An astute, if sometimes-undisciplined, remembrance.

ADDERALL BLUES

A personal memoir recounts a young man’s battle with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, as well as the drugs he used to tame it.

Debut author Robinson attended the prestigious Ranney School in Tinton Falls, New Jersey, but started to experience academic trouble in the fifth grade. He perennially questioned his own intelligence, and although he tested well, he was beset by the anger, frustration, and self-recrimination that resulted from chronic underperformance. The author was eventually diagnosed with ADHD, and while he was at Tulane University, he says, he was introduced to Adderall by his girlfriend. Robinson had already sought a reprieve from chronic restlessness in alcohol with predictably unspectacular results, and Adderall, he felt, was like a miracle—and he became woefully dependent upon it. But even after he confessed to his therapist that he’d developed an addiction, he was prescribed it yet again. After he manically pledged to go on a hunger strike to protest American troops in Iraq, his father called paramedics to have him hospitalized. Later, the author would wrestle with another drug problem, this time with Ritalin, after a failed attempt to get a show produced in Hollywood. Robinson finally repaired his life, learned to manage his ADHD, started his own debt-settlement business, and got married. Although this book is principally a memoir, the author also discusses his reservations about the psychiatric community’s reliance on medication to treat cognitive disorders, as well as the American educational system’s failure to accommodate the needs of afflicted students. Robinson’s remembrance is an intimate one, brimming with courageous candor and bracing self-critique. He intelligently describes the alienation he felt, due to his condition: he was mortified by his underachievement and envied “neurotypicals.” What emerges is a poignant self-portrait of a rather young man (he was 23 years old when he wrote this book) who’s exceedingly talented but just as angry—not just about his condition, but also at the lack of resources available to assist those who have it. A philosophy major in college, Robinson is accustomed to plumbing the depths of meaning in life, and he often does so with charm and verve. Problematically, though, the prose can be clumsy and leaden, with real insights buried in interminable sentences, often marred with mistakes: “In the utilitarian point of view of our nation’s school system, the education that maximizes the number of students who benefit from a curriculum geared toward the predominant a [sic] learning style are ultimately responsible for minimizing the potential of students with different cognitive styles.” Also, the author’s youthful spiritedness can also come across as callowness at times; he’s peremptorily dismissive of religion and too often describes traditional education as an exercise in herd-mentality brainwashing. Further, while his criticisms of higher education and psychiatry are trenchant, he offers little in the way of substantive alternatives. One may forgive Robinson for such unripe reflections, given his age, but it’s also hard not to hope for a more seasoned sequel further down the line.

An astute, if sometimes-undisciplined, remembrance.

Pub Date: July 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63393-431-3

Page Count: -

Publisher: Koehler Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more