Stacy Pershall grew up as an overly intelligent, depressed, deeply strange girl in Prairie Grove, Arkansas, population 1,000. From her days as a 13-year-old Jesus freak through her eventual diagnosis of bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder, this spirited memoir chronicles Pershall's journey through hell and her struggle with the mental health care system.
"An utterly unique journey down some of the mind's more mysterious byways...ranges from the shocking to the simply lovely." (Marya Hornbacher)
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Compelling, Heartbreaking, and Hilarious
Unlike some previous reviewers, I found the narration quite compelling. The author's story is presented in the author's own voice. She has a manner of brilliant understatement that, even when describing the more harrowing events, never loses its wry humor.
There's only one real character of note in this book, and that's Stacy herself. I share a similar socioeconomic background with her, also growing up in rural Arkansas, and I can relate to feeling like an outsider in my own skin.
The moments I enjoyed the most were her description of her college life, particularly during her freshman year.
- C. Hodges
Short, but Intense Memoir
Informative, Intriguing, Dark
Beyond the memoir, the author speculates on the mental health world of diagnosis, medication, and treatment.
I found this to be a very intriguing and information memoir, focusing not only on the author’s individual experiences, but also going into detail about the way the mental health system works for those diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and Bipolar. It serves as a source of experiential knowledge for those who may not understand these disorders and the hardships involved both for the suffering and for the psychiatric teams who sometimes struggle to help those with BPD due to the very nature of the disorder.
Pershall relates to a quick overview of her life and the instances that defined her as she grew up and moved through the system. It’s relatively short, but I found it to be an interesting, well written work that doesn’t sound whiny or unrealistic or embellished. I would have liked to see a little more memoir that was more in-depth, as many of the scenes are general or just speculate on how medication/doctors work.
Overall, if you’re looking more a memoir based on mental health that’s a quick read and not incredibly triggering, this may be the book for you!