My memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, currently has 217 reviews over at Amazon. The last one is a gem that I’d like to share with you. Though I personally know the reviewer, I don’t think that swayed her choice of words and her feelings about the book. She’s a professional writer and reads voraciously. So thank you so much, Barbie, for this very thought-provoking review of my memoir.
A Broken Heart
Madeline Sharples’ book is so much more than a memoir, in many ways it is as if you are reading her diary. A book of thoughts addressing memories while trying to understand, to sort through years of heartbreaking and stressful events, hoping to find an answer and to heal. I would bet a very similar emotional battle is felt by all those who have lost loved ones to suicide.
So many parts of this book I can relate to but with a twist. My dad’s abuse of his medication affected his personality and mood changes, and escalated his dementia. The guilt I felt not being able to get through to him, his refusal to let me help him, the off and on of taking and refusing medications, and the anger and blame. All leaves a parent or caregiver hurting, feeling helpless, troubled, and sad.
Paul’s Poem tore my heart out and I cried with the author, understanding each and every thought and scenario that played out in the author’s mind.
There are some parts in the book that threw me for a short bit, areas were the timing of events moved back and forth in time, but that confusion is easily and quickly remedied as you continue to read. There is also many areas of repetition but with this style of writing, digging deep down into ones inner thoughts and fears, I was okay with it. I believe these thoughts and the rehashing of what haunted the author would haunt any grieving and troubled parent. It’s like you are in the author’s head and going through her life with her, feeling her loss, feeling the stress and fears.
Sadly still today there is a stigma that follows those with any mental illness or mentally debilitating disease. Probably because we still do not know so much about the brain and the connective workings of the brain and many of the medications prescribed to help. While some have great success, others do not.
Sharples brings you right into her mindset, feeling the agony that haunts the parents; the “if onlies,”the “what ifs,” and the undeniable guilt regardless if it’s not earned.
There is this sense that the reader is walking in the author’s footsteps and any parent reading this story will relate to many parts of it and bond.
Many thanks to Sharples for sharing such a tragic story of love and loss and also for offering resources for guidance and help at the end of her book. I applaud her courage and honesty, and believe her story will help those who may be going through similar experiences.
I don’t know if a memoir about a loved ones death can ever be considered cathartic but I hope it was in some way for this author.
Thanks again, Barbie. I very much appreciate your reading and reviewing Leaving the Hall Light On: A Mother’s Memoir of Living with Her Son’s Bipolar Disorder and Surviving His Suicide.
If any of you have had similar experiences, reading Leaving the Hall Light On might help.
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