A courageously unequivocal self-portrait of bipolar disorder.

113 DAYS

...TIME SERVED...

A Los Angeles businessman living with bipolar disorder recalls his time spent in the county jail in this debut memoir.

Good’s book opens with a gunshot. In a chapter entitled “The World Breaks,” the author describes his father’s suicide at 66 years old. As a physician who was suffering intolerable pain following surgery, he misdiagnosed what was discovered to be a treatable condition and took his own life. The author, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2014, believes that his father’s decision was influenced by the same mental illness. The distinction he draws between himself and his father is that “the world broke me, but it did not kill me.” The irrational behavior symptomatic of the disorder led Good to be incarcerated in LA County Jail for 113 days. A buildup of stress caused him to throw a stapler through the window of his rented Pasadena apartment, shattering glass onto a mother and son walking on the street below. He was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and vandalism. The book recalls his days surviving prison as well as recounting Good’s leaving his wife and two daughters for his “long-lost love” Cora and time spent in a mental institution after being released from jail. The author describes the intensity of his manic episodes. While working in Beijing, he impulsively took the elevator to the top of a 37-floor building, found his way to the roof, dropped onto the balcony of the penthouse apartment, and smashed through the glass terrace door to escape. Good confides that he was initially reluctant to divulge his bipolar disorder to others, as “they would not understand.” But his writing captures with clarity what it means to experience the disorder, particularly with regard to manic phases. When recalling his perilous experience atop the Beijing skyscraper, he writes: “The floor to ceiling glass was thick. The glass on the door looked thinner, though. So, I took the bench and pushed it through the door glass. It entered surprisingly easily. It shattered.” His sentences have a rapid, staccato tempo, echoing the fast-talking, highly energetic urgency and irrationality symptomatic of a manic episode. The author’s writing also captures the impulsiveness and sheer bluntness that are characteristics of bipolar disorder. On reuniting with Cora, he confesses: “All the affection and love I had for my wife disappeared. I had never heard of that happening to anyone.” As the book progresses, Good demonstrates how his understanding of his condition developed. He came to terms with the chaos associated with bipolar behavior but also discovered he “was both its instigator and victim.” He placed an emphasis on the religious taking of medication even though it allowed him to painfully remember all the people he “harmed.” This bold memoir is not about hiding from mental illness or forgetting its consequences; it is concerned with developing a deeper understanding of the self and determinedly facing adversity. Many confronting similar struggles should empathize with Good and find hope in his story.

A courageously unequivocal self-portrait of bipolar disorder.

Pub Date: June 22, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-72087-326-6

Page Count: 368

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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