A captivating account of the tales that shape our identities.
By Jami Nakamura Lin ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 24, 2023
At 17, Lin was hospitalized for a psychiatric condition that was later diagnosed as bipolar disorder. She remembers her time in the psychiatric unit, which she calls “Upstairs,” as a relief, as she didn’t have to prove her illness to anyone. Among the other patients, she found a sense of community and connection that she missed later in life when she was pregnant and didn’t know any other “bipolar parents.” This hospitalization was also a turning point for her father, who finally asked her, “Do you need help?” and she was able to answer, “yes.” This memory became even more meaningful when, after a miscarriage, Lin gave birth to a daughter just weeks before her father passed away from cancer. To make sense of these events, Lin draws on mythology from her Taiwanese and Japanese heritage. She uses the legend of the “woman of bone” to describe her feelings around her miscarriage and the baku, “swallower of nightmares,” to explain her emotions about her father’s death. Lin takes literary risks throughout her narrative, from the use of epistolary forms to experiments with point of view. These risks pay off, resulting in a powerful, honest, and unique exploration of survival, illness, and grief.
Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2023
Page Count: 272
Publisher: Mariner Books
Review Posted Online: June 28, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023