This is Suzy's complete review of the book.
Blog post by Suzy Watts 4/27/13
The title and stated content of this book, at first glance, would seem to be suited to a medical professional looking for a case study to further their knowledge. How wrong that notion would be. Though there are many medical and psychiatric references and opinions, this is an autobiography by the son of someone who suffered from the ailments in the title, and how he and his family learned to cope with them. In fact, the author endeavoured to gain an insight into his mother's problems over many years and a great deal of investigation, and this knowledge is shared with the reader in an entertaining and absorbing manner.
The mother of the author, after the birth of her third son, begins to hear voices and this is the beginning of her mental problems. As it transpires, her own mother had similar problems after the birth of her third child, and she was brought up by adoptive parents, though still occasionally visited her birth mother who lived to the ripe old age of 98.
The mental health problems increased over the years, requiring many detentions in medical institutions for treatments that were sometimes helpful, and sometimes shocking - literally. The true extent of these therapies or cures only became known to the author much later in life while he was studying his mother's illness to gain a better understanding of his mother.
During his moves around the US, he personally comes across other mental health sufferers and in part, these people help him piece together a better picture of his mother and her problems.
I really enjoyed reading this book - it went a long way towards clarifying a somewhat taboo subject that many are unable or unwilling to discuss.