Monday, March 3, 2014

G269 Shadows in the Sun; Healing from Depression and Finding the Light Within

Title: Shadows in the Sun; Healing From Depression and Finding the Light Within

Author: Gayathri Ramprasad

First copyright date: 2014

Type of book: India, 1970s-1990s, depression, mental disorders, sickness, fear, failures, marriage, relationship, suicide attempts, culture shock, America, South India, Tamil

General subject matter: A young Indian woman begins to suffer from depression in a country where it can't be talked about

Special features: N/A

Price: $15.95

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1-61649-475-9

Author's Purpose: 

"Deep in my heart I believe that we, the people suffering from mental illness around the world, need hope, compassion, love, understanding, and inclusion more than mere medications and institutional care." (248)

a. Why did the author write on this subject rather than on some other subject?

I think the purpose is two-fold, at least what I understood from the book: the first is to remove stigma of having mental disorder anywhere in the world, and I think the unintentional purpose is to show that life does indeed have meaning no matter what.

b. From what point of view is the work written?

The story is written from the first person narrative point of view, completely from Gayathri's point of view.

c. Was the author trying to give information, to explain something technical, to convince the reader of a belief’s validity by dramatizing it in action?

The story is really an autobiography of her struggles with depression and what happens when it goes untreated and unacknowledged for too long as well as when shame surrounds it. I think she was going for giving information as well as explaining it because she does detail what it was like for her, and how depression impacted her and her family members.

d. What is the general field or genre, and how does the book fit into it? (Use outside sources to familiarize yourself with the field, if necessary.) Knowledge of the genre means understanding the art form. and how it functions.

The general field would be memoirs, cross-cultural study, and mental disorder and its affects on family members as well as opening channels and communication pathways into how to remove stigma from it.

e. Who is the intended audience?

I think the intended audience are everyone, especially those who are feeling helpless or who also have mental disorders.

f. What is the author's style? Is it formal or informal? Evaluate the quality of the writing style by using some of the following standards: coherence, clarity, originality, forcefulness, correct use of technical words, conciseness, fullness of development, fluidity. Does it suit the intended audience?

The author's style is more informal and is very accessible. There is some use of Hindu words with a short dictionary and meanings in the back which I did like. The writing is very vivid and she is good at placing depression for blame instead of parents or friends or family members.

g. Scan the Table of Contents, it can help understand how the book is organized and will aid in determining the author's main ideas and how they are developed - chronologically, topically, etc.

The book is divided into five parts and is chronologically written, from the time they celebrate their last Diwali holiday to the time she finally decides she is ready to fulfill her promise.
*Part I: Bright Beginnings
* Part II: Veil of Darkness
* Part III: Shadows in the Sun
*Part IV: Descent into Darkness
*Part V: Awakening

g. How did the book affect you? Were any previous ideas you had on the subject changed, abandoned, or reinforced due to this book? How is the book related to your own course or personal agenda? What personal experiences you've had relate to the subject?

The author was really good at taking a person into the mindset of someone who suffers from depression, and she was very open and candid about her experiences and her thoughts and actions. The mindset that she has talked about, when it comes to people from India isn't new. I recall in Russia that depression label inspires same thoughts and actions just like in India and elsewhere in the world. I feel its really a shame that if something isn't okay with the mind, then its a stigma. But still, I do recall that in 1950s and earlier diseases and disfigurements were also seen very negatively. I also heard of people hiding children away from the world or else putting them in homes or institutions if they weren't normal.

h. How well has the book achieved its goal?

I think because of her ethnicity and culture she made it easier to talk about depression and other mental disorders amongst South Asians and other Asians. The struggles that she and her family underwent through will help others feel less alone as well as isolated and perhaps this book can help break barriers down so people who suffer won't be treated badly.

i. Would you recommend this book or article to others? Why?

I would recommend the book to others because for one thing its an ice breaker and for another she is very descriptive and she doesn't blame people or things for her depression, which I was impressed with. The family is portrayed sympathetically and their frustration is felt and seen throughout the book. Instead she turned the curse into sort of a blessing, that she is able to help others through her organization and the book.

a. Theme: The theme is the subject or topic. It is not necessarily the title, and it is usually not expressed in a complete sentence. It expresses a specific phase of the general subject matter.

A South Asian woman manages to overcome an obstacle in her life and uses it as a force of good.

b. Thesis: The thesis is an author’s generalization about the theme, the author’s beliefs about something important, the book’s philosophical conclusion, or the proposition the author means to prove. Express it without metaphor or other figurative language, in one declarative sentence.

No matter the disorder, there is purpose for everyone.

This is for TLC Book Tour

Gayathri Ramprasad’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, March 3rd:  Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Tuesday, March 4th:  Bookfoolery
Wednesday, March 5th:  The Written World
Tuesday, March 11th:  A Bookish Affair
Wednesday, March 12th:  The Whimsical Cottage
Thursday, March 13th:  Patricia’s Wisdom
Monday, March 17th:  Booksellers Without Borders
Tuesday, March 18th:  Lavish Bookshelf
Wednesday, March 19th:  Sarah’s Book Shelves
Thursday, March 20th:  Literally Jen
Monday, March 24th:  The Best Books Ever
Tuesday, March 25th:  Bookish Ardour
Wednesday, March 26th:  Good Girl Gone Redneck
Thursday, March 27th:  Books in the Burbs 
5 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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