Reviewed by Jane Campbell
“Depression does not change who you are,” writes Jan Wong in her new memoir Out of the Blue, “it sits like a cloud over your original personality.” Certainly Wong, the intrepid and controversial Canadian journalist known for living in China during the Cultural Revolution and sneaking box cutters through post 9/11 security, among other things, retains her reporter’s dedication to exposing injustice, even as the cloud of depression casts a shadow over her life.
As Wong points out, writers seem to be particularly vulnerable to depression, and Out of the Blue is one among a whole pantheon of memoirs detailing mental illness, from William Styron’s Darkness Visible to Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking. Wong manages to make a unique contribution to this literary sub-genre by exploring what she calls “workplace depression,” or depression brought about and exacerbated by the particular indignities and stressors of the contemporary North American working environment. Continue reading Review-Jan Wong’s “Out of the Blue”