Picks and Pans Review: At the Still Point
Carol Buckley, 56, a child of a rich and celebrated Irish-Catholic family—conservative commentator and author William F. Buckley and former New York Sen. James Buckley are among her brothers—makes her literary debut with this affecting portrait of self-discovery.
The youngest of 10, her privileged but lonely childhood was filled with servants and travel. The Buckleys, whose fortune derived from oil, lived in Europe, Mexico, Connecticut and South Carolina. Despite Carol's material advantages, an unhappy first marriage, a stillborn child and the tragic early deaths of two sisters led to her alcoholism and a mental breakdown.
A second marriage—to a prominent businessman—restored Buckley's social and economic position in the '70s, but she found the life of a New York City socialite empty. At 43 she got herself sober, left her husband and returned to school, eventually earning a graduate degree in clinical social work before settling into a satisfying career as a counselor.
At the Still Point is a beautifully realized reconstruction of a life; a painful search for self-esteem achieved without rancor. It is the best kind of success story. (Simon & Schuster, $23)