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
    Genre: Biographies & Memoirs

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About this book

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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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.

Laurence O. (Phoenix, AZ)

Sharp--A cutting-edge, real life memoir
Fitzpatrick's ability to help the reader experience the pain and mental anguish that the author suffers is, a craft many do not posses. He does it expertly--at times graphic, that is just what is called for and so appropriate and timed perfectly. Definite read for those that have an interest in life, the good, the bad and the ugly of life--but one that delivers an upbeat, positive message.

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.

Alexandra S. (Chicago, IL)

A Phoenix
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.

...14 more reader reviews

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More Information

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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