Monday, June 18, 2012

Swing Low

A Life

By Miriam Toews

Miriam Toews wrote the memoir of her father’s life. She writes this from his perspective, in his voice. This is amazing, especially given his lifelong struggle with depression and bipolar disorder.

Mel Toews is much loved by his family and friends. He is also a beloved and popular teacher, as well as a devout member of his Mennonite community. From her father’s viewpoint, we are able to see and feel depression and bipolar struggles. We experience his daily battle to balance illness with reality. The book recounts the struggle within him.

To be able to speak for someone is difficult. To be able to speak for someone with these deep, dark, often misunderstood issues is a feat. To speak from a parent’s place in time and from their place of pain is extraordinary. Miriam Toews is amazing in her ability to do this with such heartfelt understanding, intimacy and respect. Her father would be proud.


  1. I agree it had to be hard, not only to look through his eyes, but to keep from mixing her own feelings in. Sounds like an excellent book ... you do it justice.

    Andrea @ From The Sol

  2. It sounds like a very intense book!

  3. This definitely sounds like a good book, and one I want to read! It is so rare for children to have an awareness that their parents are real people outside of and in addition to their identity as father or mother. To understand one enough to be able to do this memoir justice says a lot about the author. I'm also eager to learn how the Mennnonite community responded to her father's issues. There is a large Mennonite community in the area where we live as well.

  4. Dear McGuffy Ann,
    Thanks for letting us know about this book. It must truly be exceptional to have been written in the father's voice and point of view. I'll go to Amazon. Peace.