Tuesday, March 20, 2012
What I've Been Reading: A Lethal Inheritance by Victoria Costello
Do not let the tile throw you, this is not a drama filled thriller. Rather, it is a moving account of the author's exploration into her family tree, as well as societal norms, in the area of mental illness. A Lethal Inheritance: A Mother Uncovers The Science Behind Three Generations of Mental Illness by Victorica Costello is a gripping piece of creative non-fiction.
Organized into three parts, and just over 200 pages long, the author has an excellent mix of personal accounts combined with sociological and scientific data. The mother of two teenage boys, she is forced to examine the reality of mental illness in her family tree, and herself, when her oldest son is diagnosed as schizophrenic.
From her grandfather to her parents to herself and finally to both of her sons, she pries behind the denial and learns the truth. With it discovers the increased risk her sons carried in their genetic make-up to developing mental health problems.
The final section of her book includes 10 steps parents can take to minimize the risk of a child developing mental health, which includes: focusing on prenatal health; treating your own mental health problems, and the importance of family dinners.
Whether your interest is in family trees, mental interests or memoirs -- you will find something to enjoy in this book.