Hitchhiking to Madness: A Memoir by Carol Hamilton
(Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs)
Hitchhiking to Madness will leave you speechless. It is such an awe-inspiring, complicated tale and at times it is so rich with lasting lessons that you must remind yourself that it is a true story. While covering pertinent social themes and thoughtful insight on the horrors of mental illness, Dr. Carol Hamilton chronicles a life journey like no other.
Told with courage and grace, Dr. Hamilton’s memoir tracks her 1970s journey from church excommunication to hitchhiking across America, witnessing her husband’s descent into madness, and her eventual transformation into a celebrated physician. The saga begins as Dr. Hamilton advocates for a more accepting form of Christianity. As a result, she is banished from her church. This results in her deciding to embark on an odyssey across America with her young husband. At that moment, her life changed forever.
Through humor and horror, she explores life on the road, the terrifying descent of her husband into madness, the sexual assault she endures, and his attempt to murder her and their unborn child. During this time of crisis and fear, Dr. Hamilton decides to trust in herself, drawing strength from the support of friends and family – eventually severing the marital bond. As the memoir progresses, she navigates through a sea of post-trauma emotions and outlines her journey to becoming a physician at a time when female doctors were a rarity. Dr. Hamilton then concludes the memoir with thoughtful insights on mental illness and encourages readers to find courage in their unplanned detours – as it’s never too late to redirect your path.
This book is an expression of extraordinary resilience, courage, and a willingness to heal. It is one of those memoirs that stops you dead in your tracks – and inspires you to think about your own life journey towards self-discovery. Although Dr. Hamilton underwent a fascinating, frightening, and unique experience – I found the book to be beautifully relatable. Every one of us journeys through life and confronts hardships and struggle. This can manifest in many forms – mental illness, physical illness, or trauma, for example. But at the end of the day, the darkest moments provide an opportunity for us to show strength, character, and understand who we are meant to be. This is a book that everyone needs to read.