"People often wondered how I couldn’t see how obsessive I was being. My only answer: slipping into insanity is easy; it’s coming out of it that’s hard."

This collaboration between a mother and daughter explores the life of Sonja Wasden, a dedicated wife and mother of three who battles bipolar disorder. Told from Wasden's point of view, the first-hand account begins with her involuntary admission to a psychiatric ward brought about by her behavior and adamant wish to die. The book tells of the fears and compulsions that plague her. It delves into the family dynamic, bursting open the doors of the Wasden home and shining a light on what it means to live with a mental illness. It is the first in a series of books about the family and their fight to carve out a life from the chaos around and within them. The second, An Impossible Wife, tells the story from husband Mitch's point of view, while An Impossible Childhood centers upon Rachael's childhood. Meanwhile, A Possible Life relates how Wasden creates "a life worth living."

Siddoway states that her book is a "love letter" to her mother. It certainly proves to be one to all who seek to understand mental illness. Written with brutal candor, it is a fascinating glimpse into the mind of one suffering from bipolar disorder. Siddoway grabs one's attention from the beginning and draws the reader into the chaotic world of her mother and her family. Wasden states in her introductory remarks, "My hope is that my story will give people who do not suffer from mental health disorders a new perspective, helping them build stronger relationships with those who may suffer." Her willingness to be vulnerable and honest as she relays the story to her daughter is admirable. Siddoway's skill as a writer takes that story and weaves a captivating narrative.

The 2022 Eric Hoffer Book Award Grand Prize Winner

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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