Madness

  • by Marya Hornbacher
  • Narrated by Tavia Gilbert
  • 9 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

When Marya Hornbacher published her acclaimed first book, Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia, she did not yet have a piece of shattering knowledge: the underlying reason for her distress. At age 24, Hornbacher was diagnosed with Type I rapid-cycle bipolar, the most severe form of bipolar disease there is.In her wry and utterly self-revealing style, Hornbacher tells her new story in Madness. Through scenes of astonishing visceral and emotional power, she takes us inside her own desperate attempts to counteract violently careening mood swings by self-starvation, substance abuse, numbing sex, and self-mutilation. Her brave and heart-stopping memoir details her fight up from madness and describes what it is like to live in a difficult, sometimes beautiful life and marriage when the bipolar tendency always beckons.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Forget Prozac Nation - this what it is really like

I think what the other reviewers have failed to see is that mental health and in this case bipolar disorder doesn't have a conclusion. Unlike Prozac Nation which nicely ties things up, this book tells it like it is. When I was diagnosed with Bipolar and my wife asked me when I was just going to get over it after 2 hospitalizations, I knew that most people don't get it. Its not about cure, its about coping. Its about living with an illness that often ends in death. Its about understanding that your boundaries are narrower than you want them to be, and that's just the way it is. Its understanding that what your mind and body are telling you may kill you if you are not careful. Its about losing time and not understanding why.

Perhaps this limits this books audience, but I'm glad I listened to it and I'm glad Mayra wrote it.
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- Lamont Crook

A Well-Crafted Self-Portrait...

This is a well-crafted self-portrait of one woman’s life with bipolar disorder. Marya Hornbacher is honest, insightful and brave as she describes the severe ups and downs brought on by her disorder.

During her manic episodes, Hornbacher is a classic case of manic symptoms. She experiences racing thoughts, pressured speech, constant motion, reckless behavior, grandiosity, increase in goal-oriented activities and decreased need for sleep. This version of Hornbacher is fast and furious, somewhat delusional and often a lot of fun.

When depressed, Hornbacher sinks to the lowest of lows. She loses interest in activities, withdraws from life, sleeps excessively and even cuts herself.

Further complicating Hornbacher’s illness is her effort to self-medicate with alcohol and food restriction, resulting in a substance abuse problem and an eating disorder. She is, as they say on the street, one hot mess.

Hornbacher takes the reader along as she journeys through her years with bipolar disorder, going in and out of hospitals, moving in and out of relationships, enduring extensive medication trials and crippling side effects. At the heart of the story is her family – a closely knit circle of devoted loved ones– who advocate and fight for her. Many times they are her saving grace.

If you are living with bipolar disorder, or if you know someone who is, this book is a MUST READ. Hornbacher paints a real and haunting picture of the illness and ultimately teaches the reader that, even though it is possible to die from bipolar disorder, it is equally possible to have a life with bipolar disorder. The final message is one of hope.

Narrator Tavia Gilbert reads this book with doses of levity, capturing Hornbacher’s dark humor that appears throughout. My only complaint is that Gilbert also narrated the much less stellar “Voluntary Madness” by Norah Vincent. Her narration across the two books is fantastic, but I kept getting a sense of déjà vu – as if I had read this before.
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- RaisinNut

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-09-2008
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.