Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Book Review: Down Came the Rain

Too often, I think, people view celebrities not as real people with feelings, but rather just images on a screen.

In her book Down Came the Rain, Brooke Shields documents her difficulty getting pregnant, the death of her father, IVF treatments, birth of her first baby Rowan, and then her journey through postpartum depression.

This story had me captivated from the time I picked it up to the very end; my devotion to finishing it so profound that even when I had a nasty eye infection that made it difficult to read, I'd still pick it up and grab snippets here and there. One knows that I truly love a book when I have difficulty parting with it; and it is the case here, even though I have stated that many of my books are donated to charity. This particular book will be donated to Community Services in my area, where it can be lent to women or families facing postpartum depression.

Ms. Shields tells her story without looking for sympathy, but one can hardly feel unsympathetic. For those that think celebrities are rich, glamorous, beautiful, have it all, and therefore must always be happy, this truly is a tale that shows they are indeed human and go through difficult times just like the rest of us. The difference is that we can hide from the world and deal with our inner demons in private, whereas women like Brooke have photographers following them around trying to snap a picture for a magazine story that may or may not be true. Can you even imagine coming home from the hospital after a very difficult birth and having to think of paparazzi? She delves into her deepest, darkest moments where she considered suicide, didn't feel attached to her baby, and quite literally wanted to run away. I can only imagine how difficult this must have been to re-visit during the writing process, much less go through it.

This story is a brutally honest account of a woman's battle with postpartum depression, her family's love and devotion to help her claw her way back, and her realization that she's not alone. I once had a friend who suffered from the same affliction, and it wasn't until I read this book that I truly understood what she must have gone through.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who has friends or family members suffering from postpartum depression-and even if you don't, it's definitely an excellent read.

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