Book Review: ‘My Lovely Wife: A Memoir of Madness and Hope’ by Mark Lukach

My Lovely Wife by Mark Lukach

This is probably the BEST memoir I’ve ever read in a long time. One that I’d happily stay up all night to read, if not for the fact that in this book you’ll realize that having sleepless nights can lead to frightening consequences. Mark married his college sweetheart, Giulia (pronounced like Julia, as she’s Italian) and life was picture-perfect. Until the stress from her job caused Giulia (aged 27) to have her first psychotic breakdown. The book chronicles the first, second and third episodes, ending in 2014. I think newly-weds and people who are intending to wed should read this book. If you’re a caregiver for a family member living with mental illness, this book’s for you too.

I found this YouTube video of Mark’s TEDx talk. If you’re going to watch it, get some tissues ready. I’ve never watched a 11-min TEDx talk that left me in tears and also had the audience give the guy a standing ovation. This is it:

“…when I got married at 24, I said ‘I’m here, till death do us part, in sickness and in health’. And when you’re 24 and you think you’re invincible, you don’t know what that means. And it’s until the health evaporates, that’s when you really get tested. That’s when the vow really counts.

(Commitment) “It’s about standing by Life’s imperfections, no matter what.”

I can’t help but feel lots respect for this man who stood by his wife through it all. Through the psychosis and the depression that followed, through the delusional outbursts and the suicidal episodes, through the battle with healthcare professionals who’d probably admit they are just experimenting with the various medications to find the right cocktail of drugs that might help, and having to care for not just Giulia but also their little boy, Jonas.

No one gets married expecting that one day, their perfectly healthy spouse (with no prior mental illness) would have to be checked into a psych ward.

“I had lost my wife and gained a lifelong patient.”

So when you utter that vow, or now that you’ve already said it, are you prepared to stand by your spouse, no matter what? I think Mark has set a fine example regarding commitment to those marriage vows. I’m pretty sure there are many other men who would have balked at the idea of living with (and caring for) a loony wife. For Mark, it appears that there’s only Giulia, his “lovely wife”. Read this book ‘My Lovely Wife’ and you’ll gain a whole new understanding of mental illness and what it might entail, bearing in mind that every person has an entirely unique experience of mental illness.

p/s: On a scale of 1 to 5, this book is a perfect 10. ๐Ÿ™‚

Epigram Books Sale: Final Day!

Epigram Books Sale

Spotted a post on Epigram Books‘ Facebook Page that it’s the last day of their book sale today, so I decided, on a whim, that I’d go check it out. And I found many ‘new’ titles that were not available during my first visit. And this round, I bought 40 books. It’s a really good deal because it’s just $20 for every 10 books, so each item cost me only $2! ๐Ÿ˜€ But lugging all these home is no joke. Thankfully, I took the MRT trains during off-peak hours. Phew.

Epigram Singapore Book Sale

I think my favorite buy would be the ‘LKY: Political Cartoons’ by Morgan Chua, in hardcover no less! I’ve got two copies and I’ll ‘gift’ them to my pals Samy and Steven. (If you’re reading this, MEET UP WITH ME SOON ๐Ÿ˜€ ‘cos the postage would probably cost more than the price I paid for the book. Haha!) Also, I have 4 copies of ‘Mdm Kwa: The Life of Mrs Lee Kuan Yew’, also in comic form, by Morgan Chua. My pal Melinda’s definitely gonna get a copy. Who the other 3 will go to, I have not decided yet. ๐Ÿ˜€

Gosh. I really do LOVE book sales. Some women get a high when they purchase a branded bag. I get ecstatic when I see books at such great discounts. Sometimes I don’t even know who I’m getting some of those titles for, but I’ll just grab them first anyway. ๐Ÿ˜€ As one of the Epigram NotBooks says, “I am not kiasu. I am Singaporean.”

The usual price of those notbooks is $12.90 (large) but I bought them at $2. *sheds tears of joy*

*And it’s not a spelling error: they really are called NotBooks though they are notebooks, ‘cos they are not books, geddit? ๐Ÿ˜€

**There’s 20% discount for their online store, tillย 11.59pm on 1 July. Use codeย WER7 when you check out. You’re welcome.