This is my second Sunday making my way through the five Sunday Times / University of Warwick Young Writer Award shortlist: today I’m telling you why Catherine Cho’s memoir on motherhood and postpartum psychosis is one of the most honest, shocking and striking books published this year.
Catherine Cho has done something pretty remarkable with time in her memoir. It simultaneously stands still and flies. The parameters of the book are set on either end of Catherine’s psychosis, and incidents which led to her being checked in as an involuntary patient of a psychiatric ward after the birth of her son. In reality, it was a very short period of time, and yet we learn so much about her past, her present, Korean culture, and how they intercept.
Critically, this terrifying story defies unhealthy, dangerous myths and taboos surrounding motherhood, and never flinches away from the under-acknowledged but undeniable difficulties of motherhood, depression, and of finding a sense of self after birth. But if you asked me to tell you what this book was about with only one word, my answer would be “love”.
It’s incredible to think that Catherine weathered such a storm – only 1-2 in 1000 woman suffer this particularly extreme form of psychosis. Even more incredible still is that she’s come out the other side and then written it down in such a raw and poetic book. It seems unfair that Catherine’s suffering can manifest in such a moving and ultimately uplifting gift to me, but I’m grateful nonetheless. Thank you to FMcM Associates for this lovely copy.
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