The new books, Out Came the Sun and Invisible Girl, written by Mariel Hemingway were long overdue and I don’t mean at the library. Out Came the Sun is an adult memoir. Invisible Girl is a young adult memoir describing her feelings growing up within her family. There are also detailed resources at the end of each book, including resources for domestic violence. The inner jacket of Out Came the Sun says, “Seven suicides. Depression. Bipolar disorder. Schizophrenia. Addiction. All in one celebrated, beautiful, brilliant family.”
And to think I almost stayed at home. Mariel Hemingway’s author reading took place at Anderson’s Bookstore in Naperville, Illinois. I am not finished reading yet, but I have found Mariel’s books to be phenomenal so far. Personally, I have to say I think she is a better writer than her grandfather.
I must commended Mariel for taking the very challenging step to become a mental health advocate. “Most people don’t want to talk about any of this,” she said, but Mariel changed that dynamic by talking openly. She shared how her family had their issues with mental illness, their denial of the situation and how she dealt with it by becoming a caregiver to them. She also revealed how she overcame her family history of suicide through extreme self care including, but not limited, to studying meditation, adequate nutrition, and a regular yoga regime. Mariel even made suggestions for others. “Writing is very good,” she said. Everyone in the audience nodded their heads in agreement with her.
“I’m so happy you bought my books!” she said. Mariel didn’t know I majored in English, nor that I worked as a psychiatric nurse many years ago where there were four staff suicides in a six month period. This did not include the patient suicides. The issue was so prevalent that the medical college wrote an article surrounding the suicides that were taking place by the staff.
My previous workplace situation is a large reason why last month, I completed an art instillation for charity to help reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness and assist with suicide prevention. One of the central issues I saw while I was working as a psychiatric nurse was the inability of families to talk openly about the difficulties they were having. But thank goodness I didn’t talk about myself at Mariel’s reading because I didn’t have to.
A lot of other people shared my sentiment. It was a full house. People stood along the sides of the bookshelves to listen to her talk. When questioned about why she was writing her story, she stated, “I think I am not telling a story that is different from anyone else’s family. This is a story that many families share. And people need to know there is help for them out there.”