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Sky Ranch:
A Memoir

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Sky Ranch book cover

In 1954 eight-year-old Linda Lockwood moves with her family to a lonely ranch in eastern Washington State; by ten, she performs the duties of an adult ranch hand entirely on her own. But it’s her mother’s schizophrenia and eventual suicide that shape her most profoundly—leaving her with questions about the illness’s cause and heritability, and ultimately driving her to seek answers at the mental institution that treated her mother.

Linda Lockwood childhood home

Above: Our home after 2 bedrooms were added in 1957.

Landscape May 2013 Our Combine and Hopper

About the Book

Release Date: September 10, 2024

Pre-order online or from your favorite bookstore. 

Distributed by Simon & Schuster

At the age of eight, Linda Lockwood moves with her family to an isolated ranch in eastern Washington State. From the age of ten, she patrols the ranch alone on horseback with her border collie companion—herding the sheep, killing rattlesnakes, defending the livestock from predatory coyotes, bears, and trespassing hunters, and living her dream of training horses. But her most daunting challenge lies inside the four walls of her family’s home: she also must help take care of her mother, whose mental illness is growing worse. Linda’s deepest fear is that she might become like her schizophrenic mother.

 

At age twenty-five, Linda is married and wants to start her own family. The joy of her first pregnancy is overshadowed by her mother’s suicide in 1972. In the following year, she grieves two additional losses—a painful miscarriage and the death of her grandmother—a traumatic journey during which she recalls the births and deaths of the ranch animals she cared for. Her success in childbirth proves that she is not like her mother, but questions remain about the cause and heritability of her mother’s disorder. Four decades later she searches for answers about her mother’s—and her own—past, and finally makes peace with the hand she was dealt.

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Sky Ranch Book Cover
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Below: Our now-rusting wheat combine—I rode high in the wooden hopper to level the grain in late 1950s.

Advance Reviews

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