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Book 143: Hurry Down Sunshine by Michael Greenberg

Book 143: Hurry Down Sunshine: a Father's Memoir of Love and Madness
Author: Michael Greenberg, 2008.
Genre: Non-Fiction. Mental Illness.
Other Details: Hardback. 236 pages.

“I feel like I’m travelling and travelling with nowhere to go back to”, she said in a moment of lucidity while hurtling away toward some place I could not dream of or imagine. I wanted to grab her and bring her back, but there was no turning back.

This memoir, written by New York novelist Michael Greenberg, chronicles his 15-year old daughter's acute psychotic episode during the summer of 1996.

At first he attributes Sally's behaviour to a typical teenage spell but as it becomes progressively bizarre he is urged by his wife's therapist to take her to an emergency room. From there Sally is quickly admitted to a psychiatric hospital and Michael and those close to him have to come to terms with Sally's condition. She is diagnosed as bi-polar, which in her case presented at a young age, and for a time is heavily medicated. Once released from hospital Sally begins the slow process of reclaiming her life with the assistance of her family and mental health professionals.

Alongside Sally's story, Greenberg also offers medical and literary perspectives on mental illness. He details how psychotropic drugs work and even offers his own account of their effects when he takes Sally's medication in order to understand what she is experiencing.

I found this a well-written, powerful and very honest account.
Tags: drugs, memoir, mental health
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