I would NOT recommend this book.
While having a parent or close relative with depression increases the likelihood of other family members to have it, it was as though the patriarch, John’s, illness caused the entire family to be dysfunctional.
It seems as though the author took exceptional liberty to make all of the family members to be as far from conventional as possible. It had a very somber mood throughout, with very little joy at all.
I would rather spend time reading books that are more uplifting and show some levity.
Too much of a downer for my taste.
This is a BRILLIANT book. Highly recommend!
You won’t find this book light, easy reading, but it encompasses life with mental illness as it impacts the mentally-ill person, family and friends. By offering different perspectives of family members in chapters, the impact of a father’s mental illness and suicide and that of his oldest son is thoughtfully written.
I was expecting something else entirely - perhaps a quite, more thoughtful meditation on depression and suicide. Instead this book is a family soap opera. I didn't end up liking or sympathizing with a single character.
For me a thoughtful and powerful read.I am trying hard not to use any of the cliche adjectives.
It is a sympathetic forensic visit to a family.No unlikeable characters.They are each trying
to play their part,be loyal and helpful and postive.
A member of the library's book group wrote to me to call attention to this: “I had never understood the invisibility of a human. How we take to be a human is a spirit we can never see. Not until I sat in that room with the dead vehicle that had carried my brother through his life, and for which I had always mistaken him.” (page 332) She said that it was the best description of death she had ever seen.
Adam Haslett's IMAGINE ME GONE is not an easy book to read. I began by listening to the audiobook, and quickly discovered that I needed some distance from the material - the distance that comes from having to decode the words visually. Having the voices of these characters delivered seamlessly via audio was too much to digest. I had to take a break or two, or three before I could make my way through the lives of these fictional family members who were written so authentically that they could be mistaken for a neighbor, acquaintance, or friend.
A finalist for both the Pulitzer and National Book Award, IMAGINE ME GONE gives voice to what goes on inside the heads of its characters as their actions and afflictions mark their lives dramatically. Questions of family, loyalty, identity, pain, and the tragedy of what mental illness does to a family are what is presented in fluid prose. A great selection for book groups, however you may want to have a trigger warning.
The heartbreaking story of a family struggling with the mental illness of father and son told throught the narrative voices of all five family members. Haslet manages to see the humorous along with the painful. Not for the faint of heart.
Did not complete. Book did not hold my attention. Disappointed with book.
Adam Haslett depicts the experience of each family member with such empathy that it feels as if he must have shared something of himself in each. The experience of life and mental illness is different for everyone, and yet Adam has captured the depth and breadth of its struggles for some so well. Surprisingly not a depressing read though!
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