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Lisa Myers
When the Light Goes Out
Lisa Myers, author

Adult; Memoir; (Market)

Dr Lisa Myers’ story begins with her recounting the frantic moments of uncertainty leading up to her discovery of her father’s death in tragic and horrific circumstances. Struggling to come to terms with the experience herself, Lisa was forced to put on a brave face as she broke the news to her mother and her own children. Unable to simply accept the reports from authorities, Lisa details her search for the truth of what really happened to her father, reaching the ultimate conclusion that she may never know the truth of that fateful night. Follow Lisa on her journey as she describes how she learnt to cope with the pain, trauma and suffering she experienced through the loss of her beloved father. Along the way, Lisa takes us inside her mind as she shares a number of insightful life lessons learnt through her experiences as a doctor, psychiatrist, wife, mother, daughter and trauma survivor.
Plot/Idea: 8 out of 10
Originality: 10 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 9 out of 10
Overall: 9.00 out of 10


Plot: Myers takes a gut-wrenching journey in uncovering the circumstances surrounding her father's death and mines from that experience an illuminating insight into the world of mental health and trauma.

Prose: Myers does an incredible job crafting the complexities of pain and shame that bind people to traumatic events without making her book sounding like a clinical textbook.

Originality: This is truly an original story, not just of Myer's father, but of the patients the author has encountered over the span of her career. While pain is a familiar experience to all humans, the book explores the concept of how it occurs being unique to each person's life.

Character/Execution: Myers paints a vivid picture of her father, as well as the people she encounters in her search for closure. If it wasn't a memoir, this would read as a riveting mystery novel.

Date Submitted: November 18, 2022

A moving and brilliantly articulated account of the human capacity for love, loss, and hope in all its rawest forms, When the Light Goes Out finds psychiatrist Myers vividly recounting the wrenching story of her father’s violent death, and her and her loved ones’ experience of shock, uncertainty, and grief. The story is wrenching: Myers awoke one morning to the frantic confusion of her family––her beloved father was found dead under gruesome circumstances. Rushing across the world to South Africa, Myers struggled to uncover the truth of the death, both as a daughter and as a practicing psychiatrist. Ultimately, her father’s death remains inconclusive, but in her search Myers found solace and eventually even meaning, especially through the journeys of others and the power of immortalizing her father’s story.

Myers balances the cerebral intricacies of her knowledge in psychiatry with the more tangible and untamable form of personal pain in writing this debut memoir. “My own experiences enrich my compassion,” she writes, “together, we share the authenticity of our struggles and become companions on the parenting path.” She deftly connects her story to readers’ own experiences, touching on the universal through her own specific details. As the narrative shifts back into the world of her practice, Myers weaves her own story with client accounts of other complex experiences such as divorce and motherhood. These many facets cohere with ease, each experience she describes tied to the others as part of her mission “to normalize, demystify and humanize the narratives around mental health.”

Alive with vivid, inviting prose, this memoir is written with unflinching honesty and vulnerability but also an expert’s sense of authority. It is a reminder of how fragile life is, how profoundly trauma shapes our lives, and how we can bear up to loss. With boldness and empathy, Myers connects readers to the darkest part of her world but also our own, offering the urgent reminder that none of us are alone.

Takeaway: This memoir of grief and healing offers solace for any reader facing loss or trauma.

Great for fans of: Bessel van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Notes on Grief.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A