Book review
It’s Not Your Journey: A Memoir by Rebecca Lombardo

 

Overview
This personal account about the author tells a story of living with bipolar disorder from a first-hand perspective. A lot is written about this condition, but rarely do you get to hear the voice of individuals living with it. ‘Expert’ voices have their place, but in the absence of first-hand accounts like this one, the story – if I may call it such – is never complete. ‘Expert’ voices intellectualise the bipolar subject, but first-hand accounts like Rebecca Lombardo’s humanises it. This memoir transports the reader from the abstract to the real world; from the idea to the person complete with the necessary raw messiness of emotion, tragedy, intrigue, trust, mistrust, anger, frustration, despair, hope, relief, fear and courage all rolled into one – a real human experience.

 

Content
This is not a medical science book and, importantly, it does not pretend to be one – the title makes it clear. It is a memoir, a journey as walked by the author. Yet from this journey, many will draw many insights from it. I dare say everyone will find this book insightful in more than one way. It challenges notions of the assumed sanctity of those in the medical profession, particularly where their judgment is presumably clouded by the subjectivity of stereotyping. It is not only the medical professional, but society in general, which find its charitable nature undermined by the subjectivity of dismissiveness – how quick to judge and dismiss society is sometimes and the negative consequences of this casual judgment on others. The book intricately tells of the effects of such stereotype-laced dismissiveness on an individual subjected to it. Thus what this book successfully does is challenge such attitudes and provoke a rethinking of long-taken positions on bipolar disorder, depression and adversity in general. In a nutshell, the importance of a strong supportive network of family, friends, medical professionals and the community in general is highlighted. But to make this network strong, it needs to be informed and educated, not only in science and ‘expert’ knowledge, but in the experiences of those living with the adversity. This is what the book does – it strengthens by educating and informing on first-hand experience. Since It’s Not Your Journey, it is worth hearing from someone walking it so that, hopefully, you understand its intrigues, hopes and fears in case you want to join in this journey as a well-briefed companion.

 

Final thoughts
This is an easy-read, written in very accessible English. How I hate having to reach for a dictionary every turn of the page! Fortunately, I did not find the necessity to do so reading this book. But it is a definite eye opener I would certainly recommend. 5 Stars.

 

Reviewer: Controllah Gabi.