12 October 2015

All the Things We Never Knew by Sheila Hamilton

Series: N/A, Standalone
Publication date: October 13, 2015
Publisher: Seal Press
Genres: Nonfiction, biography
Format: eArc
Source: The publisher through netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Pages: 312

Even as a reporter, Sheila Hamilton missed the signs as her husband David’s mental illness unfolded before her. By the time she had pieced together the puzzle, it was too late. Her once brilliant, intense, and passionate partner was dead within six weeks of a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, leaving his nine-year-old daughter and wife without so much as a note to explain his actions, a plan to help them recover from their profound grief, or a solution for the hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt that they would inherit from him.

All the Things We Never Knew takes readers from David and Sheila’s romance through the last three months of their life together and into the year after his death. It details their unsettling descent from ordinary life into the world of mental illness, and examines the fragile line between reality and madness. Now, a decade after David’s death, Sheila and her daughter, Sophie, have learned the power of choosing life over retreat; let themselves love and trust again; and understand the importance of forgiveness. Their story will resonate with all those who have loved

I mainly wanted to read All the Things We Never Knew because it has to do with depression and bipolar disorder – a subject I’m very interested in. I’ve read a ton about these disorders and I’ve written a bunch of papers on it too so I know all the basics and more.

The storyline in All the Things We Never Knew is told by Sheila Hamilton, the wife of the deceased David Krol. David Krol suffered from bipolar disorder and eventually took his own life. Hearing, or reading, about this is very emotional and it was hard to read more than a few chapters at a time.
After every chapter there was a factual ‘chapter’ about different subjects. In the beginning I read these factual chapters but after a while I lost interest. Most of it I knew beforehand and reading these informational pages and then read the highly emotional chapters was tough. It definitely made me read the book slower since I had to switch out of the ‘story telling mode’ and into ‘ learning’ mode. I understand why they are included in the book but for me it made the book harder to read.
So, to summarize I wasn’t a fan of all the facts.

I really enjoyed getting to know the story of Sheila and David, it didn’t read entirely as nonfiction and I just enjoyed reading about how they met, their dates, the first couple of months and eventually the wedding, the pregnancy and so on. This is basically the story of Sheila and David, it just happens that David is bipolar.
I really felt like I got to know them both, Sheila doesn’t just talk about David’s family, his upbringing and his life. She included herself, we got to know about her upbringing, family and life and I liked that. The fact that it isn’t focused solely on David was a welcomed surprise.

All the Things We Never Knew begins in the middle of the story; the marriage is not a marriage anymore and Sophie, their daughter, is nine. It then goes back to the actual beginning, when the two of them met and we get to know everything until where the book began and then continues telling the story.
I don’t really know whether I like this timeline or not but I loved getting to know their story!

All the Things We Never Knew is definitely a memorable story, seeing all the signs in David and knowing there was nothing to be done because he’s already dead was hard. Knowing what it would do to Sophie, Sheila and the rest of his family was even worse, they have to live with it for the rest of their lives!

It was good, but I’ve only given it 3 berries. I feel like all the facts ruined the story and I ended up skipping all those chapters.
All the Things We Never Knew is highly emotional and you definitely need to know that going into it. 

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