Happy August, everyone! I hope you have all had summer weather as lovely as it is on Risa, trips to oceans as lovely as the ones on Pacifica, and of course, plenty of time to read! Welcome to month two of the Boldly Read Summer Reading Challenge. This month’s categories are single parents and mental illness.
After years of watching Star Trek I have noticed there are many characters who are single parents or who were raised by a single parent. The TNG episodes “The Icarus Factor”, “Family” and “New Ground” and DS9’s “Emissary” all include stories of parents raising their child alone after the death of a spouse or mate. TNG’s episode “The Offspring” is the story of a parent who chose to have and raise a child alone. Several Voyager episodes include single parent Samantha Wildman, who was separated from her spouse when Voyager became lost in the Delta Quadrant, and in DS9 episodes we follow the story of Rom, a single father whose wife left him for a richer man years ago.
And we can’t forget Dr. Carol Marcus from Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, the mother of Kirk’s son David. There are some great episodes and stories about single parents in Star Trek, and there are some great books about them too! For this category I challenge readers to read a book by or about someone who is a single parent. If you prefer fiction I highly recommend the book Babylon Sisters by Pearl Cleage. If you prefer non-fiction there are lots of memoirs and biographies by or about people who have been or are currently single parents. Two I have read and would recommend are Amy Poehler’s Yes, Please! and Tess Holliday’s The Not-So Subtle Art of Being a Fat Girl.
A big inspiration for this category is an excellent article I recently read: a speech Wil Wheaton gave at NAMI’s (National Alliance of Mental Illness) Ohio Statewide Conference earlier this year titled “My Name is Wil Wheaton. I Live With Chronic Depression and Generalized Anxiety. I Am Not Ashamed.” Reading Wil’s story of living with mental illness made me think about Star Trek episodes with characters who struggle with mental health issues.
There are episodes like TNG’s “Hollow Pursuits” and “Realm of Fear” where Barclay struggles with social anxiety and phobia of transporters, DS9’s “Hard Time” and Voyager’s “Night” where O’Brien and Janeway have depression, and DS9’s “It’s Only A Paper Moon” where Nog struggles with PTSD.
In Wil’s speech he mentions the importance of people with mental illness sharing their stories, and I think it is equally important that we all listen to these stories. One great way to do that is to read books about people’s experiences with mental illness. I cannot recommend Jenny Lawson’s book Furiously Happy enough, especially the audiobook version which she narrates herself. Another great read is Willow Weep for Me: A Black Woman’s Journey Through Depression by Meri Nana-Ama Danquah. If you like young adult novels I also recommend Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now by Dana L. Davis.
I hope everyone has been enjoying the challenge, please let us know what you are reading by commenting below or tweeting using the hashtag #BoldlyRead2018!