Where Are the Cocoa Puffs?: A Family's Journey Through Bipolar Disorder [NOOK Book]

Overview

As eighteen-year-old Amanda spirals into mania, her father, psychiatrist Dr. Jerry Benson, sees the realization of his worst fears: his daughter is not just moody, but truly ill. With his words, his diagnosis--manic depressive illness--his world and that of his family is forever altered. Carol, Amanda's mother, struggles with the guilt and shame of having raised a "crazy" daughter. Christy, Amanda's fifteen-year-old sister, denies the illness; ...
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Where Are the Cocoa Puffs?: A Family's Journey Through Bipolar Disorder

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Overview

As eighteen-year-old Amanda spirals into mania, her father, psychiatrist Dr. Jerry Benson, sees the realization of his worst fears: his daughter is not just moody, but truly ill. With his words, his diagnosis--manic depressive illness--his world and that of his family is forever altered. Carol, Amanda's mother, struggles with the guilt and shame of having raised a "crazy" daughter. Christy, Amanda's fifteen-year-old sister, denies the illness; after all, my sister's a bitch is so much easier to accept.

Meanwhile, the Bensons' extended family offers up everything from unconditional support to uncomfortable scrutiny as Amanda careens between bouts of frightening violence, cosmic euphoria, and suicidal despair. Then there's Ryan, an architecture student who is initially ensnared by Amanda's manic sexuality, but is ultimately captured and held throughout the chaos by the force of love and strength of family.

Where Are the Cocoa Puffs?: A Family's Journey Through Bipolar Disorder follows a family through the tragedy of bipolar disorder, but it's not tragic. It's funny, sad, and thought provoking--and as real and as raw as mental illness itself.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781936636013
  • Publisher: Goodman Beck Publishing
  • Publication date: 12/22/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 268
  • Sales rank: 326,222
  • File size: 592 KB

Meet the Author

Karen Winters Schwartz was born and raised in Mansfield, Ohio. She wrote her first truly good story at age seven. Her second-grade teacher, Mrs. Schneider, publicly and falsely accused her of plagiarism. She did not write again for forty years.

In-between, she moved to Columbus, Ohio, where she spent thirteen years of her life pursuing a seemingly endless education at The Ohio State University. She received her undergraduate degree in microbiology, her Master of Science in immunology, and a Doctorate in Optometry. Winters Schwartz met her future husband, Paul, at a student optometric conference in Chicago. They were both slightly drunk and it was love at first sight. They married in 1987, moved to Central New York, and bought a house on the shores of Otisco Lake--the "pinky finger" of the Finger Lakes. There they began their lives together, their careers as optometrists, and raised two daughters, who are now off to change the world--hopefully in a good way.

Winters Schwartz is an active board member of NAMI Syracuse (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and an advocate for mental illness awareness. This is her debut novel.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 20 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 20 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2010

    Highly recommended

    This book is one that you don't want to put down till you're finished and even then you wish there were more. A great story with charming characters. Breakthrough in that it deals with a topic that so many are afraid to talk about - bipolar disorder.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 11, 2010

    Exciting! Keeps you interested frrom first page to last.

    Couldn't put it down. This is one of the books that you must read...and read now. Riviting and believeable.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 6, 2010

    Great book!

    Characters very real, story raw, scary, and humourous, a great read. Taught me much about the desease of bipolar while entertaining me, I saw the familie's experiences from many angles, helped me to understand what folks are going through.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 12, 2010

    Truth in Fiction

    As a Clinical Psychologist, I have eagerly awaited the release of this novel, and I can assure you that it does not disappoint. The story provides a non-stop read which offers truth, insight, and hope regarding the many challenges of coping with Bipolar Disorder, not only for the individual diagnosed, but for her loved ones. I look forward to many more creations from this engaging author!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderful Book!

    From the very first page of Where Are the Cocoa Puffs? the reader is drawn into the folds of this family; and once there, you really just don't want to leave. Funny, sad; this novel depicts the ties that bind. In spite of its subject matter - bipolar disorder - this story is ultimately about love and of family. Pick up this book; you won't be able to put it back down. Although I was glad as I read the final words at one o'clock in the morning that the book was only 270 pages long, when I awoke, I was missing the Benson family and longing for more!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Devastating Effects Of Mental Illness

    After receiving a heartbreaking diagnosis as being manic depressive, eighteen-year-old Amanda Benson's life soon begins to spin wildly out of control. As her thoughts, words, and deeds swing violently between euphoric highs and abysmal lows, her family struggles to embrace her worsening condition while simultaneously coming to grips with the unpredictable new reality they all face. Further adding to the complications: the unwitting Ryan, Amanda's love interest who soon becomes inextricably ensnared in her and her family's tortuous world. Together, they're forced to learn how to support, empower, and embolden one another as all sense of normalcy as they once knew it is forever changed...

    Where Are The Cocoa Puffs? is a strikingly eye-opening read. Even though it's a fictional account, author Karen Schwartz's vivid tale paints a compelling portrait of a family in crisis, highlighting the incredible strain that mental illness can place on even the tightest of bonds. Given the difficulty of her plight, Amanda serves as quite the sympathetic protagonist, but as the tale unfolds Schwartz does a commendable job of displaying the very personal ways in which her illness affects everyone; as such, anyone who's ever wondered what it would be like to experience the emotional roller coaster of mental illness will find a sterling example in Where Are The Cocoa Puffs? A thought-provoking account of just how fragile even the strongest of family ties can often be.


    Karynda Lewis
    Apex Reviews

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 28, 2010

    Kept pulling back....

    A first novel? This is better than 'The Notebook'. Karen Winters Schwartz is a terrific story teller. Don't pass it by.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 9, 2010

    BRILLIANT!

    This book takes the reader through the labyrinth of emotions that is associated with having a family member that is suffering with a mental illness. A must read for mental health professionals and anyone that care about or works with persons with a mental illness. The characters are portrayed brilliantly - should be a movie!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 3, 2010

    Very Good Read - Definitely recommend

    I am not a voracious reader, yet, I devoured this book in two sittings. An interesting and insightful look into a world I had little understanding of. It's the kind of book you hope there is a sequel to, so you can find out how the rest of the character's lives play out.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Truly Absorbing

    Simply put, the kind of read where you're drawn into the characters' lives and almost feel estrangement and alienation once you're done reading, still wanting a window--a vein, a pulse--into their lives.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 1, 2010

    Remarkable and real characters - a "must read"!

    I laughed and cried and cared for the characters right away, especially for the mother and her struggles. This book does more than simply entertain; it makes one more grateful for mental health and more compassionate and understanding towards those and their families, friends and loved ones who suffer from mental illness.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 13, 2010

    A Roller Coaster Ride That Offers Insight and Hope

    What would it like to be part of a family when one of its members, an eighteen year old, Amanda, begins to exhibit wild mood swings that are finally diagnosed as a bipolar disorder? By entering the interiors of the young woman's mother, father, sister, boyfriend, and Amanda, Karen Winters Schwartz's novel, Where Are the Cocoa Puffs?, takes the reader on that roller coaster with insight and sympathy for all. Spending time with this family will be a comfort to those who have had similar experiences and it will deepen the compassion of those who haven't. The novel accurately portrays the complexities and strain of living with someone who has a mental illness, but it also offers hope as a result of the medical world's increasing understanding of biochemical imbalances in the brain.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2010

    Insightful Read

    I found this novel to be very insightful into the modern day family with teenagers. The big "dip" on the roller coaster happens to be bipolar disorder but the novel addresses the deeper issues of conflicts found within a family. It is a novel with substance and Karen's prose is a delight to read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2012

    Now I get it

    This is a must read for EVERYONE. After reading I have such a better understanding of mental illness, but also of one of my bestfriends lives, as this was her story also. Great read.

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  • Posted October 25, 2011

    Very good, A must read

    I have a nephew that has this disease and this book was so similar to what our family has been through. It is a tough road.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2013

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    Posted July 20, 2011

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    Posted May 3, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2013

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