This novel is told in the voice of the protagonist, Dr. Susan Huffman, a professor married to a judge and the mother of a young son. Like the author, Melanie K. Hutsell, she is surprised to learn that she has to live with bipolar disorder. The author and the protagonist also share an explicitly Christian perspective. “In The Book of Susan, Hutsell takes the mysteries of the highs and lows of bi-polar illness and skillfully intertwines them on the page. Written from the unique perspective of Susan—the one who discovers her diagnosis—it’s a page-turner of story and yet a book to be slowly studied for the genuine wisdom it reveals.” —Katherine James. “A riveting first-person account of a woman’s realization that she suffers from Bipolar I disorder. Hutsell’s protagonist accepts, overcomes, and reinvents her life through her newfound faith, discovered quite by accident due to the disease’s delusions. ‘God fled me on those days,’ she tells us when her illness begins to tear apart her carefully planned life. But Susan emerges transformed, and without sanctimony gives an account of the power of spiritual seeking to pick up the shattered pieces of life. Anyone who encounters a mental disorder in themselves or a loved one will be gripped by this powerful, raw, honest and intriguing voice.” —Rita Sims Quillen. The author, Melanie K. Hutsell, is a native of East Tennessee, now living in Oak Ridge. This is her second novel.
Brewster, Massachusetts: Raven Fiction/Paraclet Press, 2022. 221 pages Trade paperback.