Publication Date: August 16, 2012
In Shadows, Skeletons and a Southern Belle by Jilda Leigh, the author tells her own story of mental disorder and depression and encourages readers who feel like they can’t go on with a look into her depth of despair and the light she found at the end of the tunnel.
This author asked me a while back to review her book [Shadows, Skeletons and a Southern Belle and sent a preview of what it was about. Reading through, I was hesitant. Would I be able to critique a book about such a deeply personal subject — one that I couldn’t fathom having never been there? I honestly told the author that I wasn’t sure I could comment on anything because of my inability to identify with the subject matter. Dear readers, I was wrong.
To start, this is a beautifully written but a brutal story. Jilda Leigh’s problems began as a young child abused by a stepfather and carry on to a rape, an abusive marriage and several suicide attempts. One of the more off-putting things about the narrative is that the last suicide attempt was in May of this year. It would seem more time would be needed to sort out problems, but Leigh makes clear to us that writing this book to help others is part of her personal process.
Who among us can’t identify with Skeleton Insecurity, Skeleton Fear and Skeleton Water (a feeling of drowning one’s life). This reader is not bi-polar and does not suffer from depression, but I identified with the concepts that Leigh set forth in her easy, stream-of-consciousness writing style.
Leigh has obviously done a lot of work on herself. Half of the book is life story and the second half details about how she intends to continue to go on with her life. I’m not bi-polar and really don’t know a lot about the disorder, so I can’t comment on the effectiveness of the busy work she recommends, but I can tell you, when combating what Leigh calls Skeleton Insecurity, making oneself useful to others would seem to be key in building self-esteem. Leigh’s tips are outlined and bullet-pointed for easy reference.
Leigh does cite comfort in religion. While I’m not a religious person, despite growing up in the church and usually tend to scoff at the power of prayer, I have seen a number of people come into religion and turn destructive habits into something less damaging. Prayer seems to have worked for Leigh where all else has failed.
Whether you suffer from depression or you know someone who does, Jilda Leigh’s own story will move you. Read an excerpt and buy Shadows, Skeletons and a Southern Belle by Jilda Leigh on