Sharp: A Memoir [NOOK Book]

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 ...

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Sharp: A Memoir

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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.

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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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062064042
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/21/2012
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 294,251
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

David Fitzpatrick

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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Table of Contents

Prologue 1

1 Family History 4

2 Relative Innocence 18

3 Being Watched 34

4 The Four Pricks of the Apocalypse 46

5 A Reprieve of Sorts 59

6 Disintegrating in Boston 90

7 "Club Med for the Brain" 129

8 First Sight and Holly's Emergence 163

9 The Life of Maddy and Continued Submersion 206

10 Flirting with Hope in Kansas 233

11 Lost and Adrift Everywhere 259

12 Just Breathe 288

13 A Redemptive Chat 312

Epilogue: First Night Out 332

Acknowledgments 351

Important Links and Sites 353

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2012

    Brilliantly evocative of what it is like to live inside a diseased brain. Livung Living Inside the mp

    Captures the actual experience of living inside a diseased mind. Mental illness as hell on earth. My son recently died of the same disease. It was fascinating to be able to experience my son's horrors, described by a gifted writer in a way my child could not share. I am happy Mr. Fitzgerald was able to survive to tell his, and my precious son's, story... but with a far happier ending.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2012

    A y A very A close look into something most are too afraid to acknowledge

    This is an insightful and beautifully written memoir. A tragic journey with a beautiful outcome. Five well deserved stars.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2013

    Tl

    Ran in and up to Sharp Claw. Help! He begged and took him to violet music result 4~Tl

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2013

    Sharpclaw

    He orginized some herbs. ~Sharp Claw

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2013

    Blackthorn

    Next result

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 10, 2013

    We lost 4 members of the Guilford High School Class of 84: David

    We lost 4 members of the Guilford High School Class of 84: David Ciardello, Richard Eaton, Ronnie Burns, and Lars Schulze. We almost lost David Fitzpatrick. David Fitzpatrick was our most beloved classmate. He was popular, but always nice to kids on the outskirts like me. Although he was a class clown, he always respected his teachers and often made them laugh along. He was voted best personality and best smile. He was our golden boy, and he made school a lot more fun.

    I remember looking around for David at one of our high school reunions, and learned that he had had a nervous breakdown and was living in a group home in a bad neighborhood in New Haven. It was whispered that he had gained a couple of hundred pounds and was zonked out on anti-psychotic drugs. It was one of the heartbreaking stories I had ever heard. No one thought any less of David, we were just sad and we missed him dearly.

    Nearly 20 years later, David has emerged from the hell of mental illness. And he isn't just surviving--he is triumphing. At the age of 40, after nearly 2 decades of institutional living, he went back to college and earned his MFA (Master of Fine Arts) in creative writing from Fairfield University. He married a beautiful, intelligent woman who is a professional writer and graphic designer.

    Not only is David living a healthy and productive life, he has accomplished every writer's dream--he has completed a riveting memoir which is being published by HarperCollins, and hits the shelves on August 21st.

    Our prayers have been answered. Fitzy is back.

    And he's getting rave reviews:

    "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." --Kirkus

    "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." --Publisher's Weekly.

    "Harrowing. Fitzpatrick's own story pales in comparison to those of some of his fellow patients. 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

    This month's Connecticut Magazine has a great article about David's writing and his friendship with author Wally Lamb and book agent Richard Abate. HarperCollins was hesitant at first about publishing the memoir due its dark subject matter. Wally Lamb helped convince the editors that David Fitzpatrick's work is as noteworthy as William Styron's classic Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness, and that it's a story that needs to be told. Like Styron's book, Sharp offers a beautifully written, insider's view of surviving the terror of mental illness.

    Sharp is one of the best memoirs I've ever read. It ranks right up there with Dry by Augusten Burroughs, Breakdowns by Art Spiegelman, and Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews

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