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Reviewed by Ankita Shukla for Readers' Favorite
In her memoir, Diane Lane Chambers frankly converses with her readers about the many ways US law is unjust to people who struggle with a mental illness and also to their loved ones. In Diane's career as a professional sign language interpreter, she had the opportunity to work with patients at psychiatric facilities. These real-life experiences presented her with horrifying flaws in the current system. Whether it was the revolving door problem or the law that prohibited someone from being held in a psychiatric facility longer than 72 hours without their consent, Fragile Minds: An Advocate's Story provides a deep insight into how our current system has failed the people struggling with mental illness. The expectation of consent from a person with jumbled thoughts and incoherent emotions is nonsensical at best and cruel at worst.
Although Fragile Minds attempts to find justice for those who can't seek it for themselves, this memoir is not just about this one aspect. Diane Lane Chambers has dug into her extensive life experiences and presented several heartfelt anecdotes, creating an air of empathy. Her battle with breast cancer, the despair of losing her best friends, and her excruciating struggle with anxiety and depression are some of those honest admissions that create a bond between the author and readers. She doesn't try to place herself in a 'mightier than thou' position; instead, she expresses her failures, insecurities, and small victories to become more relatable. Her experiences with Cindy are both frustrating and entertaining. She has tied together the best and the worst of her ventures. In a conversational tone, sharing various incidents, and staying clear of a preachy style, Chambers has crafted the most effective memoir that supports a worthy cause. I highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy reading a real-life story about a social issue.