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WINNER of the 2015 B.R.A.G. Medallion


The North Side of Down


"How do I want to die? Oh, I don't know. How about a pillow over my face? It will probably be a family member."


Thus illustrates the biting candor of Amanda Bailey, the youngest sibling in this poignant, funny, painfully honest story of bitterly divided family. With their father on his deathbed, eight siblings engage in a feud over property and possessions.  Because she has Down's syndrome, Amanda is pulled into a belligerent guardianship dispute. Her favorite sister Nancy is immersed in bankruptcy and foreclosure. Just when Nancy needs to support Amanda the most, she is at her most broken. In unexpected ways, Amanda lifts her up as no one else can.


Set in Michigan's remote and economically depressed Upper Peninsula, THE NORTH SIDE OF DOWN examines some important questions about society, illustrating the paralyzing legal position of people with disabilities, and the stigma of the homeless. It shows how two sisters' love for each other transcends loss, grief and upheaval within a hopelessly dysfunctional family. In the midst of chaos, it is the misfits who manage to shine.




"What makes this memoir stand above all others is the unparalleled opportunity to read Amanda's wise and amazing journal entries.  ...Her relationship with her sister Nancy glows from the pages." 

Sue Harrison, Author, "Mother Earth, Father Sky"



"Ms. Bailey has written a memoir about family that tells a story as old as Greek Tragedy, and her clear, muscular prose and complete honesty provide its power. But this is also a love story and a contemporary illustration of just how far loyalty and strength can carry two women."

Mike Wall, "Every Good Morning"

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