04 June 2017

My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward by Mark Lukach

Hey guys! I'm back with another review. I'm part of a tour hosted by TLC Book Tours. Keep reading to see what I thought about the book! : ) 

Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon Barnes & Noble
Publication: May 2nd, 2017 
# of Pages: 320
Source: Copy for Review 

A heart-wrenching, yet hopeful, memoir of a young marriage that is redefined by mental illness and affirms the power of love.

Mark and Giulia’s life together began as a storybook romance. They fell in love at eighteen, married at twenty-four, and were living their dream life in San Francisco. When Giulia was twenty-seven, she suffered a terrifying and unexpected psychotic break that landed her in the psych ward for nearly a month. One day she was vibrant and well-adjusted; the next she was delusional and suicidal, convinced that her loved ones were not safe.

Eventually, Giulia fully recovered, and the couple had a son. But, soon after Jonas was born, Giulia had another breakdown, and then a third a few years after that. Pushed to the edge of the abyss, everything the couple had once taken for granted was upended.

A story of the fragility of the mind, and the tenacity of the human spirit, My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward is, above all, a love story that raises profound questions: How do we care for the people we love? What and who do we live for? Breathtaking in its candor, radiant with compassion, and written with dazzling lyricism, Lukach’s is an intensely personal odyssey through the harrowing years of his wife’s mental illness, anchored by an abiding devotion to family that will affirm readers’ faith in the power of love.

I will preface this review by saying that I definitely decided to join this tour because of how much mental illness resonates with me. I have family members who struggle with mental illness and I myself have struggled and still continue to struggle with mental health issues. Reading stories, fiction or non-fiction, that address other people's experiences with mental illness whether it be within themselves, significant others, family, or friends is truly captivating.

My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward definitely and completely captivated me as a reader. It pulled me in in unexpected ways and really gave me a different perspective on mental illness. Quite often, from my own personal experience, it has been extremely hard for me to understand what it's like for someone to date me or commit to me knowing the severity of my mental illnesses. I, for instance, know that it can be difficult, but I've never realized the patience and the absolute strength and courage it can take for a man or woman to stay and commit to a relationship that can be frustrating, stressful, and ultimately overwhelming. What was even more amazing about this novel is that the couple was willing to let us into the difficulties of their relationship with no reservations. Mental health/mental illness can be a very personal subject and Mark and Giulia have no problems showing their audience the good, bad, and ugly. I greatly appreciated this aspect of the novel as it gave the writing more depth and made every aspect of their lives that much more powerful.

This novel is unforgettable and definitely a great insight to mental illness from two different perspectives. Quite often readers hear about mental illness from the perspective of the individual that is sick and it was quite refreshing to hear it from a completely new and different perspective. If you have an interest in mental health and those who are considered loved one and significant others I would definitely recommend checking this out.

Mark Lukach is a teacher and freelance writer. His work has been published in the New York Times, the AtlanticPacific StandardWired, and other publications. He is currently the ninth-grade dean at the Athenian School, where he also teaches history. He lives with his wife, Giulia, and their son, Jonas, in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Find out more about Mark at his website, and connect with him on Facebook and Instagram.

1 comment:

  1. You're so right that we often don't see many different perspectives on living with mental illness. This book is certainly an eye-opener!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.