"There's a guy. He was hit by a truck."
On a rainy November day, Mia Hayes' husband left for work on his Vespa. Normally, she would have driven him, but Mia was waiting on a phone call with an editor and didn't have time.
She never saw that caring, loving version of her husband again.
The fallout from his accident--Mia's guilt and her husband's PTSD, memory loss, and depression--consumed their lives over the next five years as her laid-back husband changed into an angry man with few memories of their past. Desperate to hold her fragile family together, Mia ignored her own unraveling and plunged into bipolar depression.
As she searched for answers to unanswerable questions, Mia moved her family from San Francisco to Paris, France before landing in a leafy Washington, D.C. suburb where she tried to find a fresh start only to become embroiled in a scandal of her own making.
Through ups and downs, mental illness and bad decisions, Mia struggled with what it means to be a good wife and mother, whether saving her marriage was worth the pain, and understanding that healing is a personal journey.
Always Yours, Bee is a heartbreaking yet triumphant and brave look at a woman, a marriage, and a family falling apart and coming out stronger. Told with clarity and introspection, it captures the terror of losing the person closest to you—yourself.
Plot: While memoirs about illness and marital strife are fairly common, Hayes's Always Yours, Bee stands out for its genuine and straightforward examination of becoming a partner's caregiver after an unexpected accident. Instead of focusing solely on the patient, Hayes's book delves into the trauma she experienced after her husband's wreck, leading to struggles with substance abuse, self-harm, and mental health.
Prose/Style: Clear, direct, and candid, Hayes's prose certainly comes off as sincere and heartfelt, but overall the writing style doesn't add to or detract from the memoir's success in a big way. Hayes excels at reconstructing scenes from memory, particularly through the use of realistic, precise dialogue.
Originality: Hayes's willingness to lay everything on the line about past mistakes, regrets, and flaws feels refreshing and unique in a world where women are expected to be perfect. Her firsthand discussions of mental health struggles, particularly with depression, are both authentic and conscientious.
Character Development/Execution: Hayes's forthright and honest depiction of her own faults and subsequent spiral into bipolar depression is an incredible, nuanced character study about hitting rock-bottom. The stark descriptions of James's character and personality changes after his accident are one of the text's biggest strengths—a frank and unflinching exploration of the consequences of traumatic brain injury on individuals and their relationships.
Blurb: A dauntless and boldly truthful memoir about the breakdown of a marriage and a family after a harrowing traffic collision.
Date Submitted: October 01, 2021