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Out of the Blue

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  362 ratings  ·  81 reviews
At the height of her career in journalism, Jan Wong's world came crashing down. A story she wrote on a school shooting sparked a violent backlash, including death threats. Her newspaper failed to stand by her, and for the first time in her life she spiraled into clinical depression. She found herself unable to write, but the paper's management thought she was feigning ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published by Doubleday Canada (first published May 5th 2012)
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May 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jan Wong tells her story about her spiral into a major depression. She delves into her clinical depression and what it did to her and her family and she also tells about how her employer and their insurance company denied her benefits and denied her dignity while she was sick. She names names and tells it just like it is. This is a brave memoir that shows the good, the bad and the ugly of mental illness and also informs the reader about how so many Canadians suffer every year. She was lucky to ...more
Steven Langdon
Jun 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: super
Jan Wong is a remarkable journalist and writer, with a sharp-edged style and an eye for detail, who has provided skilled insights from China and dramatic perspectives on the different dimensions of life in Toronto. As she says of herself, she has always been a "tough cookie," who made her work her life, and believed in her employer, the Globe and Mail.

Then an article she wrote on the 2007 Dawson College killings in Montreal, fully vetted by her editors, spurred high-profile criticism, vicious
Ellen Roseman
May 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Wong's story of workplace depression wasn't easy to write. The author recalls her two years spent in constant tears, irrational anger, extreme sensitivity to personal slights, overspending, even temporary deafness. It wasn't easy to publish either, until she did it herself. I found it a quick, intense read, a fight by a workaholic to reclaim her identity after her employer cuts her sick pay and eventually fires her. She finds self-knowledge and a new career at the end and even gets an invitation ...more
Apr 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't put this book down; it made me laugh, but it also shed light and understanding on an important issue - workplace depression. Out of the Blue is written with much clarity, and is well-researched with historical accounts of societal attitudes, symptoms and treatments. Her story will take you on a roller coaster ride about her experience with the disease. I am glad that Jan Wong shared her story.
Jul 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
I'm partway through this book but have to put it back on the shelf for a little while. It's really, really good - I so admire Jan Wong as a writer and this is a gripping, intimate book - but it's a bit too much while dealing with stress, anxiety. I need an escape, not more t worry about. I'll give this another go in a few weeks. (June 2012)


What a book! Jan Wong is a gifted writer, a passionate journalist with tremendous determination and
Janet Sketchley
This book's subtitle says it all: "A memoir of workplace depression, recovery, redemption, and, yes, happiness."

Jan Wong was an award-winning journalist and best-selling author, on staff at the Toronto Globe and Mail, one of Canada's largest newspapers. She was tough, focused, and unstoppable. Until national backlash to one of her articles triggered death threats and caused the paper to withdraw its support (despite having approved the story in the first place).

I love the title of this book,
Vanessa Fox
Sep 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book had honest insights, even as she was an unreliable narrator. The most obvious loss of perspective came when she was trying to justify spending so much money on vacation in NY as a way to escape her anxiety (which she didn't need to justify). On the one hand, she describes how the anxiety overwhelmed her brain to the point that she got lost driving home. On the other hand, she suggests that others who suffer from anxiety as she did but don't have the extra money to spend on the way she ...more
Barbara Spurll
Nov 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jan Wong wrote and self published this memoir about her work related depression brought on by a lengthy battle with The Globe and Mail after her coverage of the 2006 Dawson College shootings in Montreal.
Here's a quote from the book:
"He handed me a cup of milky tea and settled into his armchair. He listened intently while I told him about the school shooting,the backlash and my depression. "The business is in a decline," he said in his distinctive gravelly voice. "It's struggling. The last thing
Jun 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
Can't recommend this book enough. I found it a difficult read personally, because Wong is talking about her own struggles with depression, and I found it eerily painful and familiar, as I have struggled with depression myself.

I'm not sure how someone can read this book and not be pissed off. I could relate to a lot of her story, and was very angry at her employer for not noticing or acknowledging what was happening to her.

I found that I related to her story both as a journalist, and as a
Aug 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've always been a big of fan of Jan Wong's writing. The book details Jan's drop into severe depression, and then details her redemption and her recovery. Despite what you may or may not think of her writing on Quebec that eventually forced her out of her job at the Globe, this story is a heartwarming, humble story of a broken woman and how she found her way again. Some of the more technical/medical/science stuff is a bit drawn out for my taste, but by reading this book, I realized how little I ...more
Jan 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book. Jan Wong is a superb journalist and a superb writer. Heck, I even loved her scathing, 'Lunch with Jan' column in the Globe and Mail. Her intelligence just oozes out of every pore of this book.
After a disturbing incident at work, she suffers with crippling depression. Her employer, The Globe and Mail, not only has no patience with her but eventually fires her. She had to publish the book herself after a major publisher backed out, fearing retribution. She masterfully describes
Brian Ross
Dec 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Excellent book on a difficult subject. Fascinating view into the world of depression; also a reminder that despite some basic commonalities each experience is unique. Jan Wong is brutally honest and yet manages to keep the story from being maudlin. Well done.
Joan Fair
Jul 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Can you imagine that Jan Wong is now being sued by the Globe by telling this devastating story!
Beverly Akerman
Jul 19, 2012 rated it liked it
This is part of my just published online review at The Rover:

Out of the Blue, by Jan Wong, published by Jan Wong
by Beverly Akerman

If a mechanic replaces your winter tires and scrimps on tightening the lug nuts, the consequences — a wheel popping off on the highway — can be disastrous. If a doctor leaves a surgical instrument behind, misreads a scan, or overlooks the follow-up test result, a patient can wind up seriously injured, even dead. So
Johanna Zanten
Apr 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Review of OUT OF THE BLUE, by Jan Wong

The subtitle is: A Memoir of Workplace Depression, Recovery, Redemption and Yes, Happiness

As a person with first hand experience with a bout of mental illness last year, I was curious about journalist Jan Wong’s autobiographical book about her experiences. Mental illness is a rather common prevalence: 1 in 5 people will have it. Jan Wong’s battle with depression was extended and aggravated by her employer’s denial of short-term illness benefits, as the
Paula Dembeck
May 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wong was a hard nosed investigative journalist who worked for the Globe and Mail for decades until she spiraled into a clinical depression in 2006. This is the story of her difficult struggle with her illness and her long road to recovery.

It all began when Wong wrote an article on the shooting at Dawson College in Montreal, Quebec. In that article she noted how the shooter as well as the shooters at the Ecole Polytechnique and Concordia in previous years, were all immigrants. Her narrative
Sep 18, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have mixed feelings after reading this book. It is a testimonial of the award-winning and veteran Globe and Mail reporter Jan Wong, her account of the injustice done to her by the newspaper for which she had worked for twenty years. After publishing her Dawson College shooting feature article in 2006, unexpected backlashes inundated The Globe and the reporter and her family, including death threats to Wong. The following two years brought her depression and the destruction of a journalism ...more
Madeleine Whitfield
Nov 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a story of one woman's fight with a powerful corporation--The Globe and Mail newspaper; actually two powerful corporations if you include ManuLife, the insurer who tried not to insure! It's almost kafkaesque in the the machinations big corporations will apparently involve themselves in to avoid doing the right thing. The trouble all started with an article Ms Wong wrote when she was one of the top reporters at the Globe. In it Ms Wong wrote about three mass shootings in Quebec and ...more
Jun 18, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to read this book quickly as many are on hold for it at my library. If you are feeling depressed, seek help as soon as possible by contacting your family doctor, calling a crisis line, or work support program. You are not alone.

This memoir follows the author and her battle of depression whilst employed as a journalist with the Globe and Mail. Jan receives a death threat following publication of one of her stories and plunges into deep depression and terror. Life with her husband and two
Oct 25, 2012 rated it liked it
Former journalist at The Globe and Mail Jan Wong recounts her battle with workplace depression. She shares her symptoms and the lack of assistance for and awareness of her illness from her employer as well as what effect her depression had on her family.

The reaction to an article she wrote and what became known as 'L'Affaire Wong' led to her depression. Jan reported on the Dawson College shooting in 2006, her article for the Globe used a term that was considered prejudiced in it's use towards
Stacy Scott
Sep 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed Out of the Blue and in particular the focus on the workplace and how it handles depression. Suffering from depression I was naive to believe that my HR department would be a place of support and assistance. Reading Jan's story made me feel less alone and less ashamed that I was off work for being sick. I did have a hard time with the fact that money wasn't a huge issue for her as it is for so many other people - she was able to stand her ground firmly when dealing with her privacy ...more
Oct 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I have nothing but admiration and respect for Jan Wong’s warrior spirit in this David & Goliath memoir of workplace depression. It was a page turner not only for her juicy blow by blow personal account, but for her research into depression and its treatment – both statistical/scientific, and anecdotal first person accounts of other writers. In the end her philosophic perspective was that this negative experience forced her to take a realistic inventory of her life to be a better person, and ...more
Jun 10, 2012 added it
Shelves: read2012
If you want to learn about depression that seems irrational, that doesn't have a no-brainer cause like loss of a loved one or medical problems, this is a fine book to read. Veteran reporter Jan Wong wrote a controversial story about a school shooting for the Globe & Mail. It actually had some unsupported opinion in the middle of it, but editors approved the idea and the article. The public reacted with hate mail, politicians denounced Wong, and the paper mostly failed to support her. She ...more
Jun 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Jan Wong,s fall into depression occurred following a column she wrote that was published in the Globe and Mail, a Toronto newspaper. Labeling the perpetrator of a school shooting in Quebec as a non "pure laine" catapulted her into a maelstrom of abuse: death threats, racial attacks on herself and her family, condemnation of her from politicians in the Canadian parliament. Most damaging of all, her newspaper failed to back her, and after the onset of a mde (major depressive episode), denied her ...more
Apr 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
A great example of investigative journalism as Wong describes the way in which she gathered info for a story, followed the usual processes, and then was basically dumped by her newspaper(the Globe & Mail).

I loved the fact that she drove everyone crazy by refusing to sign gag orders (there's a move now to make them illegal especially in settlements around child abuse, etc.) and then went on to self-publish the book because Doubleday chickened out.

The trouble with the book is that Wong
Heather Anne
Jun 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
An interesting memoir of workplace depression (and incidentally Canadian journalism). Jan Wong, a successful and sometimes controversial journalist, told the story of how she wrote an article for a newspaper, it caused a backlash, and how the newspaper did not back her. Then she became depressed and fought a legal battle with her employer, because they (or the insurance company) did not believe she was depressed (or just did not want to pay for their medical obligations--perhaps they mistakenly ...more
Leanne Fournier
Jan 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful book. I'm not usually unable to put a book of non-fiction down ( I usually have to break it up with some fiction) but I absolutely couldn't put this one down. What a gift to have a storyteller of this caliber share her experience of depression in the workplace. I could feel her pain and her shame, her family felt real to me, I could feel all of their emotions too. Most of of all her fortitude in fighting the gag order is beyond commendable, a gift for anyone going through a ...more
Sep 14, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting read. The author describes her experience with workplace depression (and bullying) with alarming level of honesty. It's shocking how Globe and Mail treated her. It's nothing short of severe bullying and comes close to invasion of her rights. Because she's very different from me (or so I think), I found it hard to relate to her personally. So I found it hard to care about her as much as someone more tender for the lack of a better word. Yet I felt her rage. What they did to her was ...more
Sep 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookclub, ebook

We met on Sept 24th to discuss Jan Wong's "Out of the Blue" which describes her experience with workplace depression. The group gave mostly thumbs up. We agreed that it was a brave book to write, because of the intimate details she shared with readers. Those in the group who have had experience with clinical depression commented on their shared experience with Jan and validated much of what Jan described as being common features of depression. Those who hadn't had first hand experience felt
Jun 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
As a student currently in the throws of depression and anxiety, I found this book really spoke to me. Jan Wong is witty and funny, in spite of discussing a painful and difficult time in her life. Anyone who has not experienced mental illness will get an excellent understanding of what it feels like to be sick in this way, and anyone who has will identify with the ups and downs of recovery. It does not speak highly of society's views of mental illness, but I hope that a book like this written by ...more
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Jan Wong was the much-acclaimed Beijing correspondent for The Globe and Mail from 1988 to 1994. She is a graduate of McGill University, Beijing University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She is the recipient of a (US) George Polk Award, the New England Women’s Press Association Newswoman of the Year Award, the (Canadian) National Newspaper Award and a Lowell Thomas ...more
“…depressive realism. Depression is not the near death experience described by so many, [Kayla Dunn] suggests, but a rebirth in which the new psyche has removed self-delusion. Compared with so-called healthy individuals, depressives are more realistic in their worldview.” 4 likes
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