Book Reviews

Despair to Deliverance: A True Story of Triumph Over Severe Mental Illness by Sharon DeVinney

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.

I’ve always been obsessed with books about sickness. I want to know how people felt at the worst point in their life, biologically speaking. And, you know what, society? Mental illness is a sickness, too. It is just as debilitating as problems to body parts other than the brain. I’m so glad I read this book and I also want everyone to read it!

Goodreads synopsis:

33270865The story begins with a phone call from Robin. She and I had been working together in therapy for almost ten years. She usually didn’t call between sessions, partly because she was very aware of and careful about boundaries, but also because severe anxiety about making phone calls was one of her symptoms.

The story that follows this phone call is one of courage and determination. Despair to Deliverance is a memoir-one unique in its perspective from both client and psychotherapist-that uncovers the harrowing experience of recovering from mental illness.

Robin Personette’s descent into a severe mental health breakdown is not an experience she goes through alone. With her longtime psychotherapist, Sharon DeVinney, PhD, at her side, Robin must first learn to see the value in life before she can continue living.

With touching transparency and a courageous examination of what it means to fight for a stable and healthy life, both Robin and Sharon welcome readers to follow them on their unique journey together.

For anyone who has ever struggled with life’s challenges-or who has had a loved one dealing with mental illness-Despair to Deliverance is a comforting message of perseverance and hope.


First off, let me make it very clear that I’m not reviewing this book, in the actual sense of the word. I’m not going to talk about the writing style or how the flow is. This book is an honest account–from both therapist and client–about one woman’s journey from despair to deliverance. I can only list out all the reasons why I loved reading it.

My only experience with depression was situational, as is for most people. You don’t like your job or you’re not having a great time at school, and that depresses you. But, Robin’s depression is biological, aided by situational factors too. We see her highs and lows. There may be a few triggers in the book for some people, but as Sharon mentions within the first few pages, Robin’s story has a happy ending and we should read on till the end.

What I really liked about this book was that we get both the therapist’s and client’s perspective. I’ve always liked books with the sick person’s perspective, but this book showed that the caregiver also undergoes changes. Though this story happened years back, while reading, I kept rooting for Robin. I was cheering her along and really wanted her to get better. That, I believe, is the strongest suit of this book. It makes depression real. It makes depression personal.

I want everyone to read this book. Whether you have a mental illness, or care for someone with it, please do check this book out. I wouldn’t be surprised if this book became assigned reading for psychotherapists at some point–it’s that good!

Rating: 5 out of 5

What did you think of my review? Let me know in the comments!


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6 thoughts on “Despair to Deliverance: A True Story of Triumph Over Severe Mental Illness by Sharon DeVinney

    1. It is a worthwhile read! You’re right, there are so many misconceptions about mental illness. For e.g., this book talks about Electroconvulsive Therapy, and they repeatedly make it known that it’s not like the scene from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Technology has advanced so much. I think that’s what makes the book lovely. It’s a very honest story that everyone should read, to understand and not misconceive what depressed and suicidal people go through.😊

      Liked by 1 person

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