Book Review: The Suicide Index

In Book Reviews on January 12, 2009 at 7:48 pm

Putting My Father's Death in Order The Suicide Index: Putting My Father’s Death in Order by Joan Wickersham

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
Instead of chapters, the author put an index at the front of the book. For instance: Suicide: act of, anger about, attitude toward. Not only is this different, it actually structures the book in a more realistic way than a chronological narrative would have. Reacting to a suicide doesn’t happen all at once; it’s spread out over years. And Joan Wickersham does an excellent job of showing how it stalks and grabs you when you’re least expecting it.

This is a book about her father’s suicide, the act itself, the questions it engendered, the attempts to make sense of it (an impossible task, it seems)and the affects it had on friends and family. How do you go on with a normal life after someone you love has committed suicide? Wickersham suggests that in some ways you don’t. You can never go back again to the way things were before it happened. This is true of any death, of course, but suicide is uniquely problematic. Wickersham eloquently illustrates why.

View all my reviews.


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