Monday, January 5, 2009
The Sunflower Forest - Torey Hayden
This book was sent to me by my father-in-law for Christmas. I love when I get British books because they are usually not books I can normally find in Canada. This book was very interesting and deals with mental health (a subject I am very interested being a social worker). The book is set in the late 1970's about the O'Malley family and the struggle that the family goes through because the mother Mara is mentally ill. This story is more complicated than just mental illness; it also deals with WWII and how Mara (the mother) was held in an Aryan breeding camp where she was raped, gave birth and then had her children taken away. After the war is over she meets Cowan O'Mally, an American military officer, who marries her and helps her search for her missing son. They live in Wales for years, in a cottage called "The Sunflower Forest" before moving back to the United States to start there family.
This book was sad. It was hard to read in parts and I had to keep reminding myself that it took place in the 1970's and that the mental health system is very different now. The one part I hated about the book was how the mother had been through some of the most horrible things imaginable and she never gets the help she needs. The family (mostly the father) believes its a family issue and can be handled; but in reality it's bigger than them.
I think people should read this book because it opens our eyes a little bit more. That's what I think books are for.