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Jo Mullen's novel about bipolar disease and its effects on a family reveals the devastation it can cause. The title—RUINED—couldn't say it better. Ben, the successful owner of a major construction business, begins to deteriorate after a series of very stressful events, starting with anonymous phone calls threatening to kill him, his wife and his children. One of his daughters practically dies after losing a baby she has carried for six months, his business is hit hard by recession, one of his employees takes ...
Jo Mullen's novel about bipolar disease and its effects on a family reveals the devastation it can cause. The title—RUINED—couldn't say it better. Ben, the successful owner of a major construction business, begins to deteriorate after a series of very stressful events, starting with anonymous phone calls threatening to kill him, his wife and his children. One of his daughters practically dies after losing a baby she has carried for six months, his business is hit hard by recession, one of his employees takes millions of dollars from the company, and bodyguards are directing his life. This is just the start. As the story evolves, the family goes through the process of losing everything as an uncooperative Ben swings from manic to depressive over a six year period. This story is for anyone who is living with or caring for persons with bipolar disease.
Posted April 2, 2009
BOOK REVIEW RUINED By Jo Mullen. REVIEWER: Rod Clark. In her book, Ruined, Jo Mullen has drawn a powerful portrait of a bipolar man whose personality and sanity are rapidly disintegrating. It is a depiction that is both terrifying and instructive. The troubled individual is a man named Ben, who is the major stockholder of a construction company. . . The drama that unfolds is told from the perspective of his wife, Jessie. Although it is not specified, the book reads like nonfiction. Whether it is biography or not, the story itself is painfully real. Bipolar disorders affect significant numbers of our fellow citizens, and the consequences of this devastating disease impact spouses, families, friends, fellow workers and society at large. Perhaps the greatest strength of the book is the way in which, as Ben's volcanic angers become harder and harder to control, the author has the outside world display a craziness of it's own---producing stresses that even a strong, balanced personality would find difficult to cope with. As a contractor, Ben has received death threats, is surrounded by conniving business interests, and has large amounts of money stolen from his company. He has some people around him who are not trustworthy, including members of the security company that is supposedly protecting him from his enemies.
Life isn't easy. We all live in a difficult world in which much of what confronts us is not of our own making and not under our control. All of us get stressed and angry sometimes, and it is not always easy to tell when the problem is internal and when it is external. Nevertheless, as Ben throws enraged tantrums again and again, totally out of proportion with circumstances, his wife begins to see that something is seriously wrong with him. Over a period of time, Ben's rages increase in number and severity, culminating in a number of violent incidents including one in which he threatens people with a gun. Finally Jessie has no choice but to have him committed, and put on medication to modify his behavior. The remainder of the story deals with Ben's release, rehabilitation, and the challenges Jessie faces as she struggles with Ben's illness and the economic and emotional carnage it ha left in its wake. The story ends with Ben's suicide and with Jessie coming to terms with his death, learning that blake serves no purpose except to inflict greater grief on the survivors.
Jessie displays immense courage and character throughout, and provides a positive model for how to cope with and help a difficult bipolar personality. On the flyleaf of the book, Author Jo Mullen gives invaluable advice: "To those with a mental illness and to those close to them. Get the best help you can as soon as possible, and don't take insults and bad behavior personally. They are a result of the illness . .. God bless us all." Anyone who is trying to cope with someone close to them with a bipolar disorder is sure to find value and wisdom in the book. (As posted on Book Review.Com)
Posted November 19, 2008
Posted December 2, 2008
No text was provided for this review.