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.
The Collected Schizophrenias by Esmé Weijun Wang
Currently Reading: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia! I just finished Edgar Cantero’s hilarious, nostalgia-filled homage to old school mysteries, Meddling Kids, and honestly, I loved it. Now on down the library stack for me. I just started Eliza and I’m already in love. First, I love the way you can see Eliza’s art, as well as kind of get into her head. I’ve heard many, many good things about this book, and I’m looking forward to it. Thanks to my local library and the interloan system for getting it to me! Have you guys read Eliza? Or Zappia’s first novel, Made You Up? If so, what did you think? What are you guys currently reading this week?
(Not my photo!) Currently Reading: Everyone We’ve Been by Sarah Everett! This is my book club’s pick for August, and to be honest, I’m not really sure that I’m feeling it. I love that the main character is a POC and a musician, but the writing style is weird and the plot is strange? I don’t know, maybe I’m in a reading slump? I’m not sure, but I guess we’ll see. Book club is on Thursday, and I’m hoping to finish it by then. What are you guys currently reading this week?