Pieces of Molly: An Ordinary Life

Author(s) : Judith Edwards

Pieces of Molly: An Ordinary Life

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Molly’s journey starts as everyone’s does, in the womb. In most memoirs the ten years after conception and birth are swiftly passed over, but here we see life from the beginning through the eyes of Molly, a small child grappling with the realities of life as she grows up in rural England at the end of the Second World War. She is a curious little detective, keen to find out as much as she can about life and love. For her, the shadows behind the doors only make sense in hindsight, and buried family secrets come to light as she struggles with the problem of how and who to be in the world. This is a story that examines the boundaries between memory and imagination, hope and illusion.

Reviews and Endorsements

Pieces of Molly has a generosity of imagery and a range of allusion’
- Hilary Mantel, Booker Prize winning novelist

‘A subtle picture of an uneasy childhood, a troublesome mother, and a rural England that has long since vanished’
- Al Alvarez, writer, poet, and critic

‘This book conveys the rush of time in a post-mid-life period where we feel so much closer to the meaning of our parents’ lives – it is poignant, unsentimental, and authentic’
- Valerie Sinason, poet and psychoanalyst

‘The author has an extraordinary capacity to combine the inward, phantasising mind of the infant and growing child with the larger world around her’
- Meira Likierman, psychotherapist and writer, author of Melanie Klein: Her Work in Context

‘Heart-rending and impish by turns, the book is full of spirit and courage – Judith Edwards has an extraordinary capacity to evoke complex emotional states’
- Anthea Gomez, psychoanalyst and musician

'The book can be seen from many points of view - child's or parent's, murderer's or victim's. Molly is more than herself; she is an archetype of childhood. Do we count that as "ordinary" or not? Edwards's classical British education and her later classical child analytic training at the Tavistock Clinic invest one lonely little girl with the heavy and numinous weight of myth. Freud and Klein of course were harvesting the bounty of those myths when they wrote about Oedipal rivalry, sibling rivalry, "inside babies", and the larger dangers of love, hate, desire, and loss. The tale Edwards tells is a simple one, but it is as complex as each of our own lives and the complicated wish to be close to, and separate from, mother.'
- Susan Finkelstein, Freudian analyst, New York

'A rich and joyous read. A rare beast. A rare, possibly unique, first person child's eye perspective. Should be required reading for anyone wanting to understand children's minds. Read it and read it again. Give it to your friends and colleagues.'
- Jo Russell, Journal of Child Psychotherapy, April 2016

About the Author(s)

Judith Edwards is a child and adolescent psychotherapist who has worked for over thirty years at the Tavistock Clinic in London. Apart from her clinical experience, one of her principal interests is in the links between psychoanalysis, culture, and the arts, as well as making psychoanalytic ideas accessible to a wider audience. She has an international academic publishing record and in 2010 was awarded the Jan Lee memorial prize for the best paper linking psychoanalysis and the arts during that year: ‘Teaching & Learning about Psychoanalysis: Film as a teaching tool’.

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