My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward

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A book review of My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward by Mark Lukach

A book review of My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward by Mark LukachStars: ****

Harper Collins (2017)
Memoir/Mental Health
320 pages

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Summary: 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.

My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward

I saw this book in an online ad and it caught my eye. I picked up a copy at the library which I hadn’t been to in a while.

I’ve read a lot of mental health memoirs and they are usually by the person who had the mental illness. This one is different in that it’s written by the husband. It’s nice to get a loved one’s perspective and it reminded me how hard it is for my husband when I’m mentally unwell.

Mark does a lovely job of walking us through his wife’s descent into psychosis while showing us what she was going through, how she reacted, his thoughts and feelings and what was going on in the situation with others (friends, doctors, etc.)

Mark and Guilia were lucky that they didn’t struggle with money issues during the time of the book. I saw one review that critiqued the book for that. However I appreciate when a book doesn’t go on and on about insurance or the US health care system because I’m Canadian and it’s different here and so I was able to identify with parts of what they went through because I have Bipolar too and I wasn’t bogged down by insurance/money talk. Besides, it’s not their fault they had a good amount of money.

I wonder what Guilia thinks of the book and how she feels about sharing her innermost thoughts and feelings with the world (and I assume her friends and family.) I’ve thought about writing a book about my mental health issues but I’m scared to open myself up like that.

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.