Mary Pflum Peterson joins us to talk about her book: White Dresses: A Memoir of Love and Secrets, Mothers and Daughters. She is an advocate for mental illness awareness which she lovingly details in her book and on our show.
Join us for a powerful discussion about some areas in mental health, such as hoarding, that are still heavily stigmatized and misunderstood.
Mary Pflum Peterson is a multi-Emmy-Award-winning television journalist … a New York Times bestselling author … and an acclaimed public speaker.
She began her career in journalism at the CNN-New York Bureau at age 20, while still an undergraduate at Columbia University. By age 21, she was conducting her first big interviews with political leaders the likes of Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich. By age 23, she was reporting on-camera around the nation for CNN and filling in as an anchor on CNN Newsroom.
Mary went on report internationally, covering everything from Vienna balls to Maltese temples – but calls the time she spent living and working for CNN in Turkey from 1999 to 2002 as the most formative period of her journalism career.
In October 2002, Mary returned to the U.S. to work for ABC News/ Good Morning America. Her time at GMA enabled her to cover presidential elections, Oscar races, Hurricane Katrina, the London bombings, royal weddings, the death of Pope John Paul II, and the ascendance of Barack Obama to national political power. It also enabled her to win a spate of awards, including five Emmys, two Edward R Murrows, a Peabody, a duPont, and a WGA Award.
In 2016, Mary joined the Today Show, the morning program she grew up watching in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin- and the show she credits for making her want to become a TV journalist.
In addition to being a decorated journalist, Mary is also a critically-acclaimed author. In September 2015, her first book, White Dresses: A Memoir of Love and Secrets, Mothers and Daughters, was published by HarperCollins. The book tells the story of Mary’s decidedly complicated, yet fiercely loving family, through the white dresses that the women in the family wore on significant days in their lives. The book was critically acclaimed was a New York Times Best Seller.
Mary frequently speaks to book and church groups, as well as to public libraries and book store audiences, about White Dresses – and about issues explored within the book, including hoarding, mental illness, nun abuse, and homosexuality. Her talks have been called “candid”, “enlightening”, “uplifting” and “eye-opening.” Mary’s mother was a compulsive hoarder – beginning when Pflum Peterson was a child. But no hoarding – no mental illness – hindered Mary’s mom’s ability to love. And it’s that unconditional love that, Mary says, is the thread from which all good things in her life have sprung.