Kathy M. (Neptune Beach, Florida)
I was not excited when I received this book but when I first started to read it, I thought Ok this is going to be very interesting. I really didn't know very much about self-mutilation and I was interested in the obsession with it. That continued until about halfway through the book and I had to say enough. This guy had a tough time, no doubt about it but I'm really not sure that I needed to be dragged into it. It was very detailed and draggy. It is important for some people to express their ability to overcome huge obstacles but I didn't really enjoy his way of expressing himself.
Debra P. (Belmont, NC)
I confess I have never understood the need to self mutilate, especially cutting into ones body. However, I believe I have a better understanding of the motivation behind this act after reading David Fitzpatricks memoir. It is extremely disturbing to be exposed to someones inner thoughts and feelings if we know before hand of their diagnosed mental illness. I can't help but blame some of his situation on the hazing and bullying he experienced in college which is all to prevalent in our society. I hope his honesty and full disclosure may help others, especially young people dealing with peer pressures. This book should make a good discussion in book groups and may serve well as a required summer reading for entering college freshmen.
Sheryl R. (DeQuincy, LA)
Painfully honest account of bipolar disorder
Even though I am a mental health professional and have heard more than my share of brutally honest, painful stories, this first-person account of David Fitzpatrick's struggle with bipolar disorder was, in a word, "sharp". Cutting through the secrecy, rationalizations, self-destructiveness, and defensiveness often associated with this disease, Fitzpatrick gives a close-to-the-bone account of his struggles and attempts to cope with his illness. It helps that he is an accomplished writer; I found myself focusing on the beauty of the writing when the reality of the words cut too close. Very much worth the read, especially if you or a family member has bipolar disorder.
Marion C. (Litchfield, NH)
Growing up the hard way
David Fitzgerald shares his experience with manic depression during his twenty's and thirty's. When young, his older brother Andy beat and insulted Fitzgerald. His college roommates bullied him relentlessly. Fitzgerald never learned to fight back or stand up for himself.
At twenty-three, Fitzgerald had no self-worth and the bullying triggered a sharp razor-cutting session leading to psychiatric hospitalizations. Today Fitzgerald functions normally as long as he controls his medicine and keeps appointments with his psychiatrist.
Fitzgerald has two novels published and this is his first memoir. There are some disturbing parts, but otherwise SHARP a Memoir makes an interesting and informative read about bipolar disease from the patient's point of view.
Alexandra S. (Chicago, IL)
A wonderfully written book that tells the tale of one man’s two decade struggle with mental illness and self-mutilation, Sharp is a must read. David Fitzpatrick takes you on a journey into the depths of his broken psyche and shows you the inner workings of his mind. As someone who has watched friends and family members struggle through mental illness, Fitzpatrick does a wonderful job of explaining how he feels, why he has these compulsions to harm himself and what he is thinking as he’s doing these terrible things to his body.
Sharp is dark, it is depressing and at times it's downright brutal, but is ultimately a story of triumph. Fitzpatrick has talent and has been able to channel his life into a story worth telling. It gives hope to all of those people struggling with debilitating mental illness, that with time and patience and effort, you can claw your way out of the rubble and emerge a version of yourself you could never have imagined.
Elizabeth K. (Dallas, TX)
Reclaiming a Life from Severe Mental Illness
Sharp is horrifying, puzzling, and encouraging. This beautifully written book by David Fitzpatrick shows what mental illness is like from the perspective of a patient, and I think it is well worth reading. We don't always know why someone suffers from mental illness, and the cure and/or management of these maladies is hard to find, but I'm glad David has shared his experiences with the world. If you have family members or friends who are struggling, or if you grapple with your own compulsions, I think this book will bring you hope that you can overcome and live a more normal lifestyle.
William E. (Honolulu, HI)
To the Dark Place and Back Again
Sharp should not be considered in any way as a frothy beach read or a part of that esteemed genre. Sharp is a harrowing account of a person's descent into a very dark place demanding of self mutilations and self torture. To travel there and back is a mesmeric journey of pain and ultimately of transcendence making for a life changing read.