October 2017 Indie Next List
“The Glass Eye, at its heart, is a memoir of Jeannie's relationship with her late father and the grief she experienced after his death. But it's also about her half-sister, Jeanne, who died before she was born; it's about mental illness; and it's about family and what that means. This is memoir at its best. The prose is powerful and often breathtaking - it'll make your heart break, it might make you cry, and you'll probably even laugh a few times. This is an elegy fierce and lyrical and raw, like none I've read before.”
— Sarah Malley, Newtonville Books, Newton, MA
December 1969 Indie Next List
“An absolutely beautiful exploration of family, grief, memory, and madness, The Glass Eye is outstanding. Jeannie Vanasco promised her father before his death that she would write a book for him, never knowing the psychological and mental toll the process would ultimately take on her. Vanasco explores her family's history-the entirely separate family her father had before she was born and the late-in-life marriage that led to Jeannie's birth-and her own destructive behavior as she falls in and out of a mental illness that informs the truly fascinating structure of the book. The layers found in this memoir are as plentiful as the layers found in the human eye; it is as deeply layered as the human experience itself.”
— Jamie Thomas, Women & Children First, Chicago, IL
The night before her father dies, eighteen-year-old Jeannie Vanasco promises she will write a book for him. But this isn't the book she imagined. The Glass Eye is Jeannie's struggle to honor her father, her larger-than-life hero but also the man who named her after his daughter from a previous marriage, a daughter who died. After his funeral, Jeannie spends the next decade in escalating mania, in and out of hospitals-increasingly obsessed with the other Jeanne. Obsession turns to investigation as Jeannie plumbs her childhood awareness of her dead half sibling and hunts for clues into the mysterious circumstances of her death. It becomes a puzzle Jeannie feels she must solve to better understand herself and her father. Jeannie Vanasco pulls us into her unraveling with such intimacy that her insanity becomes palpable, even logical. A brilliant exploration of the human psyche, The Glass Eye deepens our definitions of love, sanity, grief, and recovery.