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What I had before I had you

What I Had Before I Had You - Sarah Cornwell

An insightful and engrossing read about bi-polar disorder and its effects on a family throughout generations. Olivia was used to her mother leaving and then re-appearing all happy and boisterous. All she wanted was a normal home and a mother who was always there, but though she did get a mother who loved her, normal would have meant her mom taking her medicine, something her mother did not like to do. It would be years, before she would learn the truth and at that point she was confronting her own demons. Her search would uncover hidden secrets and her mother's hidden past.


I quite identified with Olivia and this story absolutely pulled me into a place I am very familiar with. Bi-polar disorder runs or should I say gallops through my husband's family. We are very fortunate that the treatment for this is for the most part capable of controlling this life changing mental illness. I think this author did a fantastic job portraying the lives and fears, the secrecy, the acting out and all other facets of this illness. The prose was haunting at times and though there were plenty of occasions when I did not much like Olivia, I did understand what she was going through.

The reveals in the book were surprising and the book is very well done.