A divorced mother attempts suicide and suffers a brain injury in this debut book about trauma and recovery.
In June 2007, Hampton woke up in a hospital, not completely sure of why she was there. In the weeks that followed, she learned that a suicide attempt had left her with a “global, acquired brain injury.” Speech was difficult, and her sense of time became skewed. When she overheard her father planning what clothes to pick up from her house, Hampton asked, “I have a house?” She goes on to describe the circumstances that led to the suicide attempt: a breakup with her boyfriend, a terrible hangover, and a messy divorce. Stealing pills from a friend’s house, Hampton attempted to overdose on medication. Her 10-year-old son discovered her passed out on the kitchen floor when he came home from school. While struggling to recover from her brain injury, Hampton lost custody of her two sons to their father. A strict visitation schedule inspired her to get better. Hampton often dips into her back story: other suicide attempts; the death of her beloved brother Chris; her abusive ex-husband. All of these traumas began to heal when Hampton started to pursue alternative medicine, including acupuncture, massage, and something called “neurofeedback.” Eventually she became well enough to make peace with her past and her present. Hampton is candid in her storytelling, offering an unsentimental look at her own worst moments. While the chronology of the forthright memoir jumps back and forth, the characters recur in a fashion that’s easy to follow as Hampton reveals more and more of her past. She folds in quotes and titles from various authors’ inspirational books, from Byron Katie to Pema Chodron, that work to assure readers that this is ultimately a memoir of healing. There’s a tendency to explain what happened rather than to let the story unfold, but Hampton remains steadfast in creating a memoir that shows both the problem and the solution. The ending could stand more action and less exposition, but a penultimate scene reveals Hampton vacationing in Hawaii with her brother Ken, buoying the tale with much needed hope.
This earnest memoir about healing sometimes meanders but eventually finds its voice.