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American Daughter

Updated: Sep 15, 2020

A Memoir of Intergenerational Trauma, a Morher’s Dark Secrets, and a Daughter’s Quest for Redemption

Stephanie Plymale speaks from the heart and shares a touching and moving chronicle of her survival from a horrendous childhood.



American Daughter is Stephanie Thornton Plymale’s memoir. Her childhood was a series of nightmares, thanks to a mentally-ill mother who was in and out of jails and psych wards. Stephanie experienced neglect, hunger, poverty, homelessness, truancy, foster homes, abuse, and inadequate education.

Stephanie now in her fifties is successful and has risen above her horrendous childhood. Stephanie and her mom have been estranged during most of Stephanie’s adult life. But that all changed with a phone call from her mother telling her that that she was terminal ill. This call set Stephanie on a road of discovery about her mom, allowing for reconciliation and healing.

“But at the moment, I could only stand as if rooted in the middle of the room, overwhelmed by a desire so fierce it was like a revelation. This, I thought. I want this. And one day I’ll have it. “


AMERICAN DAUGHTER is a touching chronicle of Stephanie’s dreadful childhood. I appreciate her ability and her willingness to share some brutally honest revelations with us. She speaks from the heart and shares a moving story. Her writing is clear and concise.

One of the most amazing thing about this story is that Stephanie is okay. Despite everything she experienced as a child, she had the strength and fortitude to rise above her past and survived. She not only survived but flourished. She is a successful business women, an educator, and a happy wife and mother. How did she do that?

The story of her childhood is wrenching. This book is difficult to read in places but it’s real, and people need to know and understand what happens in situations where a parent is mentally-ill, and with children in the foster care. The “system” failed Stephanie and her family. They fell between the cracks. She was failed by the school system, the child protection system, the legal system, and the healthcare system We need to take action to prevent this from happening to others. If you liked books like Educated or Glass Castles you will find this book intriguing and thought provoking.

Thanks to Netgalley for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher Greenleaf Book Group and River Grove Books

Published February 11, 2020

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