Suspended Sentence

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A book review of Suspended Sentence: a Memoir by Janice Morgan

A book review of Suspended Sentence: a Memoir by Janice MorganStars: ****

She Writes Press (2019)
320 pages

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

Summary: When Janice Morgan, a divorced college professor living in a small town in Kentucky, learns that her son has been arrested for possession of a stolen firearm and drug charges, she feels like she’s living a nightmare. Dylan’s turbulent period as a college student in Cincinnati before this should have warned her, but it’s only now that she realizes how far he has drifted into substance abuse and addiction. As Dylan passes through the judicial system and eventually receives a diversion to drug court, Morgan breathes a sigh of relief―only to find that she, too, has been sentenced right along with him. In the months to follow, she leads a double life: part of it on campus, the rest embarking upon what she calls “rescue missions” to help Dylan stay in the program. But resilience, dark humor, and extreme parenting can only carry you so far. Eventually, Morgan discovers that she needs to gain a deeper understanding of the bipolar and addiction issues her son is dealing with. Will each of them be able to learn fast enough to face these complexities in their lives? Clearly, Dylan isn’t the only one who has recovery work to do.

Suspended Sentence

If this isn’t the first time you’ve read my reviews you’ll know that I can’t pass up a book about Bipolar because I have it too. This memoir is not written by a person with Bipolar, but by his mother. Also unlike most Bipolar books I’ve read, this is about someone who has Bipolar 2, as opposed to Bipolar 1. For anyone that doesn’t know what the different is, 1 is where you have fully manic phases and often get psychotic (hallucinations/delusions) whereas Bipolar 2, you don’t get psychotic and have hypomanic phases (like a little bit manic.) Bipolar 2 is still hard to live with though.

Everyone with Bipolar is different but Dylan (whom the book is about) found himself having trouble with alcohol and marijuana. The book is a mixture of stories from Dylan’s childhood and the tale of what happened since Dylan got arrested and put into Drug Court. I have no idea if such a thing exists here or not but it was interesting seeing the program and I think it’s a great idea to help those who are only in trouble because of substance abuse problems.

The only thing that I would like to see different is that the chapters vary between before and after stories and while some are obvious (like if the author says Dylan is a kid), some are not. Stories of adult Dylan from before his arrest are confusing without labels such as a date or age. In other books that go back and forth between years, the year is given to help you keep track. I would have liked to have seen this.

Other than that, I enjoyed reading the book and following along with Dylan and Janice and their family as they found their way. It’s nice to see Bipolar 2 portrayed for once. If you or a loved one were recently diagnosed with Bipolar 2, you may not want to read it just because you don’t want to start thinking you are doomed to deal with the law or substance abuse because that’s not necessarily the case. However if you or a loved one have Bipolar 2 and are having issues with the law and/or substance abuse, it would be a great book to read.

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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.