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It is a I am a teacher of students who have been diagnosed as bipolar. It is a must-read for anyone who wants to honestly understand this illness and it's effects. As a personal aside, I also grew up going to Peniel, and the author's depiction of the camp is every bit what I remember it to be, down to the songs sung at the Olive Yard, in a much more innocent time.

I was curious to read this book as the author and his siblings were former students of mine. The style is very poetic, yet very raw. He masterfully describes what it is like to live with bipolar disorder - and further to be surrounded by loved ones with the disorder. David's life is not one that any of us would want to live, but I found him to be a compassionate individual with a wonderful heart and an astoundingly clear knowledge of his issues. He fights bravely, if not always wisely, against h I was curious to read this book as the author and his siblings were former students of mine.

He fights bravely, if not always wisely, against his demons. I would certainly recommend this book to all, but especially to those with a relative or friend with bipolar disorder. It will open your eyes and touch your heart. Grade: A Feb 09, Jenn rated it really liked it. My mother worked at the seminary where Richard Lovelace was a professor and Jonathan was a grade ahead of me. When I was a junior in high school, the grapevine reported that Jon Lovelace had to be taken away because of a "chemical imbalance". I remember his best friend being hounded on the bus for having a "nutcase" for a friend.

So, finding this book was amazing since everything hapened in a time where no one talked op When I was growing up in Hamilton MA, the Lovelace family was always around. So, finding this book was amazing since everything hapened in a time where no one talked openly about bipolar disorder, especially in blue-blooded Hamilton. I've run into David twice out in Western MA and he was really nice to talk to and his bookstore, The Montague Bookmill, is really cool.

May 26, shannon madden rated it liked it. The memoir was more focused on the author himself, but of course with family anecdotes tied in. The stories managed to be humorous despite their heaviness and tragedy - a combination that reminded me of the tone of The Glass Castle. I was interested in reading this because of my own family's experiences with bipolar disorder.

Although my family as a whole and family members' individual experiences were quite different from those described by Lovelace, I'm glad I read this. Lovelace insight blen The memoir was more focused on the author himself, but of course with family anecdotes tied in. Lovelace insight blends personal experience with an educated understanding of the disease, and I found that worthwhile.

Nov 10, Nancy rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Anyone with Bipolar Illness, or who knows someone with it. Absolutely the very best book I have ever read about bipolar illness. Most books are either full of statistics or unrealistic expectations of recovery or disappointment. This is the only book I have read that actually deals with the feelings of the author, who lives in a family that suffers from multiple bipolar illnesses including his own.

How he manages to deal with both his father and mother's symptoms, as well as his own and later on, his younger brother's, is a measure of the author's str Absolutely the very best book I have ever read about bipolar illness. How he manages to deal with both his father and mother's symptoms, as well as his own and later on, his younger brother's, is a measure of the author's strength of character, compassion, and sense of humor. I would recommend this book to anyone who has had anything to do with bipolar illness, or is interested in learning what people with this mental illness go through.

It is a wonderful book, full of hope. Sep 03, David rated it it was amazing. May be biased - I was one of David's "three friends" mentioned on page 85 - but this is a wonderfully written heartfelt memoir. And it explains a lot about those halcyon days in s Hamilton, MA, in the shade Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary; and what all happened to David and his oft kooky and storied family after we'd lost touch - quite an odyssey he's had. Great spot on descriptions of our adopted friend "William Beck" a pseudonym, no doubt a prophylactic insisted upon by the publishe May be biased - I was one of David's "three friends" mentioned on page 85 - but this is a wonderfully written heartfelt memoir.

Great spot on descriptions of our adopted friend "William Beck" a pseudonym, no doubt a prophylactic insisted upon by the publisher's legal department Jan 04, Donovan rated it it was amazing Shelves: memoirs. One of the best memoirs I've read in a while, David writes with humor, insight and transparency. He shares his own manic life and for those of us who have had experienced our own "craziness" in our families, it feels good to know we are not alone.

Jan 03, Tobias rated it it was amazing. Lovely book painting a picture of highs and lows - inner realms and outer. I can relate having a bi-polar parent. View 2 comments. This memoir was entertaining and enlightening. It covers some dark stuff, so it doesn't make for light reading but I m glad I read it. Jan 15, Hayley Chwazik-Gee rated it liked it. This memoir offered a brief look into the mind of an individual with bipolar disorder and a dysfunctional family with varying degrees of mental illness.

It highlighted an interesting cast of characters suffering the crippling effects of mental illness, but I had a hard time following some of the fragmented stories and secondary characters. Oct 03, Lisa M. She told me she had credit and was willing to buy me whatever I wanted - this was part of my haul. The book only came with the title and headline, and a few reviews on the back; there was no summary to give me an idea of what to expect, beyond "My Bipolar Family.

I am very happy I purchased this book. The family portrayed is haunted by mental disorders - each person who suffers, suffers severely. Lovelace has severe postpartum depressions that last for years, and religious paranoia. Lovelace is bedridden for years due to depression, and his feverish manias fuel religious hymns. The eldest son switches from bedridden and unable to feed himself to a man so manic he rearranges his friends' whole apartment.

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The youngest son follows a similar inactive depression, yet his mania is anger fueled and he makes a cape and beats the shit out of a neighbor. Good stuff. I'd like to note that not every case or every family with several cases is so haunted by mental illness - this is a family with a very bad genetic lottery. It was interesting to see how the eldest son, the author, was influenced by his father's illness. His father fell ill before the two sons, and as he experienced his first mania, David began to realize what his illness really could entail.

The amount of humiliation he felt, that drove him to close his bookstore, seemed an overreaction to me. One manic incident over years and you're done? Also, it was so dangerous when Roberta told him to get off of his meds I took issue with that, too. Overall, the writing style was good. At first the opening scenes seem like they may be the craziest of the whole book, but it becomes clear that David's story of his bipolar disorder is not the only thing interesting here - he's led a very interesting life. He bums around South America and squats in New York. I'd suggest this for anyone with a genuine interest in the experience of someone with bipolar disorder, anyone with bipolar disorder, or anyone who wants to read about a punk rock guy with some life struggles.

Overall a very good book. Shelves: memoir. For whatever reason I seem to be drawn to memoirs, and lately I've found myself disappointed in so many of them. They're completely unbelievable, poorly written or just bad. Though the subject matter is sad and it's sometimes tragic, it's never unbelievable, as the author weaves in all those feelings we all have with family - tenderness, guilt, duty, love, and coming to terms with the faults and "isms" of our families. I was very pleasa For whatever reason I seem to be drawn to memoirs, and lately I've found myself disappointed in so many of them.

I was very pleasantly surprised by this memoir. It's funny and touching at the same time and well written throughout. That written, not everyone will enjoy this book. Those who are not intrigued by psychology or mental illness will not relate to Lovelace and may not finish.

Subjects include family, mental illness, bi-polar, depression, the author's struggle with BPD and his "recovery," and watching helplessly as it overcomes his family members. If you enjoy memoirs and are drawn to issues concerning mental illness, this is a great read that's both humorous and poignant.

View all 3 comments. Such an honest account of bi-polar disorder. People often shy away from these conversations when talking about mental illness, but there is a reason people go off their meds. Mar 22, Mandy rated it really liked it Shelves: reviewed. A very solid memoir. David writes about his family and their highs and lows very poignantly. As always, I'm a bit biased because I'll read anything about bipolar disorder. I highly recommend it to anyone connected to mental illness, especially bipolar. I have to say though, after such in-depth descriptions about the lifelong breakdowns of not only himself, but his mother, his father, AND his brother who all have bipolar disorder as well, I can't believe he spoke so flippantly about his decision A very solid memoir.

I have to say though, after such in-depth descriptions about the lifelong breakdowns of not only himself, but his mother, his father, AND his brother who all have bipolar disorder as well, I can't believe he spoke so flippantly about his decision to have children. I guess he didn't have to consider the fact that women can't take mood stabilizers like lithium while pregnant without risk to the fetus, because after a whole book of terrible stories about their mental illness and the hell it put their family through, he seems to suggest that the availability of medicine makes it a negligible risk.

That didn't sit right with me at all. Altogether, I loved his stories and his writing style. It felt very honest and real and I was also really jealous of all the cool things he got to do while running away from life. I'll be looking out for other books of his.

Jul 22, Sally Lovelock rated it really liked it.


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I think I may have read this book before as the story was very familiar. A good insight into the terrors a whole family of people with bipolar experience. Devastating at times but for someone who has no idea or experience of bipolar, this book is a good education. The religious part drags in parts. Aug 26, Harriet Burch rated it really liked it. Helpful to read the insider's view of bipolar. Good to know that medicines can actually help some people! Jun 17, Aili rated it liked it Recommends it for: Rachel, Alice. David Lovelace , his father, mother, and younger brother have all been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Only his younger sister seems to have dodged the bullet. But bipolar disorder was not well recognized, nor were there very good treatment options, until the mids. So David and his family spend years struggling and hurting themselves and each other. This memoir is Lovelace's attempt to educate the lay public about his disorder and to caution his fellow sufferers and their families from t David Lovelace , his father, mother, and younger brother have all been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

This memoir is Lovelace's attempt to educate the lay public about his disorder and to caution his fellow sufferers and their families from thinking that they can "beat" their diagnosis. Based on the cover and blurbs, I was expecting this to be a rollicking! Lovelace comes from a Christian fundamentalist religious background his father was a Presbyterian minister; his parents met at a Christian revival summer camp in which individuals were taught to wrestle with their demons and pray for salvation.

As an adult, he rejects religion, tries to self-medicate with various illegal drugs, and eventually wholeheartedly embraces modern psychiatry, though his relationships with lithium and antipsychotics can at best be described as love—hate. Generally Lovelace does an excellent job of owning his life decisions, even though he's made some major mistakes and is frequently narcissistic. That's probably the best thing about the book; phrases like "unflinching portrayal" come to mind. His illustration of his family's religious tradition was also pretty fairly presented given that he has since forsworn it and informative.

I would have liked more insight into his siblings' experiences for example, his sister avoids bipolar disorder but grows up to be a therapist -- no issues there! My only other major criticism is that Lovelace periodically slows down the narrative to discuss the history and characteristics of bipolar disorder; I found these digressions pedantic, but then I have a pretty good working knowledge of current psychiatry and so may not be his target audience.

This is the kind of book that saying, "I really liked it," makes me feel as if I'm saying, "I really liked that train wreck. I really liked this book. The author describes in vivid detail what it was like to grow up in a family in which BOTH parents suffer from mental illness -- a genetic legacy that they unwittingly gift to two of their three children, including the This is the kind of book that saying, "I really liked it," makes me feel as if I'm saying, "I really liked that train wreck.

The author describes in vivid detail what it was like to grow up in a family in which BOTH parents suffer from mental illness -- a genetic legacy that they unwittingly gift to two of their three children, including the author. He also describes as best he can -- and this is the real strength of the narrative for me -- what it feels like to be an intelligent person who, in spite of his intellect and his talents, cannot stop his own descent into madness.

And I would note here that the word "madness" is the word the author uses; he states frankly that the term manic-depressive -- which was the diagnostic term used in the 's -- is really, in his opinion, a polite term for an utter chaos of the mind, i.

Two buttons. A hundred friends. Total chaos.

And he should know -- the decisions and behavior that he chronicles in this book, both his own and that of his family, are chaotic at best and dangerous at worst. I read this book because I have known and been close to several persons who have suffered from bipolar disorder though, thankfully, not to this degree and I wanted to get a better handle on what they as individuals experience when their illness is not well controlled. This book did provide that, and for that I am grateful. My only criticism of the book is that the author does not provide background information about bipolar disorder in general in his book, and that would be useful to the reader, especially the uninitiated reader.

Though perhaps, in this age of quick access to information on the Internet, he felt that anyone interested in knowing more about the medical aspect of the disorder could find it. What this book does provide is a front row seat to the human drama of mental illness. Sep 20, Beth Peninger rated it it was ok.

My rating is most likely because I found the book to be Except I am sure it all is completely believable to those who have lived with and witnessed bipolar. As Lovelace begins to explain his family history I thought to myself, "What are the odds that his parents found each other, married, and both have bipolar?

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I mean really what are the odds? And do his parents truly both have it or does one have something different that looks like it? His family history is a little frightening - on both sides - and it just makes you wonder what the heck happened in the gene pool for all of this to rise to the surface.

I don't say that to sound unsympathetic or cold, it's just a curiosity. Lovelace chronicles how bipolar made itself known in the lives of his immediate family. He takes us on a journey of his particular struggle to deny its existence and then finally his resignation to accept it. I think what frustrated me was he knew he was unhealthy and yet did unhealthy things that only made it worse.

Almost like inviting disaster. Is this typical of people who have bipolar? It was okay. I felt bored through the middle section of the book.


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  4. It was David's accounts of his crazy efforts to outrun his family and bipolar. And I wasn't all that fascinated by his efforts, just bored. Maybe it's just me. Maybe if I was more intimately acquainted with bipolar because of a loved one or myself I would have been more taken by this account. CNN Transcript Oct 21, Steve Ballmer would bring the company's all encompassing - critics might say ' scattershot ' - take on digital media, computing, and entertainment to the stage at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

    It's very easy to hunt down the kind of scattershot facts that Milbank chooses to collect. Dana Milbank would like Sarah Palin to stop fighting and accept defeat graciously.

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    Maybe the " scattershot " vs. Wired Campus. So far, they claim that they've used public data in a kind of scattershot approach - but Dizzy points out in a second update to his post that there may be "more to this than meets the eye". Kimberly Chun; her top ten is, as she calls it, " scattershot ," but is a pretty good list nonetheless.

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