Swing Low: A Life

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Swing Low: A Life

by Miriam Toews

Stoddart | May 15, 2000 | Hardcover

Swing Low: A Life is rated 4.8333 out of 5 by 6.
One morning Mel Toews put on his coat and hat and walked out of town, prepared to die. A loving husband and father, faithful member of the Mennonite church, and immensely popular schoolteacher, he was a pillar of his close-knit community. Yet after a lifetime of struggle, he could no longer face the darkness of manic depression. With razor-sharp precision, "Swing Low" tells his story in his own voice, taking us deep inside the experience of despair. But it is also a funny, winsome evocation of country life: growing up on farm, courting a wife, becoming a teacher, and rearing a happy, strong family in the midst of private torment. A humane, inspiring story of a remarkable man, father, and teacher.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 191 pages

Published: May 15, 2000

Publisher: Stoddart

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0773732314

ISBN - 13: 9780773732315

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely Memorable An unforgettable and tenderly written account about her father’s life and death. Miriam Toews writes this story from Mel Toews’ (her father’s) perspective. Tenderly crafted together from her memory, a daughter’s love and with the many written notes and journals her father created throughout his experience. The reader is truly drawn into Mel’s world; a world full of hope, confusion, sadness and ultimately love. It is a clear window into A Life affected by mental illness – a man who despite this illness, was able to raise a family, build a home and become a pillar in his community. The story pulls you into so many different directions and is full of emotional highs and lows. This is a must-read for anyone, especially those caring for an ill parent or family member. I highly recommend it.
Date published: 2006-05-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Reality of Depression Swing Low gives depression it's due and respect. Most important and remarkable to me is her assertation of how much a person with depression can and does accomplish instead of concentrating on the "weaknesses", like so many people do. I've read other books on depression to help me understand my mothers depression and I found that so many of them are lacking; an upbeat "beat your blues" type, or the "stick it out" and you'll get better type. I'm so thankful she wrote this book, and I hope it gets the attention and readership that it deserves.
Date published: 2001-01-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A contrast of depression A beautifully written novel, I've spent alot of time thinking about depression, and I love how Toews has captured the two lifestyles of her father, but ultimately, how they are the same.
Date published: 2000-12-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Not Depressed I picked this book up without having dealt with depression, or having someone close suffer from depression. Just to have a good book to read. And it is. Honestly and craftily written, it grabbed me from the first few pages. I found myself swinging back and forth between laughing and wanting to cry, eventually doing both at the same time.
Date published: 2000-10-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Swing Low If you know someone who suffers from depression or you suffer from it yourself, you should read this book. This book is a beautiful memoir written by Toews about her father's life. He suffered from depression all his life and at the end of it he felt like he had done nothing exceptional. Miriam Toews proves her father wrong with this wonderful book that will make you cry.
Date published: 2000-08-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from True to life page-turner. I felt this was a fairly accurate description coming from someone who grew up in a home where a parent suffered from manic depression. I could identify with many of the things that went on in the home. I wondered what kind of impact reading this would have on me. The impact surprised me...it was very freeing. I experience freedom from focusing on the "rules and regulations" of a conservative mennonite background. I have grown increasingly more aware of what God's grace really is. My focus needs to be on God and His love for me, rather than all the rules that we box our lives into. For if we box our lives, neatly into a set of rules, we lose sight of God's love and incredible grace. This is what I came away with from this book.
Date published: 2000-08-11

– More About This Product –

Swing Low: A Life

by Miriam Toews

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 191 pages

Published: May 15, 2000

Publisher: Stoddart

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0773732314

ISBN - 13: 9780773732315

From the Publisher

One morning Mel Toews put on his coat and hat and walked out of town, prepared to die. A loving husband and father, faithful member of the Mennonite church, and immensely popular schoolteacher, he was a pillar of his close-knit community. Yet after a lifetime of struggle, he could no longer face the darkness of manic depression. With razor-sharp precision, "Swing Low" tells his story in his own voice, taking us deep inside the experience of despair. But it is also a funny, winsome evocation of country life: growing up on farm, courting a wife, becoming a teacher, and rearing a happy, strong family in the midst of private torment. A humane, inspiring story of a remarkable man, father, and teacher.

From Our Editors

Speaking in the voice of her deceased father, Miriam Toews recounts a lifelong battle with depression that led to his eventual suicide in Swing Low. Mel Toews was a bubbly, creative and talkative teacher in Manitoba, who privately struggled with depression and personal torment. He chronicles his experiences, as Miriam imagines he would have told them, in this heartwarming tale of life on the prairies. Miriam Toews is the author of A Boy of Good Breeding, which won the McNally Robinson Award and Summer of My Amazing Luck, which was shortlisted for the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour.

Employee Review

If you know anyone who suffers from depression, you should read this book. Toews gives wonderful insight on the life of her father who lived his life while being a manic depressant. Toews speaks in her father's voice, giving the reader real insight. This is the story of a man who struggled through life, excelling as a teacher and father. As his life drew to a close he felt as if he has done nothing worthwhile. This book was the author's chance to prove her father wrong. One of the best biographies I have ever read. I would recommend it to everyone.