Screenwriter Garey’s no-nonsense debut about a man who struggles with bipolar disorder is gripping and straightforward.
Greyson Todd is a financially successful and respected Hollywood studio executive who suffers from the same debilitating mental illness that once tortured his father. Recalling his mother’s agony and the hatred he felt as he dealt with his father and his early life, Todd is terrified, with good reason, that he will suffer the same fate. One evening, he simply abandons his wife and 8-year-old daughter and begins a frenzied excursion that takes him to exotic locales around the world, where he indulges in erotic acts and self-gratifying excesses that frequently end in violence. He gets duped by Bedouins, roams sex bazaars in Thailand, impersonates a professor and marries the widow of an AIDs victim in Africa. Following one destructive episode, Todd acknowledges that he is his own personal tsunami, an apt description for the devastation he causes himself and others in his wake. And much like the irregular and illogical behavior that characterizes his illness, Todd’s story is told in snippets and pieces that seem to represent his chaotic life: childhood memories of a father who could never hold a job for long and went on wild spending sprees, yet who tenderly encouraged his son; experiences during his travels; his time in a psychiatric ward undergoing electroshock therapy and the resultant memory lapses. Todd himself exhibits a cacophony of different reactions to his situations. At times he’s repulsive, sympathetic, comical, tragic, witty, self-absorbed, kind and regretful. But thanks to Garey’s accomplished narrative, no matter the emotions Todd’s actions elicits from readers, his character is always interesting and real.
Garey breathes life into an uncomfortable and often misunderstood subject and creates a riveting experience.