Read of the Week

my mother, my madness

Colleen Higgs

Deep South Publishers

Review: Lauren O’Connor-May

For most people, their mothers are their rocks, their go-to people for comfort, guidance, support and understanding.

But what happens when, through no fault of their own, they cannot be that kind of mother?

This is what Rondebosch author and publisher, Colleen Higgs, comes to terms with and she details this “sifting through the lentils and the stones”, as she calls it, in this book.

my mother, my madness is a chronicle of the author’s last 10 years with her mother, who has bi-polar disorder.

Written in diary format, the story thread starts after Ms Higgs, commits her mother to the full-time care of a retirement facility.

Until then her mother had been living first with her husband and, after his death, on her own.

As Ms Higgs deals with all her mother’s needs; paying her bills and buying her groceries, which largely consists of toilet paper, cokes and cigarettes, the demons of her past slowly start floating back to the surface of her life.

The tentacles of “madness” are far-reaching and affects every area of her life, even as she pointedly tried to keep her mother in the background.

This book is a harrowing read and painfully captures how difficult it is to have a loved one with mental illness, especially if that person is a primary caregiver.

The book is an honest insight into a subject that is difficult to understand and discuss.