Debra Gwartney's memoir, Live Through This, tells with stark honesty the years Gwartney's two oldest daughters spent running away from home. After a fairly bitter divorce, Gwartney moved with her four daughters to Oregon, far from the girls' father. Amanda and Stephanie drifted into the local Goth scene, then the drug scene, and from there into spending nights away from home, and eventually into running away for months at a time. Gwartney watched helplessly, unable to reconnect with the girls, and struggling with mounting anger for the pain and anguish and fear they were putting her and their younger siblings through. At the same time, she documents how her anger with her ex-husband twisted their loyalties and possibly contributed to their alienation.
I read this book backward, because it pushed so many buttons of mine. I'd read a few chapters, then skip to the end to make sure the kids turned out all right. Then I'd back through their lives. I found myself angry with both the mom and the daughters for the hurt they were selfishly piling on each other. But the honesty of the writing kept me turning the pages. The mistakes were real, and the love was strong. And yes, they live through it.