"Lawrance’s debut memoir is a magnanimous appraisal of how mental illness affects her family, and the respite she found through intellectual stimulation on the road from agnosticism to faith."– Kirkus Reviews
Lawrance’s debut memoir is a magnanimous appraisal of how mental illness affects her family, and the respite she found through intellectual stimulation on the road from agnosticism to faith.
Lawrance wades through the details of her life, weaving flashback and exposition with none-too-subtle hints of the heartache to come. Although she focuses most keenly on her eldest son Dan’s struggle with schizophrenia, Lawrance’s perspicacity shines through. She balances the intensity of emotionally charged moments by chronicling the successes of her career in public-history projects, illustrating an understanding of how multifaceted life can be. By incorporating her professional achievements into the narrative, the author emphasizes the necessity and value of intellectual stimulation as a healthy distraction from the challenges of caring for those with mental illness. However, Lawrance’s treatment of the solace she found through religion—which doesn’t appear until three quarters of the way into the book—may have readers questioning her choice of title. By failing to mention it until the book is nearly concluded, Lawrance does little to honor the sense of urgency and importance with which she regards her faith. The author also has a tendency to become overly didactic at times. She prohibits readers from realizing their own emotional reaction to the events; instead, she imparts her own emotional reaction and deconstructs her emotions in the dialect of psychological terminology. These expository interruptions create a sense that the author does not trust readers to fully comprehend what she has written. Worse even, the pedantic passages might signify a writer struggling to cogently relate the difficult events of her family’s history.
May offer inspiration to readers facing the challenges of mental illness.