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Last edited by Mek
July 22, 2017 | History

Vivienne: the life and suicide of an adolescent girl 3 editions

Cover of: Vivienne | John E. Mack, Holly Hickler
About the Book

At 6:30 on the evening of December 21, 1973, Vivienne Loomis walked into her mother's empty silversmithing studio at their home in Melrose, Massachusetts, tied a rope around her neck, and hanged herself. Vivienne was fourteen years and four months old. She was attractive, intelligent, and especially gifted at writing, yet she suffered from so intense and unutterable a despair that she was driven to take her own life. Why?

Vivienne is a loving portrait of a troubled girl, as well as a professionally innovative examination of an alarming and mysterious epidemic: adolescent suicide. Suicide is now the second leading cause of death among all Americans aged fifteen to nineteen.

From the extensive material Vivienne Loomis left behind - a long diary and personal journal, a collection of searing poems and school compositions, and several letters to a beloved teacher - clinical psychiatrist John Mack and writing teacher Holly Hickler narrate the final two years of Vivienne's emotional life, using her words as much as possible. They then examine the events of those anguished last months - her personality development, family, school and social relationships - in "an effort to understand the forces that led Vivienne to her decision." Finally, they "consider her death in relation to the increasings national problem of adolescent suicide" and suggest an important new way in which to approach this frightening phenomenon.

According to the authors, this book "is written with the hope that is can be meaningful to anyone close to adolescents: therapists and counselors, teachers whose daily experience must include depressed young people, families struggling with the problem of adolescent suicide. We hope, too, that Vivienne can live again in these pages as the sensitive, remarkable young girl she was."

Vivienne is a book that is heartbreaking yet hopeful, for it offers a rare look inside - and an articulate understanding of - the too-often-secret adolescent world.


3 editions First published in 1981

Edition Read Borrow Buy
Cover of: Vivienne
1981, Little, Brown
in English - 1st ed.
Cover of: Vivienne
October 5, 1982, Signet
Paperback in English
Cover of: Vivienne
October 5, 1982, Signet

History Created April 16, 2010 · 7 revisions Download catalog record: RDF / JSON

July 22, 2017 Edited by Mek adding subject: In library
August 12, 2015 Edited by Will Bueche Added new cover
August 12, 2015 Edited by Will Bueche added coauthor
August 12, 2015 Edited by Will Bueche Synopsis from publisher
April 16, 2010 Created by WorkBot work found