Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Review: The Valedictorian of Being Dead

The Valedictorian of Being Dead
by Heather B Armstrong

Publisher: Gallery Books
Pages: 272
Format: audio
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Armstrong shares her story of living with debilitating depression and the radical treatment she underwent to cure it. For years she controlled her depression with a mixture of prescriptions, but when their effects start fading, Armstrong experiences an 18-month period of deep depression fueled by suicidal thoughts. Scared of what will become of her and the possibility of losing custody of her daughters, Armstrong opts for a month-long experimental treatment. One of only 3 people participating, she receives 10 doctor-administered treatments, each of which induces a coma that leaves her brain-dead for a short period of time.

Kritters Thoughts:  Let me give the disclaimer that I listened to this book on audio and I am so thankful I did because hearing this story straight from the author in her voice was so impactful.  I completely cried a few times in the book and I would recommend you make time to listen to this one.  

Heather B Armstrong is a single mother of two daughters and while managing two daughters and a full time job without a partner is enough for anyone to handle, she also is battling extreme depression that isn't easily managed with medication.  She doesn't want to be alive, but at the same moment has never considered suicide or how she would want to exit earth because she cares too much for the future of her children.  

First no matter how you read this book, the honesty that Heather provides in her emotions and the lack of hope that she was living with was so unsettling.  But I could hear in her voice that her girls were the one small glimmer of hope that was what was able to push her to try this new therapy.  When she described the treatment I had to listen/read it again, I was so concerned by the depths that she was willing to go to feel better and the lack of medical research on the therapy - she was the third patient!!  

I loved how she structured the book.  It was mostly in chronological order with a bit of back story included when needed to get the reader up to date on her relationships with certain people.  To hear excerpts from her journal and her mother's writing was a great addition to see the personal experience up close.

I absolutely loved this book.  This is the type of book that I enjoy listening to and I hope to continue to listen to books that will broaden my horizon this year.    

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Netgalley.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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