A couple weeks ago, I was on a roll reading memoirs about mental health. I started with Susan Cahalan’s Brain on Fire, which pricked my interested, then picked up Madness by Marya Hornbacher, which was absorbing though sometimes unsettling, and moved on to Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson, which was totally hilarious.
“In Furiously Happy, a humor memoir tinged with just enough tragedy and pathos to make it worthwhile, Jenny Lawson examines her own experience with severe depression and a host of other conditions, and explains how it has led her to live life to the fullest.” (Goodreads)
I cut that Goodreads summary short because that’s what the book’s about and all you need to know going in. You don’t even need to read the rest of my review, unless you’re really interested in knowing what I thought of the book, because it’s best to just hop right in. Trust me, you’ll enjoy it.
When Marya Hornbacher published her first book, Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia, she did not yet have the piece of shattering knowledge that would finally make sense of the chaos of her life. At age twenty-four, Hornbacher was diagnosed with Type I rapid-cycle bipolar, the most severe form of bipolar disorder.
In Madness, in her trademark wry and utterly self-revealing voice, Hornbacher tells her new story. Through scenes of astonishing visceral and emotional power, she takes us inside her own desperate attempts to counteract violently careening mood swings by self-starvation, substance abuse, numbing sex, and self-mutilation. How Hornbacher fights her way up from a madness that all but destroys her, and what it is like to live in a difficult and sometimes beautiful life and marriage — where bipolar always beckons — is at the center of this brave and heart-stopping memoir.
Madness delivers the revelation that Hornbacher is not alone: millions of people in America today are struggling with a variety of disorders that may disguise their bipolar disease. And Hornbacher’s fiercely self-aware portrait of her own bipolar as early as age four will powerfully change, too, the current debate on whether bipolar in children actually exists. (Goodreads)
It’s been such a long time since I’ve done a book review that I feel as if I’ve forgotten how to write one.
“Where most children are proof of their parents’ love, I was the proof of their criminality.”
I picked up Born a Crime in March and read it sporadically until I got hooked and completed it in a few days last month. I don’t often read celebrity bios, but this one caught my attention because there was a lot of buzz about it and it was featured in the New York Times Books section. Plus, Trevor Noah is cute. His winking dimples compelled me to read his book.
Noah is a comedian and the host of the Daily Show, a satirical news talk show that airs on Comedy Central. I hardly watch the show and haven’t seen it since Noah took over from its previous host Jon Stewart, but I’ve heard it’s great. Prior to the Daily Show, I did not know of Trevor Noah. The few times I’ve heard him speak, I assumed he was British. I never would have guessed that he’s from South Africa, which I learned by reading reviews of Born a Crime.