This is not the book I imagined I would write someday, but the call to create it was unmistakable. Each step of the way, help has come to me through an incredible number of people who offered encouragement, support, prayers, and hugs. Most notably, my husband, Paul, and youngest son, Joe, were intimately involved in the day-to‐ day cheerleading and hand holding that made it possible for me to persevere. My other son, Matt, knew the exact right time to come home from the Navy after a year away, reminding me to always take time for what really counts.
My incredible agent, Laureen Rowland, has, like many of the women in this book, become a valued friend and supporter. Marnie Cochran, my wonderful editor at Perseus (another mom!) and the entire sales/publicity team she has connected me with have all been phenomenal in their own ways. Two other people who helped make this book happen were Sue Horstick, my typist and source of initial feedback, and Maureen Earl, a mentor/friend/mom who voluntarily edited the manuscript—not once, but twice.
I cannot describe in a few sentences the contribution of four people who helped Ellen and me by always believing in the best of her: Dr. Shawna Brent, caseworker Amy Davis, Dr. Richard Levine, and high-school guidance counselor Frank Basehoar. My own therapist, Dr. Barbara Kuhlengel, who is a psychiatrist, mother, and friend,