Sharp: A Memoir by David Fitzpatrick, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Sharp: A Memoir

Sharp: A Memoir

5.0 1
by David Fitzpatrick
     
 

"Endorphins sped through me. I spun around, growing dizzy, frantic, and silly. I wasn't drunk, but I felt a nice stoned feeling, sans paranoia, and I thought, 'I believe I've found my new pharmaceutical deep inside.' I giggled fearlessly, manically at this and looked down at myself; hands, arms, chest, and belly covered in crimson . . . "

Sharp is the

Overview

"Endorphins sped through me. I spun around, growing dizzy, frantic, and silly. I wasn't drunk, but I felt a nice stoned feeling, sans paranoia, and I thought, 'I believe I've found my new pharmaceutical deep inside.' I giggled fearlessly, manically at this and looked down at myself; hands, arms, chest, and belly covered in crimson . . . "

Sharp is the story of a young man who began his life with a loving family and great promise for the future. But in his early twenties, David Fitzpatrick became so consumed by mental illness it sent him into a frenzy of cutting himself with razor blades. In this shocking and often moving book, he vividly describes the rush this act gave him, the fleeting euphoric high that seemed to fill the spaces in the rest of his life. It started a difficult battle from which he would later emerge triumphant and spiritually renewed.

Fitzpatrick's youth seemed ideal. He was athletic, handsome, and intelligent. However, he lived in fear of an older brother who taunted and belittled him; and in college, his roommates teased and humiliated him, further damaging what sense of self-esteem he still carried with him. As he shares these experiences, Fitzpatrick also recounts the lessons learned from the broken people he encountered during his journey—knowledge that led to his own emotional resurrection.

Sharp also demonstrates the awakening of a writer's instinctive voice. With prose that is tough and gritty, profound and insightful, Fitzpatrick takes us inside his head while he manically cuts himself, but these episodes are presented with a dignity and insight that has never been seen before. His writing also possesses a lightness of touch that brings humor to a subject that doesn't naturally provide it.

Above all else, Sharp is a tale of hope, a soul-baring quest of a lost man who returns to himself, overcomes his demons, and reclaims his life. It is destined to become a classic memoir.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Haunted by demons of mental illness that plagued his ancestors, a young man barely out of college finds release from inner torment in cutting himself, leading to 17 years of being a “professional mental patient.” In this mesmeric, dire memoir of his agonizing journey through hell and back, Fitzpatrick takes extraordinary care in re-creating the cerebral maelstrom that brought on the first breakdown at age 23. The middle child of five in an Irish Catholic family that settled in Guilford, Conn., the author was an athletic kid who adored his parents and had a keen desire to please others, yet endured being bullied, first by his relentless older brother, Andy, then by his Skidmore College roommates who routinely doused him in liquids—milk, mustard, juice—when they were all smoking pot. A combination of low self-esteem, social anxiety, and depression over a breakup with a girlfriend precipitated the first cutting incident, leading to the first of many incarcerations in the psychiatric wing of hospitals, shock treatments, “psychotropic cocktails” that increasingly bloated his body, intensive therapy with idiosyncratic doctors, and occasional tender acquaintances with young anorexic women patients. After nearly two decades of spiraling mental illness leading to self-injury, the author was finally able to “recapture his mind” with the help of targeted drugs, therapy, family support, and, perhaps most key, a mission (thanks to Wally Lamb’s encouragement) to write his dark, affecting human story for “the mentally ill voices who don’t ever get to speak, to shout and be heard.” Agent:, Richard Abate. (Sept.)
Wally Lamb
“David Fitzpatrick’s Sharp is a must read, remarkably told.”
Kate Christensen
Sharp is a courageously honest book by a gentle, damaged soul who fought his way to the light with a ferocity he never thought he possessed. Fitzpatrick’s recounting of his struggle with severe mental illness shines with intelligence, pain and hard-won, self-confidence. ”
Michael White
“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.”
Rachel Basch
“Tortured and tormented as he was, Fitzpatrick never blinks as he recounts his residency in hell. Piercingly honest, he forces us to recognize and embrace the most broken parts of ourselves. Be forewarned: this book will expand your heart and mind.”
Kirkus Reviews
A young man harrowingly details the depth of a two-decade bout with mental illness. Fitzpatrick's unsettling memoir begins innocently enough with early memories of summers spent on Cape Cod as the middle child of five in an Irish Catholic family. But his bucolic upbringing was marred by his brother's rough, mean-spirited version of sibling horseplay, a string of predatory men inexplicably propositioning him and the merciless emotional and physical mistreatment from his cruel, stoner college roommates. This, coupled with the dissolution of an intense, if short-lived, love affair, perhaps precipitated the initial psychiatric breakdown he had in Boston while in his early 20s. Fitzpatrick found mental relief by randomly slicing into his skin, a behavior he justified by claiming that "it just helps me loosen up." His incremental descent into psychosis sorrowfully continued a familial lineage "spiked with mental illness." The author provides an extensively detailed chronicle of 17 years spent at the mercy of debilitating mental incapacitation as he juggled eccentric psychiatric professionals, potent psychotropic drug cocktails, questionable alternative therapies, lost, depressive female friends and an exhaustive procession of inpatient psychiatric programs. Aided by a precise drug regimen and thoughtful psychiatry, Fitzpatrick quite miraculously managed to restore his sanity a few years ago. There's nothing tentative in the author's intense avalanche of grim histrionics; he writes with a personal urgency initially tapped by author Wally Lamb, who encouraged him to commit his experiences to paper. 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062064028
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
08/21/2012
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.14(d)

What People are saying about this

Rachel Basch
“Tortured and tormented as he was, Fitzpatrick never blinks as he recounts his residency in hell. Piercingly honest, he forces us to recognize and embrace the most broken parts of ourselves. Be forewarned: this book will expand your heart and mind.”
Michael White
“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.”
Wally Lamb
“David Fitzpatrick’s Sharp is a must read, remarkably told.”
Kate Christensen
Sharp is a courageously honest book by a gentle, damaged soul who fought his way to the light with a ferocity he never thought he possessed. Fitzpatrick’s recounting of his struggle with severe mental illness shines with intelligence, pain and hard-won, self-confidence. ”

Meet the Author

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. He works part-time at an auto dealership and is married to a graphic designer and fellow writer, Amy Holmes. His work has been published by The New Haven Review, Barely South Review, and Fiction Weekly. He lives in Middletown, Connecticut.

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