Sharp: Book summary and reviews of Sharp by David Fitzpatrick

Sharp

A Memoir

By David Fitzpatrick

Sharp
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  • Published in USA  Aug 2012,
    368 pages.

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Book Summary

A shocking and beautifully written memoir that goes inside the mind of a man's twenty-year battle to with depression and self-mutilation, sure to appeal to fans of Look Me in the Eye, Manic, and Beautiful Boy.

In his early twenties, David Fitzpatrick began cutting himself with a razor blade. Self-mutilation provided a rush, a fleeting euphoric high missing from the rest of his life. For the next two decades, Fitzpatrick struggled to overcome this dangerous and bloody addiction, a difficult battle from which he would emerge spiritually renewed.

Sharp is his disturbing, at times humorous, yet ultimately triumphant account of mental anguish and acceptance, of finding freedom and learning to let go. With prose that is tough and gritty, yet moving and insightful, this compelling, deeply honest self-examination recalls Fitpatrick's quest to understand the competing mental forces that prevented him from leading a normal life. It is also a tale of hope - a soul-baring quest of a lost man who successfully wrestles with the darkness to reclaim his life. As he shares his experiences, Fitzpatrick also credits the lessons learned from the broken people in his life - knowledge that led to his own emotional resurrection.

A universal story of highs and lows, love, and determination, Sharp reminds us that, no matter the odds, it is never too late to reclaim one's life.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"A mesmeric, dire memoir... a mission (thanks to Wally Lamb's encouragement) to write this dark, affecting, human story." - Publishers Weekly

"Fitzpatrick slam-dunks readers into the grim, murky bowels of his psychotic ordeal, yet provides a promising coda for himself and those jonesing for a 'normal' life." - Kirkus Reviews

"In a word: harrowing... Readers will be haunted by these accounts but gratified by the author's hard-fought battle with the demons that drove him to carve into his own skin." - Library Journal

"What makes this memoir so riveting and so unforgettable isn't the myriad of horrors that its narrator inflicts upon himself. It's the razor-sharp humor and abiding wisdom and depth of humanity with which its author graces the reader. Sharp cuts deep into your heart." - Michael White, author of Beautiful Assassin and Soul Catcher

"In Sharp, David Fitzpatrick is our tour guide for a harrowing journey from self-destructive psychosis to a cautious re-emergence into the flickering sunshine of the sane world. Fitzpatrick writes about mental illness with the unsparing intensity of Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton but also with the hard-won self-knowledge of William Styron, Kay Jamison, and other chroniclers of disease, recovery, and management. While reading Sharp, I was at turns frightened, appalled, enlightened, and overcome with sadness. Throughout I was fully engaged and, by book's end, reassured about the triumph of the human spirit and the healing power of a family's patient and abiding love. For those of us who seek a better understanding of mental illness, David Fitzpatrick's Sharp is a must read, remarkably told." - Wally Lamb

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Reader Reviews

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Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Esther Bradley-DeTally
Sharp, a novel of harrowing courage and pain
This is from the first page on, a sharp intake of breath, and a holding, holding, waiting to breath. Sharp intensifies honestly, horrendously, and underneath the horror of this one man's struggle, lies courage, sweetness and nobility. Sharp is a reminder to not forget all those who suffer, even perhaps when upon quick glances, all seems well. Sharp, a memoir, offers a compassionate and deeply internal view of mental illness - it's range - those who struggle, and is a book which this reader things must be read.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Sharon W. (Two Rivers, WI)
Sharp
I am a big fan of memoirs, but this was a little hard for me to get through. I could not imagine living the life he did. Cutting and burning the body, in and out of mental facilities, being bullied.
Started out having a great life, but it went downhill. It was great to see that his life turned around and was able to write this book

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Kelly H. (Chagrin Falls, OH)
Sharp and raw
I recommend "Sharp" to any reader who loves someone struggling with emotional or mental illness. The story is an insider's look at the painful descent into illness and back and how the illness affects everyone surrounding the author. The story often evoked tears and visceral feelings of fear, anger and frustration. I would enjoy following the author through a sequel!

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Chris H. (Wauwatosa, WI)
Sharp
I found this book to be a compelling and insightful look into the life of someone who self-mutilates by cutting. As this is not a topic that is not talked or written about as much as other addictions, I thank and applaud the author for the courageous telling of his personal story.

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Christy S. (Shrewsbury, MA)
Push-pull
This book is truly a life-work, or, a life-not-working. Either way, it is difficult to read about the author facing such raw emotions. David Fitzpatrick shares with readers in his memoir, Sharp, a painful journey. Unfortunately, it was a little sharp edged and I would have liked it so much more if the author had implied, rather than stated, his detailed thoughts. I realize that maybe that would defeat the purpose of his writing, however.

I really liked how Mr. Fitzpatrick was able to share a deep reaching into his soul about where and when these difficult-to-imagine thoughts and obsessions arose. It was, perhaps, a bit too graphic where it didn't seem to relate to his thinking: I'm not talking about the descriptions of his urge and need to cut, but about the sexual details that seemed non-sequitur.

Overall, I would recommend this book as an average read: I wasn't drawn enough to the path and the pace of the story, but his insight was good and I felt I learned about his journey through mental illness in a way that was more than just skin deep.

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Katherine T. (Atlanta, Georgia)
exposing memoir
I am not sure I enjoyed reading "Sharp" by David Fitzpatrick, in that I found that he was just a bit too graphic in some of his descriptions. However, I give him a lot of credit for exposing his illness in a way that really that lets others know how painful mental illness can be. As a psychotherapist who works with cutters, I found his book helpful for understanding how the human mind can begin to become so fragmented.

...14 more reader reviews

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More Information

David Fitzpatrick was born in Dearborn, Michigan, grew up in Connecticut, graduated from Skidmore College, and earned his MFA degree from Fairfield University in 2011. A writer, he works at an auto dealership and is married to writer and graphic designer Amy Holmes. He lives in Middletown, Connecticut. Learn more online at www.davidfitzpatrickbooks.com.

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