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Publisher's Summary

The story of a young man fighting to recover from a devastating psychotic break and the mother who refuses to give up on him.
Zack McDermott, a 26-year-old Brooklyn public defender, woke up one morning convinced he was being filmed, Truman Show-style, as part of an audition for a TV pilot. This was it - his big dreams were finally coming true. Every passerby was an actor; every car would magically stop for him; everything he saw was a cue from "The Producer" to help inspire the performance of a lifetime. After a manic spree around Manhattan, Zack, who is bipolar, was arrested on a subway platform and admitted to Bellevue Hospital.
So begins the story of Zack's freefall into psychosis and his desperate, poignant, often darkly funny struggle to claw his way back to sanity, regain his identity, and rebuild some semblance of a stable life. It's a journey that will take him from New York City back to his Kansas roots and to the one person who might be able to save him, his tough, big-hearted Midwestern mother, nicknamed the Bird, whose fierce and steadfast love is the light in Zack's dark world.
Before his odyssey is over, Zack will be tackled by guards in mental wards, run naked through cornfields, receive secret messages from the TV, befriend a former Navy SEAL and his talking stuffed monkey, and see the Virgin Mary in the whorls of his own back hair. But with the Bird's help, he just might have a shot at pulling through, starting over, and maybe even meeting a woman who can love him back, bipolar and all.
Written with raw emotional power, humor, and tenderness, Gorilla and the Bird is a bravely honest account of a young man's unraveling and the relationship that saves him.
©2017 Zack McDermott (P)2017 Hachette Audio
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Critic Reviews

"A startlingly moving memoir of mother and son, structural injustice and inflammable mental illness. Gorilla and the Bird is as piss-cuttin' a pieta as anyone has any right to hope for. And Zack McDermott - guy's a fleet, funny, unsentimental storyteller who manages that rare thing: He allows a damaged soul be found." (Kent Russell, author of I Am Sorry to Think I Have Raised a Timid Son)
"Gorilla and the Bird will make you laugh, cry, and wonder what would happen if we were all brave enough to tell the stories of our relationships with love and madness. I needed this book." (Kiese Laymon, author of How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Reader Rowland on 01-09-18

Thank You Gorilla for Sharing Your Story

Would you listen to Gorilla and the Bird again? Why?

Totally. I think I would gain more insight into bipolar disorder and I would love to laugh at him describing people like Jeremy and Gary. Laughed so hard in parts.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Gorilla and the Bird?

His unbelievable relationship with his mother.

Which character – as performed by Zack McDermott – was your favorite?

Gary and Jeremy!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

For sure and I am bummed that I binged on it for 4 days. Now it's over ;-(

Any additional comments?

As the wife of a BP2 husband, Gorilla's insight into his medications, his spiral into psychosis and mania, his recognition of the symptoms, and his relationship with his advocate, i.e., his mother were all priceless. Sick people often need advocates to help them navigate everything. This is true for cancer patients, people with addictions, and mental illness. The list goes on and on. I could relate to much of what Gorilla told in his story, and I learned a lot of tips for my own relationships. Thank you for a very honest and funny account of your life. Stay well!

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By Anonymous User on 12-14-17

Amazing Grace, your Mom beat 800lb MeToo?

MeToo. Best voice (perfect inflection-I thank U Nick-you are the best)I cried through to end.

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