12 February 2012

It Rains in February

Memoirs are not my favourite books to read. Very often, when I get review requests for them, I find a kind way to turn them down. When Leila Summers approached me asking if I would review her memoir, It Rains in February: A Wife's Memoir of Love and Loss I must have been having a particularly off day because I said yes. Thank goodness for that particularly off day.

It Rains in February is written from the point of view of the author in the form of a sort of letter to her late husband outlining the fear, pain, love and agony she experience as he was sucked into a vortex of mental illness that eventually resulted in his suicide.

What surprised me the most about this epistle is the gentle and honest tone of the writing. Leila Summers (aka Robin) bares her soul in her writing and allows the reader into, what must be, the most painful and personal moments in her life. She doesn't try to excuse her decisions or behaviour or the behaviour of Stuart, her husband. She doesn't place blame for his illness or his actions on anyone. She simply (I can't believe I just used that word - I'm sure none of this was simple at all) opens her heart and lets it bleed over the pages. The result is a powerful, honest, loving remembrance.

For anyone wanting to understand mental illness from the point of view of those who love the sufferers, this book should fall into the category of required reading. For anyone who has ever said 'I don't understand how someone could kill themselves.' It Rains in February should be required reading. For those suffering from a mental illness wanting to understand how anyone could love them ... you get the idea.

Kudos to Ms Summers for having written about a devastating, life-altering experience without succumbing to sappy, overly sentimental drivel. There were many times, as I read the book, that I wondered how I would react if faced with similar circumstances. We all will face calamities in our own lives. I'm sure that we will all make our own decisions based on our belief systems and life experiences. One day, when I look back over the difficult times in my life, I hope I will see that I have dealt with them with the same grace, forgiveness and love that Leila drew upon during this time in her life.

Character Development         5
Editing                                      5
Sex                                            0
Violence                                  0
Romance                                 4
Readability/Flow                     5

A Taste from page 14:
Bleakness permeates the moist air and seeps into my pores. Don't cry, I tell myself sternly. If I break down in front of you, it will be unlikely that you will continue to talk. Inside I am emptier than the fridge, but I sit dry-eyed, taking in each piece of information. I keep it together partly because I am still in shock but mainly because I crave more details. My confidence disintigrates listening to your tortured sobs as you reveal everything.


  1. I can't say I am a huge fan either but it does happen that I read them now and again

  2. It seems very literary but too sad a topic for me.

  3. Though I'm not interested in the topic relate to depression or something make me feel oppressive. I do get the interest in reading it from your recommendation.

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