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Swing Low : A Life
by Miriam Toews


Overview -

One morning, Mel Toews put on his coat and hat, walked out of town, and took his own life. A loving husband and father, a faithful member of the Mennonite church, and an immensely popular schoolteacher, Mel was a pillar of his close-knit community. Yet after a lifetime of struggling with bipolar disorder, he could no longer face the darkness that clouded his world.  Read more...


 
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More About Swing Low by Miriam Toews
 
 
 
Overview

One morning, Mel Toews put on his coat and hat, walked out of town, and took his own life. A loving husband and father, a faithful member of the Mennonite church, and an immensely popular schoolteacher, Mel was a pillar of his close-knit community. Yet after a lifetime of struggling with bipolar disorder, he could no longer face the darkness that clouded his world. In this moving meditation on illness, family, faith, and love, Mel s daughter, critically acclaimed novelist and reporter Miriam Toews, recounts her father s life as he would have told it, in his own voice, right up to the day of his final walk.

Swing Low is a bold, gracefully written, and compassionate recounting of one man s heartbreaking battle with depression."

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780062070166
  • ISBN-10: 0062070169
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial
  • Publish Date: September 2011
  • Page Count: 228


Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Educators
Books > Psychology > Psychopathology - General

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2011-05-23
  • Reviewer: Staff

Imagining her troubled father telling his life story, Canadian novelist Toews (The Flying Troutmans) offers a touching memoir. When her father was 17 years old, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Going against the accepted 1950s medical advice, he dived into life, determined to become a "better human being." He married, raised a family, and taught school for 40 years. Yet when he committed suicide, he felt his life had amounted to little. Toews toggles between her father's memories of a happy life and his current circumstances as a patient in the local hospital, following a breakdown near the end of his life. "How to explain the process of putting the pieces of my brain together: as though I'm attempting to walk down a street and various limbs, arms and legs, continue to drop off my body. I'm getting nowhere." Teaching provided the scaffolding of normalcy for Toews's father, allowing him to function successfully in public, though later he retreated into silence while with his family. Raised within the strict, conservative Mennonite religion, Toews's father never admitted to his illness, seeing it as a flaw festering within his weak character. In this sympathetic telling, Toews shows how the opposite was true. (Sept.)

 
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