In his debut memoir, Thompson recounts his efforts to deal with his bipolar disorder as he faced unpredictable periods of elation and depression. In blog like entries organized according to mood—depressed, normal and elevated—Thompson presents a nonlinear depiction of his struggle with bipolar disorder. The author takes readers through his internship, college years and promising start working for AT&T, followed by his difficulties holding onto jobs, inability to get health insurance, hospitalizations and dating life. Each entry ends with a transcript of a session between the author and Dr. John-Paul Heathrow, or “JP,” a voice that the author assumes as a psychiatrist. Thompson writes in an easy,jocular tone, but the nonlinear structure makes the chronology of his disease and the problems it causes hard to follow. Not all readers will find it easy to understand the author’s use of slang, and some may find the frequent off-color language gratuitous. However, many will welcome JP’s informative “handout,” in addition to an overview of bipolar disorder and his sensible advice on navigating the world of work, such as possibly asking for a later starting time “so any sedative side effects [will] have worn off.” Occasionally, Thompson abandons his flippant tone; it’s then that readers can feel his sadness at the damage his illness has caused: “I was seeing old friends and seeing how they were taking the next steps in their lives. Getting married...starting a family and having their careers take off.” Meanwhile, he was “starting over from scratch because [he] had failed.” Some readers may wish there were more such passages with simply expressed feelings.
A frank account of a struggle with a devastating illness, although the format and choice of language may be off-putting to some readers.
So this was my first “terrible” review for my book and I wasn’t a happy camper the first few times I read it (I also had to look up a couple words, which probably doesn’t help my case). Actually I was pretty pissed those first few times I read it but had the self control to limit my smart-assness (some more of that slang for ya reviewer) when I responded to this review site (I’m not mentioning names but I will say it was one of the corporate big boys, shocker corporate America is screwing me again) when they asked if I’d like the review posted:
No, I would not like the review to be posted. And here’s some advice; the next time a writer submits a humorous memoir I recommend you assign it to a reviewer who has a sense of humor.
I never heard back from them. As similar to just about everything else in my life that I get frustrated and irritated with once I slept on it and actually thought about it I calmed down. I was able to realize that I wrote the book for a particular audience in mind and that’s others who have BMD. What do I care if some anonymous middle aged single cat lover doesn’t like my book; that should actually be a compliment (a rather expensive damn compliment but nonetheless a compliment). The reviewer didn’t get it and at first I was kind of pissed about that but now I know it’s a good thing.
If Somewhere Over the Rainbow was the linear, serious, sad, somber (alliteration is fun) on-color language (go fuck yourself bitch I lived through Hell…maybe I’m still a little pissed) and simply expressed feelings memoir they wanted it to be it would have been just another example of a basic, generic, bland, generalized and sugar coated account of BMD. Thank God it’s not, that’s one of the main reasons I wrote it that way, so it was different, that it was something no one had ever seen before, something that my generation of “crazies” could relate to.
So in hindsight that review actually made me feel pretty good about my book, maybe even better than the five star ones in a way. That’s because just like this BMD I feel like I’ve taken something “terrible” and made it all mine.
Since many of my manic experiences involve music I’ve decided to add random music videos to the blog for my enjoyment and your inconvenience. Enjoy!