrates the mindful life.
Buy Crossing Fifty-One: Not Quite a Memoir Here:
BARNES & NOBLE
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You can contact Debbie HERE