Saturday, November 19, 2011

Tolson 4 TEARS Reviews "The Suicide Index"

How does a daughter make sense of her father’s suicide? Joan Wickersham tries to explain by using an objective system: the index. It is a unique format for a tough topic.
The book begins in an orderly outline with the main category of Suicide, with sub-headings in alphabetical order. For example, it begins: “Suicide: act of, attempt to imagine.” It appears as though the author explores the chaos and confusion of her father’s suicide by using a logical process. But she is dealing with emotion, and towards the middle of the book there is a shift to narrative memoir. The reader engages in dialogue as if in a mystery novel, then is jolted by the realization that this is a true story of trauma.
In the chapter titled “Suicide: psychiatry as a means of addressing,” Wickersham abruptly changes perspective. For a writer, it is an intelligent shift for variety. As a reader, it was difficult to determine not only the reason for the alternative style, but also the nuances within the content. However, the complexities come across; it can’t be easy talking to a therapist about your father’s suicide.
Wickersham spans generations in this book, offering an equal measure biography and memoir. She is self-aware, empathetic, and courageously faces not only the tangible tasks in the aftermath of suicide, but the question we all ask, “Why?” Yet there is no answer. (Had this been a research dissertation, perhaps the correlation between childhood abuse and suicide would be explored.)










Review completed by Lynn C. Tolson, author of Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor's Story
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