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gillian marchenko

Author and Speaker



Still Life 5 (1)

Published in 2016 with InterVarsity Press

Editorial Reviews about Still Life, A Memoir

Gillian has received accolades for her second memoir from various authors and advocates in the mental health community. Read on to learn more about the book.

“Life with depression is still life, which means beauty and dignity are still found even when not felt. Life with depression is also a still life, a straightforward painting depicting commonplace objects, something that causes us to stop, look and listen, and if we do, to possibly realize that this ordinary object is infused with the beauty of God. Marchenko’s book has been a still life for me, allowing me to stop and study the intricacies of a life with depression, and in doing so, to begin to see my own areas of darkness as places capable of framing a masterpiece.” (Beth Slevcove, author of Broken Hallelujahs)

“Over the years I’ve learned much from Gillian Marchenko about what it’s like to live and parent through clinical depression. I’m so glad others will now be able to learn from her in her newest memoir, Still Life. With her signature honesty and real-life faith, Gillian reminds us that God meets us in the hard, often debilitating places. For those who suffer from depression or those who love others that do, this book is a treasured story that articulates life and faith in the midst of this disease. You won’t be sorry you’ve read it.” (Alexandra Kuykendall, author of Loving My Actual Life and The Artist’s Daughter)

“In this intimate memoir, Gillian Marchenko exposes her deepest, most painful struggles with humor and grace. More than a story of acceptance, compassion and hope; this book is a celebration of life.” (Kelley Clink, author of A Different Kind of Same)

“With unflinching honesty, Gillian Marchenko holds up a mirror to her own clinical depression and in doing so gives language and definition to something that often feels vague and dark. A must-read for anyone trying to understand their depressed spouse, friend, family member . . . or self.” (Addie Zierman, author of When We Were on Fire and Night Driving)

Still Life is a remarkably authentic story of perseverance and faithfulness. Gillian Marchenko’s candor in sharing her experience with depression will be of great comfort to many who have bought into the falsehood that their suffering has resulted from a lack of faith. Gillian demonstrates how it is possible to faithfully fulfill God’s purpose in life while experiencing the effects of a chronic illness that made getting out of bed a nearly insurmountable challenge on all too many days. Her authenticity in sharing her experiences offers encouragement and true hope to many who identify with her story.” (Stephen Grcevich, founder and director of strategic initiatives, Key Ministry)

“Gillian Marchenko generously lets us know her and walk her journey, and in the process we grow to love her. You won’t find pat answers or bland reassurances here; you’ll find a real and courageous woman, a serious fight with mental illness and faith-fueled hope. If you live with depression or care about someone who does, you must read this book.” (Amy Simpson, author of Troubled Minds and Anxious)

“If you’ve never struggled with depression but want to know what it’s like, Still Life paints an accurate picture. If you have lived on that fearful ledge called depression, you’ll find an ally in Gillian Marchenko. With heartfelt honesty, Marchenko describes life with double depression (Major Depressive Disorder and Dysthymia). In my dozen years as a licensed professional counselor, I’ve never read a more accurate book about depression and the toll it takes on the one who suffers, as well the impact on those closest to the sufferer. This book holds no cure, no magic wand, but it does extend hope.” (Lucille Zimmerman, LPC, author of Renewed: Finding Your Inner Happy in an Overwhelmed World)

Buy Still Life at InterVarsity Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and bookstores across the country.

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Published in 2013 with T. S. Poetry Press

Editorial Reviews about Sun Shine Down, A Memoir

Stunning memoir. A must-read for parents of children with special needs, but anyone would do well to immerse themselves in Marchenko’s story.
—Suzanne Kamata, editor of the anthology Love You to Pieces: Creative Writers on Raising a Child with Special Needs

Shimmering beauty, powerful. Marchenko brought me to new levels of awareness regarding the struggles of a special needs family.
—Bill Giovannetti, author of Secrets to a Happy Life

Honest, real, raw—Sun Shine Down is a page-turner with an important message.
—Mary E. DeMuth, author of The Wall Around Your Heart

Incredibly moving, beautifully written. Captivates readers from the very beginning. Packed with authenticity and raw emotion, Marchenko invites us to witness her incredible journey in parenting a special needs child.
—Jenny Lee Sulpizio, author of Confessions of a Wonder Woman Wannabe

This book is as refreshing as it is bold. Strong new voice in a sea of mediocre non-fiction.
—Kim de Blecourt, author of Until We All Come Home: A Harrowing Journey, a Mother’s Courage, a Race to Freedom

A heart-wrenching story of mothering through the unexpected—and the personal transformation that comes from parenting a child that is different than you planned.
—Alexandra Kuykendall, author of The Artist’s Daughter: A Memoir; Leader and Mom Content Editor, MOPS International (Mothers of Preschoolers)

From the very first page, Marchenko tugs the heartstrings of anyone who has ever experienced—or wanted to experience—parenthood, leaving us with a broadened view of the universe and a deeper understanding of what it really means to love one another. Julie Cantrell, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Into the Free

Gillian Marchenko’s Sun Shine Down is a moving account of the birth of her third daughter, Polina. She describes her depression after Polly’s birth and her own difficulty in loving her child. Beautifully written, this memoir is hopeful without being glib.” —Susan Olasky, World magazine

Buy Sun Shine Down on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Various buzz words typically plant children with disabilities into certain categories in the special needs world. High functioning, severe delay, semi-independent, low functioning, mild. A spectrum of functionality exists for our kids, whether we like it or not.

Gillian Marchenko is a mother to two girls with Down syndrome, Polly and Evangeline, who are on different paths of development. One could say they are opposites on the spectrum. Polly, talkative and gregarious, is educated in an inclusive classroom and Evangeline, non-verbal and often disengaged from her surroundings, is placed in a special education school. Their day-to-day ‘functionality’ is quite different from one another.

This eBook, a compilation of some of Gillian’s favorite previously published blog posts from 2007 until 2014, explores Polly and Evangeline’s differences and similarities, both positive and negative, and gently suggests that perhaps a child’s worth is not indicated by where he or she falls on the ‘spectrum.’

Throughout this compilation, Gillian begins to understand that she, too, exists on a spectrum. She moves up around the spectrum often; she’s a good mom and a bad mom. She’s sad that Down syndrome makes some things difficult for her girls. She loves the attributes they possess that may not exist without an extra chromosome. She’s a discouraged mom. She’s a hopeful mom.

In PULLING TO STAND, Gillian begins to understand that her girls are different and her girls are the same. Polly is Polly. Evangeline is Evangeline. And Gillian is a special needs mom. But the most important word in that description for her is “mom.”

Buy on Amazon for your Kindle.