When O.J. Simpson was arrested for the double-homicide of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman in June 1994, the entire world became captivated by the ensuing drama and stage show-like atmosphere that the “Trial of the Century” would produce. As the general public became more and more engrossed in the daily O.J. spectacle, the Brown and Goldman families viewed the unfolding events through more personal and emotional lenses.
Nicole Brown’s youngest sister Tanya, 24 at the time of the murders, was shielded by her family from the abuse Nicole reportedly suffered at the hands of her celebrity athlete husband during the couple’s seven-year marriage – much of which was regurgitated during Simpson’s high-profile trial.
In her 2014 memoir, Finding Peace Amid the Chaos: My Escape From Depression and Suicide, Brown discusses her close relationship with Simpson – whom she knew since childhood as a result of the ex-football star’s relationship with Nicole – and the deep betrayal she felt after concluding that Simpson was responsible for her sister’s death.
Finding Peace Amid the Chaos is far more than another O.J.-based memoir, however. Much of the book documents Brown’s struggle with mental illness, which reached a climax in 2004 and caused her seek treatment, beginning with a ten-day stay in a hospital for psychiatric care and later as an out-patient. Brown shares not only her personal thoughts and rollercoaster of emotions at this time, but also includes journal entries throughout the book penned during her hospital visit and following her release.
Brown, now a professional keynote speaker and certified life coach, uses the closing chapters of Finding Peace Amid the Chaos to offer advice to others contending with stress and mental illness. Undoubtedly stemming from her own experiences, Brown’s words are laced with knowledge and understanding. In the book, Brown also recognizes the slowly eroding but still present stigma surrounding mental health issues and even admits to her own ignorance on the largely taboo subject prior to 2004.
(Special thanks to Lois Qualben at Langmarc Publishing)