Foreword Reviews

Enough

A Memoir of Mistakes, Mania, and Motherhood

Clarion Rating: 4 out of 5

Enough is a startling memoir about surviving assault and grappling with mental illness.

Enough, a transnational memoir, recounts Amelia Zachry’s trauma and healing with courage and candor.

Zachry was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to ambitious professional parents. Her Muslim Malay mother was a television producer and director, and her Indian father was an engineering director. When she was fourteen, her parents took off for Ghana, where they set up a new broadcasting station. They left Zachry behind with her grandmother. Their abandonment of Zachry created a family rupture that was never resolved.

The text reflects a sense of independence and a strong will, following along as Zachry rebels against her parents’ plans for her future. At university, she chose to study business, not engineering or medicine; though she had been promised help with studying abroad, she had to concede to her parents’ decision for her to study locally in Kuala Lumpur. Still, she was a good student: the text shows her steering clear of peer pressure to skip class and smoke marijuana, instead becoming involved in student politics, through which she campaigned for women’s safety on campus.

The book’s turning point is Zachry’s night out with friends, when she was drugged and raped. Later, she was told that she had deserved to be put in her place. Too ashamed to report the event, she withdrew from the company of her family and friends. After graduation, she engaged in risky behavior and began to see early manifestations of bipolar disorder. Still, in Japan, she fell in love with an American, ending up in Canada, then Kentucky.

Zachry draws on her experiences in different countries to highlight varying cultural attitudes toward sexual assault and mental illness. Her husband urged her to seek help in Japan, where she learned that mental illness was not well understood, and was still stigmatized. An American psychiatrist who was licensed in Japan became her source of respite. Zachry declares the importance of self-advocacy through this and other scenes from her ongoing quest for proper treatment––and, later, for a suitable educational environment for her gifted daughter.

The prose is sometimes lyrical, as when it describes the “melodic whoosh and hum” of Lake Superior; it also takes colloquial turns when expressing strong emotions, indulging in four-letter words. It becomes most empathetic as it counters Zachry’s earlier silence about what she survived with honesty and openness, including where it treats her rape, her bipolar disorder, her challenges as the mother of a gifted child, and her experiences of racism.

Enough is a startling memoir about surviving assault and grappling with mental illness.

Reviewed by Suzanne Kamata

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the publisher will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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