What’s it all about?:
Margo Kerber has endured difficult years battling infertility while trying to sustain her good marriage and satisfying career. When a seemingly miraculous pregnancy ends in a late miscarriage, Margo is devastated. For a time, the unshakable yet false belief that she is pregnant again provides relief from all-consuming grief. When her fantasy inevitably clashes with reality, Margo falls into a deep depression requiring admission to a psychiatric unit. Uncertain if the sometimes chaotic environment there is helping or making her worse, she seizes an opportunity to flee. Alone on the city streets, new fantasies propel her to commit a crime with devastating consequences for herself and others.
Written by a prominent psychiatrist, this stirring portrait of one woman’s psychological unravelling takes readers on a journey across the blurred boundaries between sanity and depression, madness and healing.”
What did I think?:
First of all, many thanks to the lovely people at She Writes Press for providing me with a digital copy of this fascinating debut novel in exchange for an honest review. I have to be perfectly honest and say that I didn’t find this an easy read at all – the subject matters of infertility, miscarriage and mental health touch into some of my worst fears but ultimately I found this story to be a very rewarding one and a highly emotional reading experience.
Our main character is Margo Kerber, an intelligent and compassionate woman who works as a hospital administrator and volunteers part-time with children in the hospital who are ill and just require some comfort and a bit of cheering up and at a home for young people with severe mental health difficulties. She is married to Steven, who is successful in his own right and their marriage is primarily a happy one although they both feel that having a child would make their family complete.
Unfortunately, after some time of “trying,” the couple are given the devastating news that it is unlikely that they will ever conceive which breaks both their hearts but especially Margo, who always felt she was born to be a mother. Then one day, a miracle occurs, Margo finds out she is pregnant but their happiness is short-lived when she loses the baby. I don’t want to give too much more away but this event and others that follow send our poor protagonist into a spiral of grief, severe depression and frightening psychosis that leads to her marriage teetering on a knife edge. Margo must now go through extensive therapy examining both her traumatic past and painful present and a little soul searching if she is to recover some of the person she once was and regain hope for her future.
So, as you can imagine from this little summary, this book is tough but if you can handle the triggers it may invoke, it is a hugely important and powerful read. The author has many years of experience behind her as a psychiatrist and it is clear how much of her personal knowledge and experience was put into the novel which I really appreciated as a reader. I was also pleasantly surprised by how beautifully written some of the prose was which for me is always a bonus in a novel and clearly demonstrates a creative and imaginative mind. Everything about it was so very believable, including the characters and plot and although it raised quite a few painful emotions as I read it, I’m so very glad I did.
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):