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Madness: A Bipolar Life Hardcover – Apr 9 2008

7 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (April 9 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618754458
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618754458
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.3 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #367,090 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Hornbacher, who detailed her struggle with bulimia and anorexia in Wasted, now shares the story of her lifelong battle with mental illness, finally diagnosed as rapid cycling type 1 bipolar disorder. Even as a toddler, Hornbacher couldn't sleep at night and jabbered endlessly, trying to talk her parents into going outside to play in the dark. Other schoolchildren called her crazy. When she was just 10, she discovered alcohol was a good mood stabilizer; by age 14, she was trading sex for pills. In her late teens, her eating disorder landed her in the hospital, followed by another body obsession, cutting. An alcoholic by this point, she was alternating between mania and depression, with frequent hospitalizations. Her doctor explained that not only did the alcohol block her medications, it was up to her to control her mental illness, which would always be with her. This truth didn't sink in for a long, long time, but when it did, she had a chance for a life outside her local hospital's psychiatric unit. Hornbacher ends on a cautiously optimistic note—she knows she'll never lead a normal life, but maybe she could live with the life she does have. Although painfully self-absorbed, Hornbacher will touch a nerve with readers struggling to cope with mental illness. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


'A brave and engagingly entertaining survivor. The value of "Madness" is its first-hand description of bipolarity.' John Sutherland, Financial Times 'A writer's exploration of the mental illness that has defined and at times destroyed her life. "Madness: A Bipolar Life" makes the starkest fact about bipolar disorder painfully clear.' Sara Keating, Sunday Business Post 'Unsettling, moving, "Madness: A Bipolar Life" is a vivid look into the whirling highs and horrible lows of a life lived with mental illness'. The Gloss magazine 'Devastatingly frank'. Stella magazine --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. Tremblay on July 16 2010
Format: Paperback
This was an excellent book that really provides insight into what's going on inside the mind of someone with mental illness. It puts into context the behaviours I've seen in others with bipolar disorder. I had also read Marya's first book, Wasted, and was equally impressed. Highly recommend both books!
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Not only is this book well-written (a rarity in itself) but Ms Hornbacher takes the reader deep inside the reality of her particular expression of BPD. Her immense courage at even sharing her journey thus far, and in such a vulnerable, honest, and rawly personal way, is astonishing. The capacity to write insightfully and cogently from within her mental illness is a virtual miracle. It gives us pause when weighing the blessing vs the horror of a disease which continues to be widely ill- or misunderstood. Certainly WE are blessed to have this important contribution to the literature.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sharon U on Oct. 4 2008
Format: Hardcover
5 stars if you can relate to BD and alcoholism.
4 stars if only one or the other.
Descriptions are so vivid you can almost taste it.
The best memoir I've ever read, though "Girl, Interrupted" (much better than the movie, BTW) is a close 2nd
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By Rod benoit on Jan. 3 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A must read for anyone who has had to try to understand the challenges faced by someone who has bipolar disorder.
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