The Washington Post
Scattershot: My Bipolar Familyby David Lovelace
Scattershot is David Lovelace's poignant, humorous, and vivid account of bipolar disorder'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. Four out of five/i>/b>/i>
An memoir of mental illness in the tradition of the bestselling An Unquiet Mind
Scattershot is David Lovelace's poignant, humorous, and vivid account of bipolar disorder'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. Four out of five people in David Lovelace's immediate family have experienced bipolar disorder? including David himself. In 1986, his father, his brother, and David himself were all committed in quick succession. Only his sister has escaped the disease. A coming-of-age story punctuated by truly harrowing experiences, this devastating and empathetic portrait of the Lovelace family strips away the shame associated with bipolar disorder?a disease that affects approximately 5.7 million adult Americans, and celebrates the profound creative gifts that come with it.
The Washington Post
As a twenty-something in the 1980s, Lovelace discovered that he had bipolar disorder (formerly known as manic-depression), a shattering mental illness shared by both his parents and, they would find later, his younger brother. Growing up, his parents went largely undiagnosed-his mother's initial breakdown was in 1949, the days when "psychiatrists diagnosed almost all delusional illness as schizophrenia," and the only treatment was electroshock. Members of his family spent years in deep, undiagnosed suffering, largely from depression ("Denial wasn't difficult, not yet. No one in my family had experienced mania"), and Lovelace spent years running from his illness through Mexico, South America and later to New York, accompanied by drugs and alcohol: "I've denied my own illness and I've loved it almost to death." Lovelace's poetic prose is both matter-of-fact and haunted, capturing the unpredictable rhythms of mental illness: "Alone in the bathroom I made a smile in the mirror and it strangled my eyes." Readers will get a real sense of the interior world of a single patient, and a family, on the verge of a mental breakdown.
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Poet and bookseller Lovelace's humorous and harrowing first memoir follows his gentle, loving mother's, his eccentric preacher father's, his younger brother's, and his own descent into bipolar disorder. It's a coming-of-age story of an entire family; how parents and siblings are affected by both their own and each other's bipolarity. Marked by otherness simply by being the evangelical preacher's son, Lovelace also had to cope with his role as the family's caretaker, which he managed with grace even though he grew up with only marginal stability. No one in the family lacks love for one another, and that's what makes this story so poignant.-Elizabeth Brinkley
- Penguin Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Sold by:
- Penguin Group
- NOOK Book
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- File size:
- 287 KB
- Age Range:
- 18 Years
Meet the Author
David Lovelace is a writer, carpenter, and former owner of the Montague Bookmill, a bookstore near Amherst, Massachusetts. His poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and was shortlisted for the Patterson Literary Review's Allen Ginsberg Award.
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For anyone interested in mental illness, whether client or professional, this book is a must-read. If you fall into neither category you will still find that this account of an eccentric (and clearly dysfunctional) childhood is both heartbreaking and inspirational in the tradition of Cherry and This Boy's Life. Lovelace truly has a gift for describing the complexity of family relationships. The reader tastes the essence of the love/hate relationship he had with parents who suffered greatly but also lead fascinating lives. His story is not always flattering but at times reads as a love letter to his parents, for in their madness they exposed him to the greater depths of human experience. One gets the sense that given the choice he would not have had it any other way.