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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
Enough: A Memoir of Mistakes, Mania, and Motherhood by Amelia Zachary is a deeply personal, profoundly moving, and ultimately joyful journey through one woman’s battle with mental illness and life in general. Amelia was an overachieving, young Muslim girl, growing up in Kuala Lumpur and determined to prove to her parents and family that she could make something of herself in the big, wide world. Whilst attending university in Kuala Lumpur, Amelia is subjected to date rape and, shunned by her peers, she quickly develops a deep sense of loathing and disgust for her choices. Unable to tell her parents of what had befallen her, she struggles alone through a seemingly endless void of alcohol and sexual promiscuity. When a young American, Daniel, finds her and loves her, she is endlessly torn between the happiness and joy of his care, love, and devotion and the certain belief that she is unworthy of any of it. We follow Amy and Daniel on their journey of self-discovery from Kuala Lumpur to Japan to Canada and finally to Kentucky in the U.S.A. where Amy experiences the joys and crushing depressions of motherhood. Determined to somehow find a way out of this never-ending roller-coaster, Amelia seeks help wherever she can find it.
Enough is at times a brutally honest account of the life and mind of author Amelia Zachary. That she has managed to come through the dark times and can now see that mystical “light at the end of the tunnel” is a testament to her strength as a woman and the unwavering support and understanding of her husband Daniel. To those of us fortunate enough never to have experienced mental illness, it can be frustrating to read of the decisions Amelia made when we can see the destructive nature of those choices. What makes it even more real and saddening is that Amelia could also see that the directions she was heading in were wrong but with her bipolar disease she couldn't stop herself. This story opened my eyes to the insidiousness of mental illness and how it lurks, often in abeyance for a long period, before jumping out to confront the sufferer yet again and lead them down yet another perilous path. What particularly impressed me was that despite the sometimes dark and hedonistic aspects of Amelia’s journey the story was incredibly easy to read and empathize with. There will be times when the reader feels like shouting at her, as doubtless Daniel felt like doing frequently, to tell her she was on the wrong path but for me, this is just indicative of the evocative skill as a writer that Amelia brings to this work. Despite the difficulty of the subject, this is an uplifting book and one that is well worth reading. I can highly recommend it.