Blue Genes: A Memoir of Loss and Survival by Christopher Lukas
Christopher Lukas’ family has a long history of mental illness. His mother’s side of the family had a tendency to attempt suicide and his father was an alcoholic whose disease became more pronounced after Christopher’s mother’s death by suicide when Christopher was a child. Perhaps the most difficult moment in Christopher’s life, though, was when he talented yet depressed older brother, Tony, committed suicide as an adult.
Blue Genes begins almost as a family case history, but quickly develops into Lukas’ memoir of his life with his brother Tony and how both of them interacted both with the specific tragic events of their family’s battle with depression and their own ‘blue genes.’
It seemed that “Blue Genes” was first and foremost an exercise in catharsis for Lukas. Personally, I would have probably enjoyed it more if it had continued to be a family case history but I completely understand why Lukas essentially wanted to write a tribute to his and his brother’s lives dealing with such an all-encompassing problem.
I think those who have lost loved ones to suicide or have effectively lost loved ones due to mental illness and depression will very much appreciate this book.