Sun Shine Down: A Memoir

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How can she care for her family when she can't even get out of bed? Her story is real and raw, not one of quick fixes.

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But hope remains as she discovers that living with depression is still life. I'm so very grateful you are here.

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I have deep respect for the courage and bravery it takes to keep choosing life. I'm so glad others will now be able to learn from her in her newest memoir, Still Life. With her signature honesty and real-life faith, Gillian reminds us that God meets us in the hard, often debilitating places.

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For those who suffer from depression or those who love others that do, this book is a treasured story that articulates life and faith in the midst of this disease. You won't be sorry you've read it. More than a story of acceptance, compassion and hope; this book is a celebration of life.

A must-read for anyone trying to understand their depressed spouse, friend, family member. Gillian Marchenko's candor in sharing her experience with depression will be of great comfort to many who have bought into the falsehood that their suffering has resulted from a lack of faith. Gillian demonstrates how it is possible to faithfully fulfill God's purpose in life while experiencing the effects of a chronic illness that made getting out of bed a nearly insurmountable challenge on all too many days. Her authenticity in sharing her experiences offers encouragement and true hope to many who identify with her story.

You won't find pat answers or bland reassurances here; you'll find a real and courageous woman, a serious fight with mental illness and faith-fueled hope. If you live with depression or care about someone who does, you must read this book. If you have lived on that fearful ledge called depression, you'll find an ally in Gillian Marchenko. With heartfelt honesty, Marchenko describes life with double depression Major Depressive Disorder and Dysthymia.

In my dozen years as a licensed professional counselor, I've never read a more accurate book about depression and the toll it takes on the one who suffers, as well the impact on those closest to the sufferer. This book holds no cure, no magic wand, but it does extend hope.

Life with depression is also a still life , a straightforward painting depicting commonplace objects, something that causes us to stop, look and listen, and if we do, to possibly realize that this ordinary object is infused with the beauty of God.

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It begins with Sally's sudden visionary crack-up on the streets of Greenwich Village, and continues, among other places, in the out-of-time world of a Manhattan psychiatric ward during the city's most sweltering months. It is a tale of a family broken open, then painstakingly, movingly stitched together again.

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  5. Among Greenberg's unforgettable cast of characters are an unconventional psychiatrist, an Orthodox Jewish patient, a manic Classics professor, a movie producer, and a landlord with literary aspirations. Beyond that, the story Marchenko and other parents have told is an important one for our culture. We may be doing better in terms of embracing children with genetic anomalies than the medical establishment of the Ukraine, but not that much better. We need to hear, over and over and over and over again, that babies with Down syndrome and other genetic conditions are not tragedies to be mourned, much less abandoned, but rather whole people to be wholly loved.

    Becker also delves into theological notions of perfection. While Sergei Marchenko is a minister and Christian faith is central for the family, that faith receives little direct treatment in Sun Shine Down. While these memoirs clearly have a large audience among other families affected by Down syndrome, they also have at least the possibility of appeal to a much larger audience that also needs their stories. The story in Sun Shine Down, while aptly told, is too limited to invite in many readers without a specific interest in Down syndrome, or genetic conditions and disabilities in general.

    The allure of a great memoir is that the memoirist tells a story that is both utterly unique and utterly common. Such an interesting statement, really. More a stab at evaluation of society than of the book, perhaps.

    Sun Shine Down: A Memoir

    And, ultimately, not true. I could not disagree more with your opinion that this book, which I have read, is not broad enough to attract a wide audience. And how unfair to find fault because this memoir lacks a look at cultural assumptions about Down syndrome.

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