cover photo of the novel my lovely wife in the psych ward
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Published: May 2, 2017.
A heart-wrenching, yet hopeful, memoir of a young marriage that is redefined by mental illness and affirms the power of love.Mark and Giulia’s life together began as a storybook romance. They fell in love at eighteen, married at twenty-four, and were living their dream life in San Francisco. When Giulia was twenty-seven, she suffered a terrifying and unexpected psychotic break that landed her in the psych ward for nearly a month. One day she was…

My Lovely Wife In The Psych Ward by Mark Lukach

Review

From my recommendation of Growing up bin Laden by Jean Sasson. My love and appreciation for the biography genre is pretty evident. My lovely wife in the psych ward is a raw and intimate memoir written by Mark Lukach. It encompasses his journey and experiences as a husband and caregiver to his mentally ill-ridden wife. This beautiful memoir is an open and honest depiction about the marriage and relationship of Mark and Guilia Lukach. Consequently, I went through an overwhelming roller coaster of emotions while reading this book, there were lots of tears and grief. This book had me praying, hoping, waiting for a sort of fairy tale ending. When I wasn’t reading it and even when I was done, I was thinking about it.

“In fact, maybe love, in the purest sense, is about being kind to someone with no expectation of how they’re going to respond. They can ignore your kindness, reject it, or return in tenfold, but you just continue to be kind, and that is love.” ~Excerpt from My Lovely Wife In The Psych Ward.

Mark and Guilia

Firstly, I have to commend Mark for his superb style of writing. This book was gripping from the very first page. Mark was able to make a very hard read engrossing. Mark was descriptive, his words incredibly heart-felt and raw. Although he made it difficult to relate to Guilia as a person, it was almost as if he labeled and defined her with her mental illness. This brings me to the purpose of this memoir. It gives an account of the realities of suffering from a caregiver’s perspective. Draws attention to understanding the limitations and overwhelming exhaustion that caregivers of loved ones afflicted with mental illnesses go through. Those that are or have been in his shoes get to see that someone else has felt similar fears, frustrations, anger and sadness. I believe everyone has a right to tell their story, which is exactly what I believe Mark did.

I felt incredibly sorry for Guilia. She seemed like a person who stressed easily, that about her I found very relatable. As a result, made reading about the manifestations of her illness and speed at which it relentlessly did very devastating. Her rapid decline into her first psychotic breakdown, the relapses that followed was just as gut-wrenching as it was fascinating. The frustrations and limitations caused by her condition made her unbearable, she became rude, selfish and unloving. She had no control over her emotions or how she treated her husband and everyone around her. It was hard not to be irritated with her.

Excerpt from My Lovely Wife In The Psych Ward~

How scary this must feel to her: to lose sleep to the intensity of thoughts that you didn’t have words for.

This made me realize how important it is to always remember that nobody would choose to live with a mental illness. I realized that Guilia being suffocated in her existence, angry at life and rebelling in every way she could was beyond her control. It was eye-opening. Sure it’s hard to like people who are mean when sick, but the only way to cope with such is through kindness. Although easier said than done. I am thankful that Guilia shared a story so personal with such dignity.

Mark and Guilia’s Marriage

We were both blown away by how amazing it feels to love someone and be loved back. ~Excerpt from My Lovely Wife In The Psych Ward.

Mark and Guilia’s love story really put into perspective what marriage is about, its fallout effects as well as how it endures. This is a love story anchored by love, tolerance, kindness and loyalty. This book beautifully dealt with what it means to vow “In sickness and in health”. Not only is it hard, but it isn’t without rewards. Mark and Guilia had what seemed like the perfect story, one that was memorable and had me hopeful throughout. Although the process was a heartbreaking one, it was beautiful to read how they redefined their love. I felt their sadness, happiness, helplessness and love.

“What do you mean? I just sacrificed everything. How is that not love?” “Sacrifice is a part of love, Mark. But might there not be more to love than just how much you sacrifice?”

My Lovely Wife In The Psych Ward; Conclusion

Reading quite a number of reviews on this memoir, it baffles me that there are people that found fault in it. Although I feel Mark was judged too harshly for his perspective of his wife’s trauma. I can understand why the sympathy for him dissipates at some point. That, for me, is one of the many factors that makes this memoir stand out. Mark was open and honest with his truth and story even if some of his actions could have put him in a bad light in the eyes of the reader. As a result, neither Mark nor Guilia came off as saints. Either way, some got the impression the author was painting himself to be the good guy or a hero of some sort.

I saw it as an insight on the ripple effect caused mental illness, not only does it affect the person directly afflicted but everyone around, most especially family. Then again, reading is a personal and subjective experience. This memoir spreads awareness on mental health, its stigma and treatments.

Romeo and I worked in silence, overpowered by the fierce sound of Guilia’s resistance. I caught a glimpse of Romeo’s face and saw that he was sobbing, and only when I saw his face did I realize how much I was crying too.”

~Mark Lukach, My Lovely Wife In The Psych Ward.

I underestimated how heartfelt this memoir was going to be. Kudos to Mark for his patience, selflessness, fierce loyalty, and vulnerability in navigating a relentlessly straining test to his marriage. And their amazing supportive parents. It is sad to imagine how devastating it is for the family to just learn to live with it, let go and trust the process.

Here is a family that can never be fully secure because of the uncertainty of a loved one’s mental illness, a marriage that will never be of equal love and compassion. Above all, thriving without fear and offering hope not just to themselves but the readers as well.

An Excellent source of inspiration.

5.0Overall Score

My Lovely Wife In The Psych Ward

My Lovely Wife in a Psych Ward is a heart-wrenching and impactful memoir written by a fiercely loyal husband about a beautiful marriage tested by the highs and lows of his wife's mental illness.

  • Plot
    5.0
  • Characters
    5.0
  • Pacing
    5.0
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9 thoughts on “My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward”

    Haven’t read the book yet but this review has me believing that true love exists not the fairy tale true love but the real deal cause it takes a great amount of love and patience to stick with a mentally ill person. I commend mark for staying with her in her time of need when it would have been easy for him to walk away and not have to deal with her and her illness.

  1. Mubarak Bello

    This read does make you question what love is. Read a bit of this myself and the little I did contained some parts that reflected in my life personally, made me realize forms of love and sacrifice I never knew I’d be able to express to make until I had asked myself, “what would you do in this situation?”. Opened up something within heart and mind, also made me feel happy with the answers my heart gave me.
    I really appreciated how honest this book is, how honest Mark was. He didn’t make it sound like it was a walk in the park, but he did show how far he’d be willing to go for Guilia. I appreciate that the book is promoting awareness of mental health and giving some insight on how to help those that are battling it. I love how I realized deeper forms of sacrifice in love and I appreciate how honest the experiences, thoughts, pain and feelings were expressed in this book. Excellently written review!! For a second I forgot it was a review and got lost in your words, you really have a knack for writing. Who knows, maybe you might go into it professionally someday. If you do, be as confident with yourself as much as I am confident in you now that you’ll produce amazing work. Well done!

    You have written this so beautifully well. I would definitely read this!!!! In fact it’s going to be the first book I read when I take a break. In shaa Allah
    Love that it’s centered on mental illness, and I’m glad we get to see it from the caretaker’s point of view. You mentioned Mark being selfless, it means he truly loved her, that makes me so happy. It truly is a whole lot for someone to be on the receiving end of all this. I can’t imagine what he must’ve gone through.. ughhh can’t wait to read this!!!!!🥺

        Coming back here to tell you that this book was so worth the read.. I’m so so glad I came across it on your page.. I don’t know about you but I cried sooo sooo much. It was too sad. But his love for her made my heart so happy. I love love 🥺

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