Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sharp: A Memoir, by David Fitzpatrick

David came from a family that was rife with mental health issues.  Several family members on both the paternal and maternal sides have suffered from mental illnesses.  David seems to be headed for a life of promise, until, in his twenties, he begins self mutilating.  Over the next two decades, he will struggle with serious debilitating mental illness, with dozens of hospitalizations, and months of residential treatment.

Reader, be forewarned, this is an intense book.  Never have I read anything so raw, and heartbreakingly honest.  We watch a young, attractive, intelligent, and immensely talented young man literally waste years of his life trapped in the prison of mental illness.  The picture David paints of those years is bleak, full of blood, excrement, darkness, and pain.  The intensity of this book literally sucked energy from me.  As engaging as this book was, I had read it over an extended period of time.  To have read it all at once would have been overwhelming.

Keeping in mind that much of David's story was written from memory or from journals of his youth, I have to wonder if those memories are at all colored by his illness.  While David explains that in the midst of his episodes of delusion, he is still cognizant of his situation and reality, I have to wonder, is there more to the story.  Particularly the stories involving his college friends.  I just felt like there was more to the story there, and it left me feeling really unsettled.

The honesty of this memoir struck me as particularly brave.  And it is that bravery that allowed David to be triumphant over his illness.  Not all mentally ill people are able to triumph, but perhaps, by hearing the rawness of David's story, other will be given hope, and mental health professionals will be given insight, so as to better help others.

 I received a review copy courtesy of TLC Book Tours. See the rest of the tour here.

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1 comment:

  1. This does seem very brave! I can't imagine sharing such a painful and personal part of my life.

    Thanks for being on the tour!