At the height of her career in journalism, Jan Wong's world came crashing down. A story she wrote on a school shooting sparked a violent backlash, including death threats. Her newspaper failed to stand by her, and for the first time in her life she spiraled into clinical depression. She found herself unable to write, but the paper's management thought she was feigning illness, and fired her. Her insurer rejected her claim of depression, and her publisher refused to publish this book.
Out of the Blue is a memoir unlike any other. It is the surreal, wrenching, sometimes hilarious, and ultimately triumphant story of one woman's struggle to come to terms with depression.close this panel
Jan Wong is a journalist and professor. Her other non-fiction books are Red China Blues, Jan Wong's China, Lunch With Jan Wong, and Beijing Confidential. Jan divides her time between Toronto and Fredericton.close this panel
“Because of her honest book, conversation can continue within families, businesses and institutions, when a person’s behaviours suggest a mental health issue. Instead of being left to sink even deeper into illness, with support of therapists, friends and family, they can find their way to healthier and happier life.”
“There’s the W5 of Wong’s personal narrative: what happened to her, how she felt about it, what she did about it, etc. Which, as might be expected of a best-selling career journalist, is eminently readable and engaging.”
It is required reading for anyone interested in journalism. It is also required reading for anyone interested in the way employers treat employees with mental illnesses.
Her latest memoir, Out of the Blue, reaffirms Wong as a brilliant writer and reveals a side of her we dont usually see: she is human like all of us.
“As Wong states one in five individuals will be afflicted with a serious mental illness during their lifetime. Knowing this statistic, readers from all walks of life not to mention those employed as human resource representatives would definitely benefit from reading Out of the Blue.”
In this rare exploration of workplace depression, Wong asks the reader to confront issues many of us have had to deal with, no matter how long we have been in the traditional workplace she had worked for the Globe for two decades. For example, for those that ascribe to the I work therefore I am motto, like she did, it makes you wonder about your own life, and you will begin to ask yourself some tough questions.
Wongs book reveals a thousand cuts to her body and soul. A great and perceptive writer, she has the gift of precision, detailing the side effects of each failed anti-depressant, the vortex effect of being unable to look at buildings she associated with pain, the shopping cure that brought dopamine blasts, the awfulness of mornings, that April is the worst month for suicide, and the graininess of the films a security firm secretly took at the launch of her 2007 book, Beijing Confidential.
Its an event rare enough in the Canadian publishing world to be considered a coup: a self-published non-fiction book former Globe and Mail journalist Jan Wongs Out of the Blue: A Memoir of Workplace Depression, Recovery, Redemption and, Yes, Happiness, launched May 5 has hit the Stars bestseller list, making its debut this week at No. 10.
“Wong may have travelled al long road, but Out of the Blue signals her courageous return.”
Out of the Blue is a page-turner suffused with suffering and pluck.