In this debut memoir, a young woman studying social work explores her relationship with her older sister, whose battle with schizophrenia transformed her from a charming role model into a volatile and tragic figure whose death continues to haunt Leddy and her family.
... a chilling, moving memoir ... Through a sensitively drawn, stream-of-conscious narrative...she stitches together remembered fragments and pivotal scenes from the life she, her mother and father shared with Kait ... Leddy's raw search for understanding, meaning and peace grants readers a rare personal glimpse into the universal mysteries of mental illness and the long-lasting traumatic effects it has on those afflicted, as well as those in its orbit.
Leddy’s explorations into schizophrenia and its relationship to traumatic brain injury enrich the story and beg comparisons to Susan Cahalan’s Brain on Fire (2012), which she references. Not easy reading but exceptionally thoughtful and insightful, this memoir is a testament to Kait, Leddy, and their mother.
Gutting in its intensity, Leddy’s narrative grapples with the unearned guilt she still carries regarding Kait’s difficult life, but it also celebrates the 'exuberantly bright' light her 'confident and hilarious' sister once shined upon the people around her. By refusing to allow this to become a story of utter despair, Leddy offers a humanist portrait of the nuances of loving someone with a mental illness. This one isn’t easy, but it’s well worth the effort.