Title: The Answer to the Riddle is Me: A Tale of Amnesia
Author: David Stuart MacLean
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Medical, Memoirs, Mental health
Finishing this, my first thought was… WOW. Followed closely by holy crap. And finally by just a fleeting feeling of fear. I mean, we’re talking about a medication with known side effects that changed this man’s life forever. Completely. Totally. And maybe not tragically now, 10 years later, but most definitely at the time. And with our current global climate? Yeah, that is guaranteed to give you a little fear if you’re sane.
At first I, admittedly, struggled a little to get into this. Partly because what was happening just felt so ridiculously outlandish. I mean, I just can’t even fathom the confusion and mental gymnastics that such a rude awakening would leave you with. I have enough trouble dealing with my OWN reality (but don’t we all?) let alone being given realities that aren’t even true. It definitely makes your heart squeeze painfully.
Then, I found the first part difficult because of the jumpiness of the writing. It was incredibly important – without this style and confusion I don’t think MacLean would have been able to impart the horrors and confusion of those first moments in India. But it was incredibly hard to read. Maybe because I work with people who have similar realities at times, and it was honestly confronting and difficult to read.
Yet, I also found this book impossible to put down. For all the moments that made me uncomfortable, I also felt more and more intrigued. After all, if we don’t push our boundaries, particularly in our reading, how are we going to grow? The Answer to the Riddle is Me not only told a pretty damn intense story of hospitalisation, amnesia and mental health. It also bought up issues of identity and self. It highlighted how important our past is to the present and how easy it can be to lose this.
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