Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Third Sunrise Review

“Pain has a curious way of pushing you to understand life on a different level.” ~ Natalie Jeanne Champagne

It was in January of 2011 that I decided to start a blog and it took me a few tries to come up with and settle on the title, Challenging Barriers. The blog was inspired from a dissertation I wrote about my disability and the challenges it has presented in life. I wanted to create something similar but different at the same time. I didn’t want it to be just about me, about my specific challenges and barriers, but about those we all face in life.

I met Natalie through a Social Media outlet sometime around mid 2011. I cannot recall the exact date and I don’t know for certain which Social Media format it was, but I think it was Twitter. (We are connected on Facebook and LinkedIn as well) I think Natalie’s profile was suggested to me because we are both writers. We are also both Canadian, and in our own ways have dealt with disability and illness; though I don’t think those last two were behind the suggested connection…… I could be wrong. 

The fact that Natalie writes various articles, including having a permanent position with, where she advocates for the recovery and awareness of mental illness, makes her book (for me anyway) that much more inspiring.

“The Third Sunrise….. A Memoir of Madness” is the name of the book. Unlike my book, this was and is her life’s story. Natalie tells the tale of a young girl who is diagnosed with bipolar at the age of twelve and also the later-in-life struggles with alcohol and drug addiction.

I once read Natalie having said that she hoped her book would maybe help someone going through similar battles. I would have bought the book based on that sincerity alone if I had not already decided to purchase a copy. But I can tell you this, even though I do not have bipolar and I do not ,nor have not, struggled with addiction, the book helped me. It opened my eyes to things I knew little about. It lead me to discover yet another appreciation for life and the ultimate strength people can have. It helped me remember that no matter how hard things may feel to us, we are never truly alone in our desire for something better.
I enjoyed reading Natalie’s book for quite a few reasons, but I’ll focus on two. The bravery behind her words; because I can only imagine that they were hard to write and re-live. As tragic as this story may be at times, at the core root of it, that kind of honesty is a beautiful thing to share. The second is the way in which it read. The read, to me, was easy. Because it seemed like, even though I was reading the words, Natalie was there, telling me her story…… often joining me with a cup of tea. (I usually have tea when I read.)

This is a story of struggles and illness, and ups and downs. It is dark and it is sad. (Though I found some of Natalie’s sarcasm a bit humorous; perhaps the sarcasm was needed to help her write the book and for us to read it) It is also gritty and honest, and I applaud her for that. Honesty, even if for the better, is not always easy. But the book is also hopeful; in the end, it is hopeful. That is why it is such a great book.
Tragic tales with a glimmer of moving forward are important, not only for those going through a similar battle, but for anyone in today’s world that can come to face darkness and despair. We all need to know that even some of the worst stories can find light. People can find strength even when they think it is lost. This book definitely proved that to me and it is well worth the journey through the pages of The Third Sunrise.

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