Snapshot images breathe life into the family paradox: its inherent power cohabiting with its inherent vulnerability. The family is powerful for the same reasons it is vulnerable. There are deadlines for nurturing and restoring relationships, and, with its intricate makeup, it takes the entire family to save itself. THE CHINABERRY TREE is a rare memoir of a family at war with itself. It lays bare the erosion of the author's family of origin in the absence of divorce and any criminal or heinous behavior. Perception is the pivotal force in the family. This innovative memoir offers a slideshow viewing of the interwoven dynamics that fueled the author's original family life: harmony, humor, separation, sorrow, discord, despair, surrender and death. The youngest of four children, the author presents each and every family member, including herself, from the unusual viewpoint of an insider with no agenda, an insider spreading out pieces of a puzzle with no intention of finding the missing ones. Making no pretense of telling the whole story, she revisits her life within the family. The author began writing THE CHINABERRY TREE long before her family's fate had run its course. In the end, the author discovers that the undying family bond she counted on was a deep-rooted myth she cultivated amidst all the evidence to the contrary. In ruins, the family finally loses its power over her and the grief the author thought she would carry to her grave is put to rest.