Don McLean's Daughter Writes of a Shattered Childhood

by VVN Music

Over the last few months, the world has learned a different side of singer/songwriter Don McLean than the one they've know for the last 45 years.

McLean broke onto the scene with the now classic American Pie in 1971, a song that, to this day, has a mythic history with numerous references to be deciphered. He followed with more timeless songs such as Vincent, Castles in the Air and And I Love You So.

Yet, this past January, the smiling, friendly persona that McLean showed when in concert was countered with his arrest for domestic violence in an incident that eventually also saw him charged with terrorizing, criminal threatening, criminal restraint, criminal mischief and obstructing the reporting of a crime.

His wife, Patrisha, also wrote of years of abuse from McLean pointing to a bad temper and said that, if she hadn't been able to get to a phone on the night of the incident, she doesn't feel she would have survived.

Up until now, the story of McLean's outbursts have come solely from his now ex-wife; however, his daughter Jackie has written an essay detailing her childhood.

Published at The Talkhouse, McLean talks about being secreted away in the family home with her brother Wyatt.
I lived in a house on a hill, far away from the small town below, with my parents, my brother and a vivid, Technicolor cast of virtual friends. My father was afraid to let us leave the house. He always told us that it was dangerous outside. Friends were not allowed to come over.
When she did attend school, she watched the other students from the side, not having had experience in social norms and language. Her only friend was her brother with whom she invented ways to play in their rural home.

The most chilling, though, is her final paragraph where she says her father would grow angry whenever she would show signs of growing up:
My father could never forgive us for growing up. He wanted to keep us, his lost children, in a Peter Pan fantasy. Every sign of growth caused an outburst, a strain on the bubble that contained us. As I got older, I took to hiding in my room more and more. My very appearance was evidence of my failure to stay the way he wanted me to. Every day he talked wistfully about the good times when we were immobile, mute, helpless against any influence. “I remember when you were first born,” he’d say, “you were the first thing that was ever completely mine.”
You can read the entire essay at The Talkhouse.

Jackie McLean recently released her first EP under the professional name Roan Yellowthorn.

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