Top critical review
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An honest account - could go further...
on 13 August 2003
Styron is not comfortable with exposing himself in this book - it is clear from the tone of the writing, and he even implies it by admitting he only decided to write it as a result of some lecture given on the topic of Depression, which brought on a mass of empathic and identifying letters.
Personally, I would've liked to know a bit more about the actual feelings and thoughts of a depressed man, rather than about his actions or life events as a result of depression. For that reason I much prefer 'Sunbathing in the Rain' by Gwyneth Lewis, which is a more internal look into the depressive experience.
Even so, this book might be helpful for people who are related to depressed people, because it might help them understand how it turns a person into a dysfunctional mush of raw nerves.
I suppose people must have been so excited about the book when it first came out, because it was written by such a well-known and respected novelist, and brought on wide recognition of a terrible desease, from which millions of people had to suffer secretly and shamefully in the past. I'm sure it helped many people decide to put everything on the table and get helped, and that in itself is a great achievement.