More than 15 million adults and their immediate families in America today must cope with a patient suffering from severe mental illness. In too many cases, these families cannot or do not know how to get help for their loved ones.
SANDY’S GIFT: WALKING WITH THE LIGHT (Cedar Forge, 2017, softcover) by William P. Dunn IV is an intimate and shocking true story that tells of the tragic plight of Sandra Dunn, a mother and loving wife whose life takes a tragic turn when she suddenly falls victim to severe mental illness; how the healthcare profession and the law prevented her from getting the treatment she needed; how it destroyed her family and nearly got them killed. By sharing his story, Dunn hopes that people will have a better understanding of the ravages of mental illness and know how to cope with them better.
William P. Dunn IV worked on Wall Street in the U.S. Government bond market where he worked his way up from the back office to the trading desks. After twenty years on Wall Street, he became a financial advisor in northern New Jersey. He continues to work as an investment advisor. He is a graduate of Thiel College where he earned a dual degree in Economics and Business Administration. Today he lives in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and is a proud grandfather.
My Review: 4/5
How am I supposed to write a review on a memoir of the author’s wife? That’s the question that has been bothering me since I finished this book. So, I’m going to do this review a little differently.
Ok, to get the technicalities out of the way…is it the best written book? No. Can the story be more in depth with better character development? It is not fair of me to judge this book in that way. Critically speaking, it did start out a little slow, and it was a little jumpy at times. However, the purpose of the book was to raise awareness of mental illness, and in that aspect it was a job well done.
This is the true story of the author’s wife who suffered from mental illness. It was sad and made me stop and think, what would I do in that situation? It made me think of the news stories I’ve heard throughout the years and wonder if something more could have been done to help these women and families (Andrea Yates comes to mind).
Everything started out normal for Sandy and Bill. They were a successful couple with two daughters and a plethora of pets. What seemed to be all of a sudden, Sandy started acting strangely. From paranoia to confused conversations, Bill knew something wasn’t right with his wife. So, he did what most people would do. He sought out help.
Bill did an incredible job of raising awareness of dealing with mental illness of a spouse. He fought for her, he pleaded with every place he could think of: police, hospitals, state agencies, only to discover help was not readily available. He feared not only for his life, but his children’s. His life was consumed with thoughts on how to protect and help his family.
The system failed. I was appalled to learn about the lack of help. It makes me wonder, does this happen often? How many lives and families are out there seeking help, but are in turn suffering due to the lack of it? How many tragedies could have been prevented, if more help was available. I’m not an expert in this field. In fact, this is the first book I’ve read on the subject and the help that is ‘available’ in situations like this. However, Bill did a fabulous job of raising awareness in dealing with mental health. He is a true warrior and someone with a heart of pure gold.
***Thank you to Laura at iRead Book Tours for a copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased and honest review!