A Place We Knew Well by Susan Carol McCarthy

A Place We Knew Well by Susan Carol McCarthyI have been in a slump of epic proportions for months now. I don’t even want to read. It’s weird and crazy. And then in walks A Place We Knew Well by Susan Carol McCarthy, and it changes everything. For the first time in weeks I stayed up past my bedtime to read. Continue reading

Visiting Hours: A Memoir of Friendship and Murder by Amy Butcher

Visiting Hours by Amy ButcherI finished Visiting Hours by Amy Butcher last night, and I still don’t know exactly how i feel about it. The real-life premise is stunning: in college one of Butcher’s best friends commits a horrific and grizzly murder. Seriously. Put yourself in her shoes. How do you move on from such an event? That is what Visiting Hours is about – Butcher trying to piece together her life in the immediate aftermath of the crime and in the years following it. Continue reading

Bonita Avenue by Peter Buwalda

bonita-avenueWhat is it about Dutch-Scando-wegian literature that makes me so uncomfortable? Admittedly, I have not read much, but what I have read always takes me to an uncomfortable place. It takes rather black and white issues and blurs them all together into innumerable shades of gray. Continue reading

The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing by Mira Jacob

sleepwalkers guide to dancingWhen it comes to reading good books, I seem to be on a roll lately. I finished The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing by Mira Jacob in record time and stayed up far too late doing it. Initially it reminded me of Em and The Big Hoom (review) as both books are set in Indian families dealing with what can be broadly termed psychological complexities, but within a hundred pages Jacob’s book stood apart with its own set of well wrought characters. Continue reading

Em and the Big Hoom by Jerry Pinto

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June is Mental Health Awareness Month hosted by Leah @ Uncorked Thoughts and Ula @ Blog of Erised. Even though I found out about it a little late, I still wanted to support their efforts and this important cause. June is almost over, but I am pleased that I can include my review of Em and the Big Hoom by Jerry Pinto as part of this event.

em and the big hoomPinto has written one masterpiece of a book with Em and the Big Hoom. Set in Mumbai, story revolves around Em, the bipolar mother of our narrator. And I mean the story literally revolves around her. Pinto examines Em’s moods, depression and hospitalizations through each of the members of her family. It shows how mental illness is not a solitary affair, but effects everyone it comes into contact with. Continue reading

The Mad Sculptor by Harold Schechter

The-mad-sculptorI will be completely honest with you and say that I chose The Mad Sculptor: The Maniac, The Model and The Murder that Shook the Nation because I had it mixed up in my head with The Wife, The Maid and the Mistress by Ariel Lawhon. Both are New York based mysteries set in the 1930s and both use alliteration with the letter ‘M’ in their titles. Beyond that, there is little similarity.

The Mad Sculptor is about a murder that rocked New York City in 1937. Robert Irwin, a brilliant young sculptor, went to the apartment of his unrequited love interest and killed her mother and a boarder before finally killing Veronica. Following the murders, Irwin was the target of a manhunt that lasted several months. Continue reading

The Answer to the Riddle is Me by David Stuart MacLean

the-answer-riddle-meI first heard of The Answer to the Riddle is Me a couple of weeks ago when David Stuart MacLean did a segment on NPR’s This American Life. I was blown away. Basically, MacLean woke up one day on a train platform in India and did not know who he was, where he was or why he was there. He didn’t even have a passport. All of this he attributes to the anti-malarial drug known as Larium or mefloquine.

That is what truly peaked my interest. Larium. Mefloquine. When I went to India for the first time in 1996 I was prescribed Mefloquine. I was fine for the two months that I was in India, but within months of returning to Canada I became severely anxious and fell into a deep depression. I was already prone to depression, but this was different. I was scared.

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