Changing My Mind

Changing My Mind

Book - 2010
Average Rating:
Rate this:

In this deeply moving memoir, Margaret Trudeau speaks with candour and insight about the illness that silently shaped her life -- a life lived often in turbulence and in the public's fascination. Plagued since childhood by extreme moods, Margaret was ill-prepared for the high-profile role into which she was cast at age twenty-two, as Canada's youngest first lady. Captivated by her high spirits, youth and beauty, Canadians fell in love with Margaret, just as they had with her charismatic husband, Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, three years earlier. When their first son, Justin, was born on Christmas Day and their second son, Sacha, on the same day two years later, this couple seemed almost enchanted.

But away from the cameras and the public appearances, and increasingly isolated at 24 Sussex Drive, Margaret struggled with a growing depression offset by bouts of mania. Her behaviour seemed inexplicable to many -- including to herself -- and two years after the birth of their third son, Michel, the marriage broke down. Gradually, though, a fragile stability took hold, as Margaret found happiness in work as a photographer and in her marriage to Fried Kemper. But the tragic death of Michel Trudeau, closely followed by Pierre Trudeau's own passing, caused her to spiral into suicidal depression. Finally accepting the diagnosis of bipolar, she sought medical treatment.

Under intense international scrutiny, Margaret Trudeau has survived remarkable highs and devastating lows. Since regaining control of her life, she has brought her formidable passion to helping others, be they Canadians suffering from mental illness or families living without access to water half a world away. A recipient of the Society of Biological Psychiatry Humanitarian Award, she now offers her journey of recovery, acceptance and hope, and generously shares with us many previously unreleased photos, in one of the most important memoirs to come out of this country

Publisher: Toronto : HarperCollins Canada, c2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9781554685387
Branch Call Number: 921 TRU
Characteristics: 382 p., [48] p. of plates : ill. (some col.), ports. ; 24 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Sep 18, 2018

Loved this book.
It taught me a lot about mental illness and bipolar.
Interesting story about her marriage to Pierre Trudeau, being a wife, mom, and than loosing her son Michael in a skiing accident.
Great book to read if you have a mental illness, or if you know someone who does.

Oct 26, 2015

Thank you, Margaret! I have Bipolar Disorder; this is one of the best books about our disorder I've read. You gave me the courage to ask my sons for help managing my finances. At 63 years of age, our lives have many parallels.
Comments by psychiatrists most insightful.

ChristchurchLib Jun 18, 2013

"Former Canadian first lady Margaret Trudeau recounts her lifelong struggle with manic-depressive illness. Includes essays by three mental health professionals, who explore some of the treatments available to patients today." June 2013 Biography and Memoir newsletter

May 05, 2013

Excellent read! Valuable insight into the experience of someone with bipolar disorder that went untreated for many years. These personal accounts are so helpful to raise awareness and increase people's underdstanding of mental illness. Also nice romp through the years when Ms. Trudeau was the PM's wife and various times she made the news. Raising 5 children comes across as her proudest accomplishment.

Jul 28, 2012

As expected.

Jul 17, 2012

I picked this up to challenge my idea of who this woman is, having grown up with her various experiences as reported in the media. While she does take responsibility for her own actions, she still takes some seemingly unfair shots at the Prime Minister and the media; as a politician's daughter, she did have some idea of what she was doing when she married him. Her experiences in the mental health system are an example of what poor availabilities there are, even for someone with the personal, financial and time resources to seek out the best possible treatment. I applaud her intent to de-stigmatize mental illness, recognize its prevalence in society, and lobby for better choices. The book was interesting enough to keep my attention to the end, which was a bit surprising; the use of a ghostwriter or a co-author would have been an improvement.

Jun 19, 2012

Thanks for sharing and being so honest. You are an amazing woman. Well written and wonderful pictures.

May 06, 2011

Anyone having dealt with mental illness should read this candid biography by Ms. Trudeau. Speaking honestly and openly, she takes us into the greatest depths of her illness. This piece, which is a quick read, also gives the reader hope that illnesses such as bipolar disorder can be monitored and controlled, thus giving the person at odds with it a life very much worth living. I give it a 10.

Feb 22, 2011

Very interesting book detailing her battle with depression and the corresponding highs which she experienced. She's certainly lived an interesting life with many challenges, and this book helps with one's understanding of how tough it can be living life in the public eye and how difficult what seems to be a 'charmed' life can actually be. For the most part, she gives a very balanced account without laying easy blame on anyone else and that's refreshing. It left me with a lot more compassion for her, as well as a healthy respect for the love she has for her children and how they grew into responsible adults.

Nov 21, 2010

quite gripping account of bipolar..sometimes too much but still kept me reading..especially if you lived through that era in Ottawa!

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

Sep 18, 2018

runningbeat thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at RPL

To Top