Having a family member dealing with severe or mild mental health issues is always a challenge, particularly for the children. With their yet undevelopped self-esteem, they usually perceive the situation as embarassing or shameful, a serious reasons for disturbing the normality of life and creating skirmishes between the adults members of the family.
In her gripping memoir Hazard. A Sister's Flight from Family and a Broken Boy, Margaret Combs is sharing her own experience of living with a brother with severe autism. As at the time the medical knowledge and social apprehension of such issues were extremely limited, this daily reality is painful.
The book doesn't focus on any non-fiction aspects of this issue, but is offering instead a dramatic overview of the relationships between the family members, the ways in which the children acknowledge the tensions between the parents and the strong bonds created.
'My family was in trouble in so many ways. We were in the wrong place and at the wrong time, driving home in an era that could not and would not help us. Nineteen-fifty-seven was far too early for help and understanding. We didn't know how to intervene on my brother's behalf, nor would we until it was too late'.
As a Southern Baptist family, the religious explanations and comfort also comes into question, but it doesn't make the situation more bearable. In the end, only love and maturity, the moment when it is natural to come to terms with life occurences, regardless how painful it is. 'I'm no longer trying to make up for the one thing that puller my family sideways. I have arrived at the place where I see not just one thing - the wordst thing - but the ten thousand things that make up a life'.
The book is very beautifully written and from the bottom of the heart. It gives strength and inspiration to anyone ever coping with an autistic family member or just interested in knowing more about life-challenging experiences.
Rating: 4 stars
Disclaimer: Book offered by the publisher in exchange for an honest review