Hurry Down Sunshine, by Michael Greenberg, is a moving and powerful account of a woman's struggle with bipolar mania with psychosis over the course of one summer, as seen through the eyes of her father.
The opening two lines, using the words 'struck mad' and 'crack up' might be viewed as offensive to readers with bipolar disorder and tempt them not to read the rest of the book (filled with continued references to the word 'crack up' rather than the more correct term 'episode'); however, I would urge them to continue.
Greenberg's description of his daughter Sally's initial manic episode is brilliant. I felt as if I was right there in Sally's mind, experiencing every painful moment right along with her, as Greenberg uses sentences like, 'Sally's need to feel understood is like one's need for air. (Isn't this everyone's struggle? To be seen for what we think we are?)'
One of my favorite lines in the book is, 'And how does one defeat such a disease without defeating oneself?' I know I have felt that way sometimes, as I'm sure you have as well.
The book is full of very colorful descriptions of bipolar disorder – descriptions that we, as people with bipolar disorder, can truly relate to. Such as, 'I imagine the mania as a separate living thing within her, a gnome, like Rumpelstiltskin, wily and insistent. It speaks to her in a whisper, promising riches, deviously finding a way to escalate and live on.'
What is interesting about Hurry Down Sunshine is being able to see the disorder from another perspective (the supporter's), while also being able to be right there with Sally, as if you were going through the episode with her.
What I like most about the book is that the author does not sugar-coat his daughter's experience; not even Sally's hospitalization, nor does he leave the reader with unrealistic expectations of a life without any more episodes.
If you like reading books about other people who have bipolar disorder, then I would recommend Hurry Down Sunshine as one such person's struggle as seen through the supporter's eyes.
David Oliver is the nation's leading experts on helping and supporting a loved one with bipolar disorder. You can get learn about many of David's little known, yet effective strategies to cope and deal with your loved one's bipolar by clicking here right now. View all articles by David Oliver