My Bipolar Family
By David Lovelace
Dutton Adult, Hardcover, 9780525950783, 304pp.
Publication Date: September 4, 2008
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The Glass Castle meets An Unquiet Mind in a mesmerizing, loving memoir about growing up in a family plagued by bipolar disorder.
Four out of the five people in poet David Lovelace's immediate family have experienced bipolar disorder--including David himself. His relationship with the disease began with his artist mother's severe depressions during his boyhood in the 1960s and continued through decades of his preacher father's increasingly eccentric behavior. The family's battle with the disorder reached its apex in 1986, the year that his father, his brother, and David himself were all committed in quick succession. Only his sister has escaped unscathed.
Scattershot is Lovelace's poignant, humorous, and vivid account of the disease's effects on his family, and his gripping exploits as he spent his life running from--and finally learning to embrace--the madness imprinted on his genes. Scattershot explores the powerful connections between fundamentalist religious belief and mental illness, illuminated by David's strange and fantastic childhood in church camps and parish residences.
A coming-of-age story punctuated by a series of truly harrowing experiences, this devastating and empathetic portrait of the Lovelace family strips away the shame associated with bipolar disorder and celebrates the profound creative gifts that come with it.