With a title like The Suicide Index, you know this isn’t going to be an easy review…
This isn’t a book I can just say, “Oh, I really liked this!” Because I didn’t really like reading it…although it was a very good, very well written book. It was a hard book to read, a very emotional book to read.
First things first, this is nonfiction. Joan Wickersham is writing about the death of her father. More specifically, Joan Wickersham is writing about the suicide of her father. She calls herself a biographer many times during her story, but if anything, it’s more of a memoir about her own journey, than an actual biography of her father. The structure of The Suicide Index is unique–it is an actual index, with the chapter titles in alphabetical order. They all start with the word “suicide,” but then range on varying topics associated with the main.
It’s hard to say who the true audience of this book is. It is written out of the grief, anger, and healing of a surviving family member, so it is a very harsh reality of what it feels like to be left alive after a loved one kills themselves. It could be a rough read for those suffering from depression, but it could also be a big wake up call, for those who need one.
Joan says this:
“Did he know what it would do to us–my mother, my sister, and me?
If so, then he did something unforgiveable.
If not, then I wish he had known. But only if he really did have a choice, and only if knowing would have stopped him.”
I think this is a very important memoir. But tread carefully, if you do read it. There is a lot of pain here, so be prepared to open some wounds. Keep a journal nearby, or a friend if you need one.
And, if you do need real help, ask for it. I’ve posted helplines on the blog before, they can be found HERE.
(I’m not doing a separate Teaser Tuesday post today. Any quote I could have taken from this book would have been too raw without the context of the review.)