So-Called Normal: A Memoir of Family, Depression and Resilience

HarperCollins. Jan. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9781443455039. pap. $19.99. BIOG
Henick opens his memoir with a trigger warning to the reader, and even those readers who may not be as affected by depictions of suicidal ideation may struggle to read parts of this emotional, yet brilliant account from one of Canada’s leading voices on mental health. His memoir is eloquently written, able to evoke a wide range of reactions as we follow along his journey of discovering and better understanding his mental health struggles. Henick tells of his battle with depression and anxiety, and how a stranger saved his life after a near-suicide attempt. There are moments of both sadness and joy as he describes his progression, and how he faltered and, ultimately, overcame. Along the way, the author tells the history of his Irish Catholic family, and the stigma of mental illness that still persists.
VERDICT While it may be a difficult read for some, this book is a wonderful and redemptive prize to finish. A definite recommendation for those who want to better support their loved ones with mental health issues, and a great start for further discussion.
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