Sometimes the only way through darkness is to return to where it began.
I personally know what mental illness, particularly manic depression, now called bipolar disease can do to a person and how it can affect a family. We’ve taken positive steps as a society by openly talking about this issue and now recognizing it as a disease, like any other that can be treated by medication and therapy. But we have a long way to go and yesterday was a good step in breaking the stigma by recognizing, World Mental Health Day.
In ECHOES of FAMILY ((LakeUnionPress), author, Barbara Claypole White introduces us to Marianne, who is manic-depressive. She has attempted suicide, been hospitalized numerous times and has gone off and on her medication with critical results. We quickly learn that loving someone with mental illness is a never-ending process and never easy.
Marianne left England when she was seventeen, leaving behind a trail of memories, secrets, death, and many unresolved issues, which fueled her disease. Three decades later, she’s married with an almost-daughter and believes she’s found peace. But then an accident happens taking her mentally back to the young seventeen year-old girl she was, facing those unresolved issues.
As Marianne’s mind unravels, those around her try to save her, but end up recognizing their limitations and personal damage. ECHOES of FAMILY is an example of how the concept of the “traditional family,” isn’t as simple as it used to be. People come together to support one another and create their own families. Marianne must face her own demons ultimately, to get well.
Even at over four-hundred pages, ECHOES of FAMILY is a fast read. The chapters alternate between the various characters and are pithy. Barbara writes quick reader-friendly dialogue; you can hear the characters distinctly speaking.
I love reading family drama and Barbara Claypole White has a gift for writing deeply layered and compelling novels. Her novels keep me thinking about them long after I’ve closed each book. This is a perfect novel to read on a chilly fall afternoon with a glass of Merlot.