I’ve struggled with mental health memoirs and autobiographies. I’m always looking for myself in the narrative and feel interrupted when the author shares some personal detail so unlike my own experiences.
But Esmé Weijun Wang’s voice captured me from the start.
Maybe it’s because she is fairly impersonal in tone, even when describing deeply personal and emotional moments in her life. She relates research, facts and statistics, and tales of her own psychoses with the same voice. It’s never maudlin, never asks for pity, only understanding and acceptance for her life as it is. Or, maybe it’s because she is so willing to explore herself on the page– to honestly challenge her own misconceptions and beliefs about schizophrenic disorders and mental illness while holding up the same mirror to the reader.
I really loved, and was deeply moved, by this book. Wang details the struggles of living with a chronic, on-going, incurable illness that is highly stigmatized in our society seemingly without fear, which I so admire. And by telling the details of something so intimate and personal, she makes the experience universal and relatable. 5 stars.