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In a love story that shocked the world, Margaret Trudeau became the youngest First Lady when at age 22 she married Pierre Trudeau, a man almost thirty years her senior and the 15th Prime Minister of Canada. Pierre Trudeau served from 1968 to 1979 during a critical time in Canadian and international politics and during her term as First Lady, Margaret travelled internationa In a love story that shocked the world, Margaret Trudeau became the youngest First Lady when at age 22 she married Pierre Trudeau, a man almost thirty years her senior and the 15th Prime Minister of Canada. Pierre Trudeau served from 1968 to 1979 during a critical time in Canadian and international politics and during her term as First Lady, Margaret travelled internationally on government business and met closely with U.S. Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Jimmy Carter. Stunningly beautiful, Margaret immediately became the focus of attention in any room she entered. Just as Princess Diana refused to submit to traditional expectations to the irritation of Prince Charles and to the criticism of the media, Margaret also remained true to her independent beliefs, which often clashed with the demands of her public role, and the press flocked to her, much to Pierre Trudeau’s chagrin. In her first book in almost thirty years, Margaret looks back on a controversial life and examines the consequences of her lifelong struggle with mental illness. From flower child to self-described “hippie mother,” unpredictable Margaret Trudeau became synonymous with scandal and intrigue internationally. She was criticized for wearing an inappropriately short dress to an official White House Dinner. She acted as Fidel Castro’s photographer for a day. She burst into song at a state dinner for the President of Venezuela. And rather than celebrate her sixth wedding anniversary with her husband, she spent a legendary weekend with the Rolling Stones, leading to worldwide rumours of trysts with Mick Jagger and Ron Wood. But happiness was short-lived for Margaret, who suffered a series of tragic losses: divorce from Pierre Trudeau; the death of her youngest son in a skiing accident; and divorce from her second husband, real estate mogul Fried Kemper. Margaret spiraled through suicidal depression and undiagnosed mania. She self-medicated with marijuana and alcohol, starved herself, and engaged in manic spending sprees that left her penniless until she was finally diagnosed and treated for bipolar disorder. Under intense international scrutiny, Margaret Trudeau has lived a life full of highs and lows, but has worked to regain control of her life. She is currently a national mental health advocate who has been awarded the Society of Biological Psychiatry Humanitarian Award for her efforts to help and inspire people suffering from mental illness. In this poignant memoir, Margaret Trudeau reveals her courageous lifetime struggle with mental illness and her journey of recovery, acceptance, and hope.


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In a love story that shocked the world, Margaret Trudeau became the youngest First Lady when at age 22 she married Pierre Trudeau, a man almost thirty years her senior and the 15th Prime Minister of Canada. Pierre Trudeau served from 1968 to 1979 during a critical time in Canadian and international politics and during her term as First Lady, Margaret travelled internationa In a love story that shocked the world, Margaret Trudeau became the youngest First Lady when at age 22 she married Pierre Trudeau, a man almost thirty years her senior and the 15th Prime Minister of Canada. Pierre Trudeau served from 1968 to 1979 during a critical time in Canadian and international politics and during her term as First Lady, Margaret travelled internationally on government business and met closely with U.S. Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Jimmy Carter. Stunningly beautiful, Margaret immediately became the focus of attention in any room she entered. Just as Princess Diana refused to submit to traditional expectations to the irritation of Prince Charles and to the criticism of the media, Margaret also remained true to her independent beliefs, which often clashed with the demands of her public role, and the press flocked to her, much to Pierre Trudeau’s chagrin. In her first book in almost thirty years, Margaret looks back on a controversial life and examines the consequences of her lifelong struggle with mental illness. From flower child to self-described “hippie mother,” unpredictable Margaret Trudeau became synonymous with scandal and intrigue internationally. She was criticized for wearing an inappropriately short dress to an official White House Dinner. She acted as Fidel Castro’s photographer for a day. She burst into song at a state dinner for the President of Venezuela. And rather than celebrate her sixth wedding anniversary with her husband, she spent a legendary weekend with the Rolling Stones, leading to worldwide rumours of trysts with Mick Jagger and Ron Wood. But happiness was short-lived for Margaret, who suffered a series of tragic losses: divorce from Pierre Trudeau; the death of her youngest son in a skiing accident; and divorce from her second husband, real estate mogul Fried Kemper. Margaret spiraled through suicidal depression and undiagnosed mania. She self-medicated with marijuana and alcohol, starved herself, and engaged in manic spending sprees that left her penniless until she was finally diagnosed and treated for bipolar disorder. Under intense international scrutiny, Margaret Trudeau has lived a life full of highs and lows, but has worked to regain control of her life. She is currently a national mental health advocate who has been awarded the Society of Biological Psychiatry Humanitarian Award for her efforts to help and inspire people suffering from mental illness. In this poignant memoir, Margaret Trudeau reveals her courageous lifetime struggle with mental illness and her journey of recovery, acceptance, and hope.

30 review for Changing My Mind: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Lumos

    While I enjoyed reading "Changing My Mind" , it was not what I expected. Since experiencing my own bout of sadness, I was searching for a memoir with an extensive focus on mental illness. I was drawn to this book because I thought Margaret Trudeau’s journey in the Canadian mental health care system would be insightful. While certain parts of this book were endearing, in my opinion, it focused less on mental illness and more on Margaret Trudeau’s experience as the Prime Minister’s wife. Being 21 While I enjoyed reading "Changing My Mind" , it was not what I expected. Since experiencing my own bout of sadness, I was searching for a memoir with an extensive focus on mental illness. I was drawn to this book because I thought Margaret Trudeau’s journey in the Canadian mental health care system would be insightful. While certain parts of this book were endearing, in my opinion, it focused less on mental illness and more on Margaret Trudeau’s experience as the Prime Minister’s wife. Being 21, I never had the opportunity to experience the "Trudeaumania" described in my history textbooks; however, this book brought me back to the 60s and 70s. Margaret was only a year older than me when she married Pierre Trudeau, who was in his early 50s, and her new life in the spotlight ended up being cumbersome. She was trying to build a positive public image while privately coping with symptoms from her undiagnosed bipolar disorder. Though her recovery took 30 years, she was able to flourish into a mental health advocate for Canadians. Despite the promising synopsis, it felt like her medical journey was the secondary focus of this work - the primary being her childhood, travels, family life, marital issues, and negative experiences with the press. Although this might entice some readers, I think this information would have been better suited for another memoir. In particular, I wish she spent more time focusing on her experiences in the Canadian mental health care system and ways we can improve it for the future. Despite my disappointments with this memoir, I applaud Margaret Trudeau for being so public and honest about her experience because it takes guts to be vulnerable. Her story also shows the deep biological entrenching of mental illness. Her life was seemingly perfect, and yet, she coped with mania and depression so severe that it made it difficult for her to get out of bed. Furthermore, as a Canadian, this book made me feel infinitely grateful I live here. I understand in other parts of the world stigma surrounding brain chemical disorders is paramount and treatment options are few. And though our mental health care system still needs improvements, I feel good knowing we have public figures like Margaret Trudeau advocating for this invaluable issue.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dianne

    Margaret Trudeau has been courageous in telling this story of her life. She is a woman who has had more fame and fortune than most of us could have in our wildest dreams. She has travelled the entire world, been hosted by the heads of state as a glamorous young First Lady, has had two marriages to kind, interesting men, given birth to four healthy, handsome sons and a lovely daughter. She has been in romances with movie stars, heirs to fortunes, rock stars, an exotic surfer dude and Senator Ted Margaret Trudeau has been courageous in telling this story of her life. She is a woman who has had more fame and fortune than most of us could have in our wildest dreams. She has travelled the entire world, been hosted by the heads of state as a glamorous young First Lady, has had two marriages to kind, interesting men, given birth to four healthy, handsome sons and a lovely daughter. She has been in romances with movie stars, heirs to fortunes, rock stars, an exotic surfer dude and Senator Ted Kennedy. Yet through it all she had been dealing with undiagnosed bipolar disorder. It is a most amazing life story. And to top off the roller coaster ride of Margaret's life her eldest child is now the much loved Prime Minister of Canada! I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in learning about the brain chemistry disorder once called manic depression now termed bipolar disorder.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    Written in a straight forward manner, this is the story behind the story... and a look at bipolar disorder from the perspective of a woman whose behaviour was puzzling to most everyone who witnessed this period of Canadian history. Margaret's sharing of her story brings mental illness a little further out of the 'closet', and illuminates how society and the medical community often misunderstand, mistreat, and mis-diagnose. Having lived through a major depressive episode myself, I was able to rela Written in a straight forward manner, this is the story behind the story... and a look at bipolar disorder from the perspective of a woman whose behaviour was puzzling to most everyone who witnessed this period of Canadian history. Margaret's sharing of her story brings mental illness a little further out of the 'closet', and illuminates how society and the medical community often misunderstand, mistreat, and mis-diagnose. Having lived through a major depressive episode myself, I was able to relate to the bleak despair. I choose to talk openly about my depression and anxiety, as Margaret does in her book, in order to de-stigmatize disorders of brain chemistry. I hope that this book will do the same for you, dear reader, and will shed light and words and understanding... do you remember when it was taboo to talk about CANCER, when diabetes was spoken of in hushed tones as 'having sugar diabetes'? So do I. I urge you to read this and others like it, to recommend it, and to talk about it with intelligence, understanding, and compassion.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Katy

    I wasn’t sure what to expect from this. While I give the author credit for telling her story, I found it to be far too much name dropping, and not enough substance. It seemed to be more about her life of privilege and provided little in the way of understanding her disease. Also I did not find her writing style to be very compelling but rather very superficial. Maybe three stars is a bit of a stretch. I don’t mean to diminish her struggles but I was really hoping to gain some insight into the par I wasn’t sure what to expect from this. While I give the author credit for telling her story, I found it to be far too much name dropping, and not enough substance. It seemed to be more about her life of privilege and provided little in the way of understanding her disease. Also I did not find her writing style to be very compelling but rather very superficial. Maybe three stars is a bit of a stretch. I don’t mean to diminish her struggles but I was really hoping to gain some insight into the part of her life for which the book is named.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    Mme. Trudeau's book deserves a 4-star (I liked it) for the courage taken to confess the mess in her life caused by forces beyond her control - untreated mental or brain hormone disorder, her own moderate mental acuity and the pull of a man with his own (unprobed, it seems) mental "disorder", P. Trudeau, and that under the great treatment of Ottawa's Dr. Cameron, she found healing and stability. It deserves much less (1-star, didn't like it) because she makes too many attempts to give penetrating Mme. Trudeau's book deserves a 4-star (I liked it) for the courage taken to confess the mess in her life caused by forces beyond her control - untreated mental or brain hormone disorder, her own moderate mental acuity and the pull of a man with his own (unprobed, it seems) mental "disorder", P. Trudeau, and that under the great treatment of Ottawa's Dr. Cameron, she found healing and stability. It deserves much less (1-star, didn't like it) because she makes too many attempts to give penetrating insights from her long and painful ordeal which are not by any stretch penetrating. I found it merely confused the purpose of her book how she includes people we know something about (mainly the other Trudeaus), blurring the lines between mental health treatise, celebrity memoir and family album. Neither of the men she married are insightfully treated (or, I suspect, well understood). She relates her physical fight with Pierre Trudeau that highlights his clinical stinginess (gives only $50 to support their sons) without understanding that her ferocious objection was exactly what the bastard needed to face. She washes away her confessed ugliness to Fried Kemper as a stage two symptom of her bipolar disorder - without delving into any useful detail. Some of her story of hippy living in Morocco at age 19 or 20 seems too idealized to be entirely true, with a self-possession incongruous to later events, and I wonder if details can be independently confirmed.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dianna

    I enjoyed the stories about her life with Pierre and the kids. But otherwise found her to be annoying. It felt like she spent the first half of the book name dropping, and then the second half blaming Pierre for everything. Despite the fact that she repeatedly says she needs to stop blaming others for her problems. I wonder if there's a personality disorder along with the bipolar. I enjoyed the stories about her life with Pierre and the kids. But otherwise found her to be annoying. It felt like she spent the first half of the book name dropping, and then the second half blaming Pierre for everything. Despite the fact that she repeatedly says she needs to stop blaming others for her problems. I wonder if there's a personality disorder along with the bipolar.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I found Ms. Sinclair to be truly lacking in insight to her motivations and behaviours, even by the end of her story. Her dissing of the Alcoholics Anonymous and the people in it showed her snobby shallowness. It served no real purpose for her to diss the members of an organization that has saved millions of lives, except to show how thoughtless she still is. So the meetings were in a part of town she wasn't comfortable with and the people there were not up to her high and mighty standards. What a I found Ms. Sinclair to be truly lacking in insight to her motivations and behaviours, even by the end of her story. Her dissing of the Alcoholics Anonymous and the people in it showed her snobby shallowness. It served no real purpose for her to diss the members of an organization that has saved millions of lives, except to show how thoughtless she still is. So the meetings were in a part of town she wasn't comfortable with and the people there were not up to her high and mighty standards. What a pathetic snob! It is hard to believe that her doctor referred her to A.A. She certainly didn't belong in the rooms of A.A., given that she didn't think she had a problem with alcohol or have a desire to stop drinking. To say she didn't attend N.A., because of her penchant for bad boys is beyond ridiculous. She really does show her ignorance. In the end, for her to say that she went through such a hard life, is again a reflection of what poor insight she has of herself. Personally, I don't think she has a clue what a hard life is. She admits she grew up and lived a privileged life. I got the impression that she thinks she's terribly unique and special. She says she needs to stop blaming others for her problems, yet she keeps doing it. The impaired charge and her fighting it is a good example. I don't think Ms. Sinclair was at all courageous in her "revelations." Everything was always someone else's fault. She talks as though much of her behaviour was acceptable and totally normal. I would have thought she'd stress how abnormal her thinking and behaviours were. She rarely did. The way she wrote the book made it sound as though she still thinks much of what she said and did is perfectly acceptable, when any healthy person can see it's not. Having first-had experience with bi-polar disorder, I don't think Ms. Sinclair gave an accurate account of the illness at all. There are much better books out there if one really wants to understand the condition. This book is light weight fluff for those who enjoy gossip and name-dropping. Do take it with more than a few grains of salt.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Golfergirl

    Full disclosure, I am not a Margaret Trudeau fan. Perhaps that coloured my opinion of this biography. Perhaps I should say autobiography, because the “auto” part is on full display. I am sympathetic to the victims of mental illness. However Ms. Trudeau has benefitted from access to health care, financial support and business opportunities that few women have. So I have difficulty listening to her blame everything for her difficulties while taking credit for managing her recovery so well. I know Full disclosure, I am not a Margaret Trudeau fan. Perhaps that coloured my opinion of this biography. Perhaps I should say autobiography, because the “auto” part is on full display. I am sympathetic to the victims of mental illness. However Ms. Trudeau has benefitted from access to health care, financial support and business opportunities that few women have. So I have difficulty listening to her blame everything for her difficulties while taking credit for managing her recovery so well. I know someone who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She had no financial backing, no familial support and she worked very hard to raise two beautiful girls without abandoning them and taking off on wild partying trips around the world. Excuse my rant. I felt the book was self serving, and not particularly well written. She squandered so many opportunities that are not available to the average woman, and apparently still has no concept of her privilege.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alexis

    Was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I liked reading about her marriage to Pierre Trudeau and some of the diplomatic things that happened during that time period. I also appreciated how she talked about her bipolar disorder, and was frank and candid about the dark periods and what happened to her. Her love for her children really came through in this book. I think that the book could have used some editing as she used the phrase "this was the happiest time in my life" about 8 times. Stil Was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I liked reading about her marriage to Pierre Trudeau and some of the diplomatic things that happened during that time period. I also appreciated how she talked about her bipolar disorder, and was frank and candid about the dark periods and what happened to her. Her love for her children really came through in this book. I think that the book could have used some editing as she used the phrase "this was the happiest time in my life" about 8 times. Still, I hope lots of people read this because they'll learn a lot about bipolar disorder. One of the facts that she stated was that a man with a heart condition receives way better care than a woman with bipolar disorder and that the Canadian medical system still doesn't know how to treat mental illness. It was also weird, and scary to read about some of the really negative things that individual reporters said to her. As a journalist, I was rather appalled.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rose

    A very honest account of living with bi polar illness. It was very straight forward and helpful in understanding this illness a little better. With all her ups and downs I found I really liked Margaret. A few very close people in my life suffer form this mental illness and I know every day is a struggle with the illness and with the stigma that surrounds it. It was very brave of Margaret to be so honest and to bare her soul. I am very glad that i read this book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    I didn't find this a compelling read at all. Maybe she just needed to make some money, so decided to write another book. It still seems like her insight into her condition is lacking, and I found some parts contradictory. I also agree that there was too much "Name dropping", and not enough of what I could say came across as true feelings. I didn't find this a compelling read at all. Maybe she just needed to make some money, so decided to write another book. It still seems like her insight into her condition is lacking, and I found some parts contradictory. I also agree that there was too much "Name dropping", and not enough of what I could say came across as true feelings.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Dorris

    i enjoyed this way more than i thought i would. it was candid and honest - neither glamourizing nor downplaying the ups and downs of dealing with mental illness. i appreciated how she peppered her memoir with notes about what keeps her balanced. a good reminder that balance is a verb. she speaks of health and wellness in relation to the simple, yet often overlooked, needs we could all benefit from addressing - good nutrition, med management, fostering good relationships, exercise, meditation/spi i enjoyed this way more than i thought i would. it was candid and honest - neither glamourizing nor downplaying the ups and downs of dealing with mental illness. i appreciated how she peppered her memoir with notes about what keeps her balanced. a good reminder that balance is a verb. she speaks of health and wellness in relation to the simple, yet often overlooked, needs we could all benefit from addressing - good nutrition, med management, fostering good relationships, exercise, meditation/spiritual connections, and pursuing creative hobbies. it was really interesting to learn about some of the history she helped shape, like how husbands were not allowed in the room when women gave birth at the civic hospital until she kicked up a fuss. this was the same place i was born, and likely the same place i will birth future children. i also was surprised to learnabout her celebrity friebds and lovers - leonard cohen, mick jaggar, any warhol, and all the gang at studio 54. i loved the quote from her grandmother that opened chapter 2: "Margaret, you're one of the more delicate flowers in the garden. But you're also a perrenial" - fragile, but durable and persistent. she spoke of learning to supress her emotions as a young girl to fulfil the desires of others. one of her psychiatrists described depression as the suppression of anger - not being able to articulate (or even recognize) your feelings and having no voice. to all of this i can relate. we are told, explicitly and implicitly, how to act in this society, and as a result we become very good actresses. sometimes so good we even fool ourselves. rather than face the music, we look for ways to escape the pain. this is only natural, but pushing dirt under the rug will only result in a lumpy rug which eventually must be smoothed. this smoothing process is hard work; it's messy and involves much fluctuation through the firat four stages of grief before finally settling on acceptance of one's condition and responsibility in remedying it. only then can recovery begin. you have to "choose" sanity.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Carli McDonald

    “Absolutely clear to me now was my obligation to break through the prejudice and myths, the lack of sympathy and understanding that surround people who suffer from mental illnesses.” 3.5 stars. “Changing My Mind” is a good read, written by an incredible woman on an important topic that is unfortunately hindered by a lack of focus in her writing. Throughout her memoir, Margaret Trudeau speaks freely and with brutal honesty about her experiences - making it very easy for the reader to understand t “Absolutely clear to me now was my obligation to break through the prejudice and myths, the lack of sympathy and understanding that surround people who suffer from mental illnesses.” 3.5 stars. “Changing My Mind” is a good read, written by an incredible woman on an important topic that is unfortunately hindered by a lack of focus in her writing. Throughout her memoir, Margaret Trudeau speaks freely and with brutal honesty about her experiences - making it very easy for the reader to understand the weight of bipolar disorder and how much work society has to do to remove the stigma associated with mental illness.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Karen Stock

    Margaret Trudeau was the wife of the late Prime Minister Trudeau. I was only 11 when Trudeau married Margaret and I remember when Justin was born, and I remember that there was often scandolous talk of Margaret as the wife of the prime minister, but being so young didnt really understand or wasn't really interested. Reading it now at an age I can understand I enjoyed it.I am not into politics etc but Margaret's writing style is easy to read. I did find it a bit repetitive at times. She must say Margaret Trudeau was the wife of the late Prime Minister Trudeau. I was only 11 when Trudeau married Margaret and I remember when Justin was born, and I remember that there was often scandolous talk of Margaret as the wife of the prime minister, but being so young didnt really understand or wasn't really interested. Reading it now at an age I can understand I enjoyed it.I am not into politics etc but Margaret's writing style is easy to read. I did find it a bit repetitive at times. She must say a dozen or more times that marijuana can put some bi polars into a manic phase. I sometimes found her writing to be bi polar , it dragged and then would get exciting and interesting and then there would be a lull and then go back up. I loved all the pictures in the book. She is a beautiful woman. The book also is great for getting an inside persepctive of what bi polar people go through. Although it wasn't as informative about bi polar as I had anticipated it might be. Having a mental illness is so difficult and for Margaret being in the positiion she was in as well as the "time" she suffered a great deal. I appreciate her honesty in it about her mental illness.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Patty

    I was looking for a quickie autobiography when I checked this out of the library but I found it quite engrossing to once again immerse myself in the life and times of the former Mrs. Trudeau. I'd read her previous book but Changing my Mind is told by someone who realizes and, most importantly, accepts that she has a mental illness. She unflinchingly acknowledges some of her past erratic behaviour and the impact it had on her husband and her family, she describes her harrowing hospitalizations, a I was looking for a quickie autobiography when I checked this out of the library but I found it quite engrossing to once again immerse myself in the life and times of the former Mrs. Trudeau. I'd read her previous book but Changing my Mind is told by someone who realizes and, most importantly, accepts that she has a mental illness. She unflinchingly acknowledges some of her past erratic behaviour and the impact it had on her husband and her family, she describes her harrowing hospitalizations, and, interestingly, does not question that Trudeau 'hit back' and once pinned her to the floor in a mutual rage. She felt that she 'deserved it,' a stance that those with mental illnesses sometimes take. While Trudeau often comes off as a sympathetic figure he is also revealed to be cold, extremely tight with money and abusive. The true heroes are Margaret's children, both by Trudeau and her second husband, who are unfailingly supportive of their mother. Her own awareness of her illness and her decision to be public about it (with the same media who could be so cruel to her in her younger years) also displays true courage.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    Margaret Trudeau's autobiography 'Changing My Mind' was a harrowing yet utterly compelling account of her roller-coaster ride as a 60s and 70s wild child, her unconventional marriage to the Canadian Prime Minister who she married when she was 22 and he was 51, her undetected bipolar disorder, the death of a loved son and much more. It seems so honest and confronting that I assume she actually wrote the book and it was not ghost written. And of course it is written from her perspective which is s Margaret Trudeau's autobiography 'Changing My Mind' was a harrowing yet utterly compelling account of her roller-coaster ride as a 60s and 70s wild child, her unconventional marriage to the Canadian Prime Minister who she married when she was 22 and he was 51, her undetected bipolar disorder, the death of a loved son and much more. It seems so honest and confronting that I assume she actually wrote the book and it was not ghost written. And of course it is written from her perspective which is sometimes romanticised and at other times contains very detailed descriptions of what living with her mental difficulties was like, what she thought of people and how they interacted with her, and the life she chose to follow. It is at once disturbing and uplifting. At the back of the book are three essays from noted mental health professionals describing bipolar and the medication and support available today. Today, at 67, Margaret Trudeau continues to speak to people across Canada on mental health issues. In another twist to her story, her eldest son Justin is the current Canadian Prime Minister - the first time a father and son have both held this position.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Elaine Wakely

    This was definitely not my favourite book... not even close. I really disliked all the name dropping and little remorse for essentially abandoning her kiddies with her husband and being a pretty crappy wife... and I'm from Alberta so one would think anything trashing Pierre Trudeau in the slightest would make me happy. This book did pretty much the opposite - I think maybe he was kinda cool (sorry - still can't forgive the NEP though). In the last two or three chapters I my rating of this book i This was definitely not my favourite book... not even close. I really disliked all the name dropping and little remorse for essentially abandoning her kiddies with her husband and being a pretty crappy wife... and I'm from Alberta so one would think anything trashing Pierre Trudeau in the slightest would make me happy. This book did pretty much the opposite - I think maybe he was kinda cool (sorry - still can't forgive the NEP though). In the last two or three chapters I my rating of this book increased. I think I just liked the happy ending, seeing her get her life together finally and become a little more accountable for her options. I didn't learn too much more about bi-polar, but I did come away with an understanding of mental illness, helping to see shed some of the stigma and gain a bit of an understanding that mental illness can affect someone as much as a chronic physical illness... so I guess that was good. I don't think I'll ever read another of her books though.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Stéphanie

    The book was definitely a page-turner, even though I am not fascinated with Pierre Elliott Trudeau's life and entourage nor have I ever been. There's something about Margaret Trudeau that made me want to know more. She always seems so upbeat, yet was a PM's wife. She married P.E.T yet partied with some of the Rolling Stones and had an affair with Ted Kennedy. Her life was full of contrasts. For a big part of her life, she was lost and this is clearly explained and well detailed throughout the bo The book was definitely a page-turner, even though I am not fascinated with Pierre Elliott Trudeau's life and entourage nor have I ever been. There's something about Margaret Trudeau that made me want to know more. She always seems so upbeat, yet was a PM's wife. She married P.E.T yet partied with some of the Rolling Stones and had an affair with Ted Kennedy. Her life was full of contrasts. For a big part of her life, she was lost and this is clearly explained and well detailed throughout the book. As for her life-struggle with bipolar disorder, I thought she could have given a more in-depth view. Yes she does mention when she was depressed and when she was manic but it's mostly up, down, up, down without a lot of description. The doctors in the afterword reveal more than she does, saying that she was once so paranoid that she thought her second son, Sacha, was going to kill her. Overall, I'd say it was a good memoir.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Heather(Gibby)

    I was really young when Margaret Trudeau was frequently in the news, so I am glad read this book as an adult with a bit of life experience. I found the book gave in intimate look at the private life of Margaret Trudeau and her life before and after her marriage to Pierre Elliot Trudeau, but mostly the book is a frank first person perspectimve of the struggle of life with bipolar disease. I am sure this was a very difficult bbok for Ms. Trudeau to write, laying her deepest emotions for public con I was really young when Margaret Trudeau was frequently in the news, so I am glad read this book as an adult with a bit of life experience. I found the book gave in intimate look at the private life of Margaret Trudeau and her life before and after her marriage to Pierre Elliot Trudeau, but mostly the book is a frank first person perspectimve of the struggle of life with bipolar disease. I am sure this was a very difficult bbok for Ms. Trudeau to write, laying her deepest emotions for public consumption, but I applaud her for her couraeousness is sharing this very personal journey with us all. She indicates that she wrote the book to help others struggling to understand themselves and lvoe ones with bilar disorder, and I appreciated sharing her story.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kristine Scarrow

    This book was a quick and engrossing read. That being said, I was conflicted about it. While she is endearing in many aspects, I did feel that there was a lot of blame put on others rather than personal responsibility for her actions. At times I felt that there was little remorse for her erratic behavior and the effects it would have had on her children. As well, there were moments when I felt that she came across as snobbish and self-entitled. That being said, I give her credit for being so can This book was a quick and engrossing read. That being said, I was conflicted about it. While she is endearing in many aspects, I did feel that there was a lot of blame put on others rather than personal responsibility for her actions. At times I felt that there was little remorse for her erratic behavior and the effects it would have had on her children. As well, there were moments when I felt that she came across as snobbish and self-entitled. That being said, I give her credit for being so candid about her illness and her struggles throughout the years. I appreciated the glimpse into her life as the prime minister's wife--the pressures and societal expectations, as well as the difficulties of being in a high profile marriage.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Margaret Trudeau’s book Changing My Mind is a biography of Margaret’s life which follows her journey and self-discovery as a woman and being diagnosed with Bipolar disorder. Margaret unabashedly describes her lowest moments of despair to her moments of self-realization all while being in the Canadian public eye. Margaret was the wife of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau from 1971 to 1984. She married Pierre when she was twenty-two years old and he was 51 and prime minister of Canada. Being in Margaret Trudeau’s book Changing My Mind is a biography of Margaret’s life which follows her journey and self-discovery as a woman and being diagnosed with Bipolar disorder. Margaret unabashedly describes her lowest moments of despair to her moments of self-realization all while being in the Canadian public eye. Margaret was the wife of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau from 1971 to 1984. She married Pierre when she was twenty-two years old and he was 51 and prime minister of Canada. Being in the public eye as the prime minister’s wife exacerbated Margaret’s struggles with Bipolar disorder and intensified episodes of depression and elation. The Canadian tabloids in particular would target Margaret and make fun of her struggles with mental illness. Overall, Margaret speaks her unfiltered truth which seeks to break stigma surrounding mental illness and bring awareness to Bipolar disorder. Before she was Margaret Trudeau, she was Margaret Sinclair who grew up in the beautiful British Columbia. Margaret was born in 1948 and was one of five daughters known as the “roaring Sinclair’s”. Her father was a proud protestant Scottish businessman and political member of the liberal party. When Margaret was growing up, she discusses how she was always coined as the sensitive sibling and felt different from her sisters. When Margaret was a student at Simon Fraser University, she wrote about how she started to notice how she would feel her emotions with immense strength. Before she married Pierre, Margaret discusses struggling with her emotions and talking to her mother about going to a doctor about the issues she was facing. Margaret’s mother discouraged her from seeing a doctor about her struggles suggesting that people within her family do not visit doctors about such things, only “unstable” people see doctors about mental health struggles. As Margaret reflects on this in her book, she discusses how she now realizes that stigma surrounding mental illness was deeply ingrained within her from a young age causing her shame for her struggles. The internalized stigma and shame Margaret felt about her struggles with mental illness made her feel like she was responsible for the pain she was experiencing. Thus, leading Margaret to feel as if it was her fault, she was not a “good enough” wife, daughter, and mother when in reality she was immensely mentally unhealthy and struggling to stay alive. The assumed audience of the book is all middle to senior aged Canadian peoples. As Margaret was former prime minister Pierre Trudeau’s wife from 1971 to 1984 the older generation would remember her time in Ottawa and on Canadian tabloids. Thus, Margaret’s book is a non-academic read and seeks to give the audience a back story on her entire life starting at how she was raised, and how mental health was stigmatized from a young age in her life. Margaret seeks to give the reader her truth, what was really going on behind the tabloids and rumours. When Margaret describes her truth and how she was mentally unhealthy throughout her entire marriage she seeks to deconstruct the discriminatory rumours made about her by the tabloids. Margaret discusses how in her marriage she was denied financial, personal choice, and healthcare freedoms which left her Bipolar disorder unchecked making her severely mentally unhealthy. Ultimately, Margaret seeks to normalize Bipolar disorder to the older audience that may still hold stigma about mental health by speaking on her personal experiences and how mental health is real and there is no shame in getting help. Margaret relates to disability in her book as a woman who herself identifies with Bipolar disorder. She speaks on her struggles, shame she’s experienced, and her diagnoses. Margaret holds nothing back when describing how she faced discrimination from doctors who told her she just had postpartum depression when she knew it was more than that. Thus, Margaret describes how she had to learn to advocate for herself, work through her internal stigma towards mental illness and become an advocate in the Bipolar community. The assumptions Margaret makes about disability can be seen through internalized shame and stigma about mental illness. Throughout her book Margaret assumes that stigma and shame are still associated with disability and therefore, she seeks to break these barriers down. The common tropes of disability in the book that are seen firstly aligned with the stigmatized “unstable” mentally unhealthy person. We see how Margaret was stigmatized for being mentally unhealthy and treated as an outcast because of it. Later in the book we see how Margaret takes a patient-centred care approach to disability where she takes the power and control back and becomes an advocate for the Bipolar community. Ultimately, Margret’s Trudeau’s book Changing my mind speaks her truth and personal journey with Bipolar disorder. Margaret seeks to break down stigma surrounding mental illness by telling her life story and struggles she has faced. I would highly recommend this book because it created a space for Margaret to share her journey of internalized shame of mental illness to her breaking down barriers and getting help for her Bipolar disorder and getting a diagnosis. Margaret was able to deconstruct discriminatory tabloids and rumours and give her narrative on how she was struggling and mentally unhealthy. Throughout this book the reader sees how Margaret battles with stigma surrounding mental illness and her internalized shame to reaching self-actualization and becoming an advocate for herself and the Bipolar community.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sheri

    This book has some of the predictable elements that come with a memoir of a spouse of a famous person...state visits, meetings with very influential people, the feeling of being in someone's shadow, but I felt it was handled well. I also gleamed more history about Pierre Trudeau, a fascinating Prime Minister. The description of Margaret's experience living with her bi-polar was also interesting and a positive example of putting a face to this disorder. This book has some of the predictable elements that come with a memoir of a spouse of a famous person...state visits, meetings with very influential people, the feeling of being in someone's shadow, but I felt it was handled well. I also gleamed more history about Pierre Trudeau, a fascinating Prime Minister. The description of Margaret's experience living with her bi-polar was also interesting and a positive example of putting a face to this disorder.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Erin Patterson

    Having someone close to me that suffers from Bipolar Disorder I found Margaret's journey to be a real eye opener. I hope going forward it helps me to be more patient and understanding to the plight of those inflicted with Bipolar Disorder. I enjoyed the content of the book but found it to be rather repetitive. Having someone close to me that suffers from Bipolar Disorder I found Margaret's journey to be a real eye opener. I hope going forward it helps me to be more patient and understanding to the plight of those inflicted with Bipolar Disorder. I enjoyed the content of the book but found it to be rather repetitive.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    Simply astonishing! I experienced so many emotions while reading this biography. Margaret Trudeau was honest, open and unselfish in this book. I can't stop thinking about her and her life experiences. Simply astonishing! I experienced so many emotions while reading this biography. Margaret Trudeau was honest, open and unselfish in this book. I can't stop thinking about her and her life experiences.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

    I had given this book to my mom as a gift many years ago and since she was purging her bookshelf, I took it home. I was too young to remember when Margaret and Pierre were married but I vaguely recall tidbits of her wild behaviour. A friend of mine's dad was also manic/depressive and was treated with lithium. I remember the stories he told me of his father's up and down behaviour but not really understanding it. This book helps me understand more fully what a person with bipolar deals with every I had given this book to my mom as a gift many years ago and since she was purging her bookshelf, I took it home. I was too young to remember when Margaret and Pierre were married but I vaguely recall tidbits of her wild behaviour. A friend of mine's dad was also manic/depressive and was treated with lithium. I remember the stories he told me of his father's up and down behaviour but not really understanding it. This book helps me understand more fully what a person with bipolar deals with every day. Pg 276 - "the root cause is emotional. The lower back, the neck are often places where this referred pain expresses itself, but the pain really starts in the brain. Her family doctor asked, "Margaret, what's really pinching you?" He knew that my pain had a source." Pg 291 - "Getting over it" was not the issue; but "getting on with it" was. There is no alternative to learning how to live with sadness and sorrow. What you need are the tools to help you do that. Pg 328 - Low self-esteem is the biggest disabler of people with mental illness, so volunteer work or paid work can help a person both gain confidence and get started. You need obligations and responsibilities. I enjoyed reading about Margaret's life, her marriage to the prime minister (he made her sign a prenup, telling her the papers were something else, and left her with nothing when he died), understanding the treatment options of bipolar, seeing what her son Justin's life was like (it's hard to see how he could truly understand a hardworking Canadian's day to day life). What is so sad is that she does not know the Lord God, will never have that peace that passes all understanding. She doesn't even pretend to want to know who God truly is. To me, that is the saddest part.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lise Pomerleau

    A brave woman telling of her past as an iconic figure in Canadian history. She made me Change My Mind about bi-polar disorder. I enjoyed reading about her past with Pierre Trudeau, as I was a child when it was all happening. I remember seeing her wedding dress in photos and thinking how beautiful she was. Hard to believe she made it herself. She and I both married at 19 and I chose a very similar wedding dress to hers. I also didn't realize that there was such an age gap between them, as Pierre A brave woman telling of her past as an iconic figure in Canadian history. She made me Change My Mind about bi-polar disorder. I enjoyed reading about her past with Pierre Trudeau, as I was a child when it was all happening. I remember seeing her wedding dress in photos and thinking how beautiful she was. Hard to believe she made it herself. She and I both married at 19 and I chose a very similar wedding dress to hers. I also didn't realize that there was such an age gap between them, as Pierre seemed so young back in the day. Doomed from the start. The public scrutiny would have been hard on anyone, let alone someone of her age and mental anguish. Today it would be even worse. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has a family member or friend whom they suspect of having this illness. The symptoms, consequences and treatments are very clearly described.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Elsie

    I was curious to learn the real history behind Margaret Trudeau. This book, one of her memoirs, helped me to do that. It's a very sad tale of a young woman with a big problem that goes undiagnosed and untreated for many years. As she moves through her privileged childhood, and complicated young adulthood she seems very alone, traveling a path not understood by her parents and siblings. If it weren't a true story, I would find her meeting and then involvement with Pierre Trudeau, a man a generati I was curious to learn the real history behind Margaret Trudeau. This book, one of her memoirs, helped me to do that. It's a very sad tale of a young woman with a big problem that goes undiagnosed and untreated for many years. As she moves through her privileged childhood, and complicated young adulthood she seems very alone, traveling a path not understood by her parents and siblings. If it weren't a true story, I would find her meeting and then involvement with Pierre Trudeau, a man a generation older than her and deeply involved in a traditional and proscribed culture, unbelievable. But, they did get together. They had some joy and a lot of sorrow. Her mental illness was the background for all of it. I felt this book was unrelentingly sad. She has survived, yes - but terribly scarred. I hope she has found some joy in her life today.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Len

    4.5 stars She was ridiculed and scorned, called a bad mother and a worse wife. She was everyone's favourite punching bag party girl. But now we know the truth. She was struggling, her whole, life with a very real and very difficult mental health disorder - Bipolar. To read now, from the other side, is to feel overwhelming compassion for Margaret Trudeau, through her 'far too young for her role' days to the broken marriages and manic shopping and hoarding to the tragedy of losing a child, all while tr 4.5 stars She was ridiculed and scorned, called a bad mother and a worse wife. She was everyone's favourite punching bag party girl. But now we know the truth. She was struggling, her whole, life with a very real and very difficult mental health disorder - Bipolar. To read now, from the other side, is to feel overwhelming compassion for Margaret Trudeau, through her 'far too young for her role' days to the broken marriages and manic shopping and hoarding to the tragedy of losing a child, all while trying to deal with unbalanced brain chemistry. That she has written Changing My Mind with such incredibly bare honesty, so surprisingly raw and unflinching, and yet still manages to express so much hopefulness is truly inspiring.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tgandco2

    For the first quarter of this book I did not think I was going to enjoy it but it definitely got better and overall I really enjoyed reading the book. It is very important to remember that the author has suffered from an untreated severe meant so illness for 30 years (most of the span of the book). If you don’t remember this you will become frustrated with what even the author acknowledges is inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour. The book gives great insight into the stigma, treatment and is For the first quarter of this book I did not think I was going to enjoy it but it definitely got better and overall I really enjoyed reading the book. It is very important to remember that the author has suffered from an untreated severe meant so illness for 30 years (most of the span of the book). If you don’t remember this you will become frustrated with what even the author acknowledges is inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour. The book gives great insight into the stigma, treatment and issues around mental health. Worth reading.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    As someone living with Bipolar II, Margaret Trudeau's book resonates with me. I was never married to a prime minister nor have I hung out with the Rolling Stones or partied at Studio 54, but so much of what she describes in her memoir echoes my own experience with the illness. This book is inspiring and I recommend it to anyone who is either themselves struggling with mental illness or has a loved one who is. Thank you, Mrs. Trudeau, for speaking out and for your courage. As someone living with Bipolar II, Margaret Trudeau's book resonates with me. I was never married to a prime minister nor have I hung out with the Rolling Stones or partied at Studio 54, but so much of what she describes in her memoir echoes my own experience with the illness. This book is inspiring and I recommend it to anyone who is either themselves struggling with mental illness or has a loved one who is. Thank you, Mrs. Trudeau, for speaking out and for your courage.

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