Library and NLCMH schedule ‘Great Michigan Read’ events

Annie’s Ghosts Full Story in Grand Traverse Insider, 3/30/14

TRAVERSE CITY – The Traverse Area District Library (TADL) will team up with Northern Lakes Community Mental Health (NLCMH) to present a series of local events April 3-12 to recognize the 2014 Great Michigan Read, “Annie’s Ghosts: A Journey Into a Family Secret” by journalist and Detroit native Steve Luxenberg.

The collaborative series, taking place at the Woodmere (Main) Branch of TADL, will include an art exhibit, panel discussion, book club, and author events with Virginia LeClaire author of the “Traverse City State Hospital Training School for Nurses” as well as a featured morning event with Luxenberg.

A full event calendar is available at

Luxenberg had no reason to question his mother’s biography. She was an only child, her name was Beth and she always taught him to tell the truth. Then, inadvertently, he learned his mother’s devastating secret.

Luxenberg’s book, “Annie’s Ghosts,” explores the emotional costs of self-deception and self-preservation. His journey takes readers into the world of lost relatives, the history of Michigan’s asylums and the emerging conflict between respecting privacy and understanding the past.

“As this is the 50th anniversary of the Community Mental Health Act, it is especially timely to discuss the themes presented in ‘Annie’s Ghosts,’” said Greg Paffhouse, Northern Lakes CMH Chief Executive Officer. “We are exceptionally pleased to collaborate with the Traverse Area District Library to host these special events and especially the author event with Mr. Luxenberg. Through his writing he not only tells his family story, but also provides insight into the care delivery system in this era. We now provide care in the community for many people who in 1963 would have spent a large portion of their lives in large state institutions. Too often families would be separated, family relationships lost, and hopes and dreams not realized.”

“Annie’s Ghosts,” has a focus far beyond author Luxenberg and his journey of uncovering a family secret. The themes raised in this book – mental illness and care, immigration, genealogy and family secrets – have the potential to reach everyone.