An Impossible Wife
by Rachael Siddoway
The Gap Press

"Even through all the hell she had brought into his life, if he was honest with himself, he was proud to be her husband."

Family upheaval and marital stress are examined in sometimes heart-rending detail in this finely detailed account of life with a wife and mother afflicted with mental illness. When Mitch and Sonja first meet, it is almost love at first sight. She is a daughter of a wealthy, successful father who grills Mitch about his abilities, aspirations, and intentions. Somehow Mitch passes the test. The early years of bliss with Sonja begin. But slowly, Sonja's illness begins to assert itself, the first clue being her compulsive need to invest Mitch's money, nearly destroying their credit. A passion for jewelry follows. And to make matters worse, dark moods, screaming, and bizarre behaviors eventually lead to a horrific suicide attempt after a fight with their teenage son. Mitch feels forced to withdraw emotionally and physically from his apparently insane wife. Can their love, which still occasionally reasserts itself, be sustained, or will total separation be the only remedy?

Author Siddoway has gathered this material from sharp personal memories, with a first volume, An Impossible Life, as the opening foray. In this segment, with Siddoway's deft depictions, the reader shares the daily desperation and depression of a determined, hardworking man forced to cope with disturbing, destructive changes in his once-happy marriage. As drawn by Siddoway, Mitch is someone with whom many readers will identify. Once a correct analysis of Sonja's disorder comes to light, the small gradual improvements that result will be a relief to Mitch and to readers of this emotionally powerful exploration of the damage that mental aberrations can wreak. Siddoway writes with sensitivity, able to combine credible, touching moments with a rational medical and scientific overview that proffers hard information to readers facing, and living through, some of the same agonizing dilemmas that Sonja and Mitch were burdened with.

A 2022 Eric Hoffer Book Award Category Finalist

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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