Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers…the site that’s bringing the month of February to life with bookish love every day of the week.
Today, we’re celebrating our love of TRUE LIFE STORIES. You know….those books that sit in the Memoir and Biography sections of the store and library. Though not everyone indulges in this particular genre (myself included until a few years back), there are some fascinating tales told, lessons learned, and stories shared…and all it takes is the right audience. The focus of today’s post is a Memoir that caught my attention when pitched my way, but the reading journey…was a bit more of a struggle than I anticipated. Cie la vie, we live we learn…and then share what we did and did-not-as-much like along the way. You never know, my struggles could be something that earnestly peaks your interest so put on your listening ears (eyes?), because here comes today’s book of choice…
About the book…
Millicent Monks was born into the legendary Carnegie family, in which serious mental illness has affected four generations of women. Mental illness has played a prominent and overwhelming part in her life. Her search for answers led her to Jungian analysis, meditation and sutras, which have helped her to find a delicate peace amid the devastating mental illness in her family. She shares her story in the hopes that it will help other families.
“If I can do something worthwhile to help people with children who are mentally ill,” says Monks, “I would think that was something worth accomplishing in my life.”
Wonderful sentiments and such a powerful purpose behind the words, but alas for this reader, it fell short.
I always say this but it’s worth saying again, Memoirs are a hard “creature” to review. Why? Because it is someone’s life story, their TRUTH. How can you say that it was wrong here, or the story went badly there…life is LIFE; there’s only so much you can do about it, you know? For me, I take the stance of sharing my own experience with the collected thoughts, the layout of things and the overall presentation. To me, these are tangible parts of the book that I can lay a claim to in some fashion, so forgive me if my post strays to the curtained side of courtesy a time or two.
In my humble opinion, the book had it’s highs and lows…and alas the latter frequently outnumbered the former. Where the book soared highest was when Ms. Monks was sharing the personal experiences closest to her; her own life and times, as well as those of her daughter, son and husband. I found myself turning pages much faster and riding the waves of wonder and delirium in equal turns as I delved into the shadows with a younger Millicent, felt off balance with Cassandra, wondered how young Angus would fair and thanked the lucky stars shining on Ms. Monks when she met her Bobby. It was touching and heartfelt yet not always in happiness but you know what…it kept us in the moments for what they were worth. On the other side of that totem pole…I didn’t get such “warm fuzzies” in a few other areas of the book. The chapters that were purely dedicated to the islands were beautiful in description but to me, not as moving in content. Those that dove into the family’s past alone without as pressing ties to the here and now, struck me as more textbook material than living, breathing passages.
In conclusion, a unique recollection of a family that has had more than its share of winding roads when it comes to disorders of the mind. Despite my overall lack of enthusiasm, there are still redeeming aspects of the book that will certainly appeal to a varied spectrum of readers. It shows the strength that can still be garnered from those holding steadfast within. It shares the strife and chafing that those suffering from the disease itself experience…and truly end up sharing with all those within reach. It sheds light on a subject that wasn’t often talked about in days gone by but has gained a new audience and offers them something that many have a deficit of….HOPE. Will this be the next bestseller? Hard to say…but as far as its ability to touch and change lives, I’ve no doubt.
Review copy received courtesy of Leyane at FSB Associates. (THANKS!) For more information on this title online, follow along on Twitter, or if you’re a blogger, sign up to be added to their directory! This book is available now via Prospecta Press, so be on the look out for it on a bookstore shelf near you.as well as their future promotions, be sure to visit them
Until next time…happy reading!