Rosemary C. (Austin, TX)
Sharp by David Fitzpatrick
Mr. Fitzpatrick sure can write, and he has quite a poignant, compelling story to tell. The book is a tough read at times, but I'm glad I went on his journey. The man has been to hell and back with his intelligence, humor and insight intact. I don't know how he survived his mental illness, but if anything, this is a story of an individual's resilience and the people in his life who provide lifelines along the way. This book, with graphic descriptions of the author's self-abuse, will not appeal to all readers, but to me it was worth it to try to understand his motivations and to "listen in" on the therapy sessions between him and his most important psychiatrist. Mr. Fitzpatrick's return from madness is reminiscent of the brilliant mathematician of A Brilliant Mind fame battling schizophrenia.
Kim L. (cary, IL)
I found this book fascinating and one I could not stop reading. Maybe I was intrigued by the subject matter because of personal experience with a family member who is mentally ill. The author's ability to express an accurate detail of the emotions surrounding mental illness were spot on. His story made me sad but also hopeful because of his ability to overcome this disease.
Marnie C. (Baltimore, MD)
Sharp by David Fitzpatrick
Sharp is the harrowing, heartbreaking, and ultimately inspiring memoir of a man who suffered from bipolar disorder and cut himself to relieve the depression. Fitzpatrick vividly shows how a (mostly) happy childhood and adolescence metamorphosed into an untethered early adulthood. When he began manifesting symptoms, he had no idea what was happening, only that he felt as if he had "black bile" oozing underneath his skin. After a horrific breakdown, he entered his first psychiatric facility in his early '20s; he didn't leave for good until nearly 20 years later. This book will prove especially enlightening for those who work in the mental health professions or who have a personal or family history of psychiatric disorders, but anyone who appreciates well-written memoirs will also find much to admire.
Barbara F. (Saint Louis, MO)
People Always Remember The Way You Make Them Feel
This memoir is an extremely honest portrayal of a profoundly serious mental illness which continued for David from young adult hood to middle age. I am sure some readers will feel disconnected as well as frustrated, wanting the answers to 'why'...As with drug addiction and alcoholism sometimes knowing 'why' is the least significant issue, because medical opinions differ so widely. Achieving physical, emotional and spiritual stability in order to function even minimally in the community and within a viable family without pathological danger to oneself or others is sometimes the best we can achieve. The memoir is honest, intense, graphic and hopeful..I feel it needs editing as the message and story could be told with fewer words
Michele W. (Manchester, MD)
It's not that I'm unsympathetic to the suffering of the author; it's not that I don't admire his writing skill. I actually feel little guilty that I wasn't more moved by this tale of Fitzpatrrick's sad life as a victim, a non-suicidal cutter, and a manic-depressive professional mental patient. I always have trouble summoning up much empathy for people who accept victimhood as passively as David Fitzpatrick did. It's my nature to fight with all my strength, and I don't understand those who submit. Fitzpatrick tells us that self-punishers like him are competitive, and usually stop in their thirties when they begin to understand the essential futility of continuing on this path. David, on the other hand, didn't stop cutting and burning himself until he was over 40, a degree of stubborn hubris that he appears to think is his proudest life achievement. He leaves hints about sexual preoccupations, about family sadism, about religious confusions, and severe drug abuse, but he never puts it all together. His self-punishing, which was always non-suicidal, still seems to be his main source of self-esteem, judging by the attention he devotes to his episodes. Getting better is a process and this is where he is right now, but not where he may end up. I wish him all the luck in the world.