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Cover for Half of a Whole

Half of a Whole

My Fight for a Separate Life

Marilyn Peterson Haus


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Half of a Whole explores the intimate bond between a twin brother and sister, the cruel consequences that occur when one of them becomes mentally ill, and the courage required to break away when love is not enough.

Just when Marilyn Peterson Haus thought she had escaped life as the child of born-again farmers on the Minnesota plains, her twin brother’s manic violence catapults her back to the fissures of her childhood. Half of a Whole is the haunting chronicle of her twin’s encroaching mental illness, her mother’s blatant favoritism, and the stultifying strictures of her family’s religious zealotry. Sentence by sentence, she battles to break free from a painful past and live life on her own terms.
“This is the unadorned, compelling story of the author’s struggle to both protect and individuate from her bipolar twin brother, while enmeshed in the repressive, stifling culture of her evangelical family. An inspiring, courageous, and complex journey toward the freedom we all need to fulfill our own individual potential as human beings.” —Joan Kavanaugh, Minister, Psychotherapist, Author of For the Living of These Days: Prayers for a Troubled World

Praise For Half of a Whole: My Fight for a Separate Life

“Illuminating . . . this sharply conceived book shines a light on the challenges of twinship and offers a deeply personal account of a family coping with mental illness. A richly detailed and affecting remembrance.” 
— Kirkus Reviews

Post Hill Press, 9781642939347, 272pp.

Publication Date: June 8, 2021

About the Author

Marilyn Peterson Haus grew up on a Minnesota farm. Having retired from a business career, she enjoys gardening, cross country skiing, and listening to classical music. She lives with her husband in the beautiful Berkshire Hills in Massachusetts.