Gorilla and the Bird: A Memoir of Madness and a Mother's Love

Gorilla and the Bird: A Memoir of Madness and a Mother's Love

by Zack McDermott

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Overview

"Glorious...one of the best memoirs I've read in years...a tragicomic gem about family, class, race, justice, and the spectacular weirdness of Wichita. [McDermott] can move from barely controlled hilarity to the brink of rage to aching tenderness in a single breath." — Marya Hornbacher, New York Times Book Review

Zack McDermott, a 26-year-old Brooklyn public defender, woke up one morning convinced he was being filmed, Truman Show-style, as part of an audition for a TV pilot. Every passerby was an actor; every car would magically stop for him; everything he saw was a cue from "The Producer" to help inspire the performance of a lifetime. After a manic spree around Manhattan, Zack, who is bipolar, was arrested on a subway platform and admitted to Bellevue Hospital.

So begins the story of Zack's freefall into psychosis and his desperate, poignant, often hilarious struggle to claw his way back to sanity. It's a journey that will take him from New York City back to his Kansas roots and to the one person who might be able to save him, his tough, big-hearted Midwestern mother, nicknamed the Bird, whose fierce and steadfast love is the light in Zack's dark world.

Before his odyssey is over, Zack will be tackled by guards in mental wards, run naked through cornfields, receive secret messages from the TV, befriend a former Navy Seal and his talking stuffed monkey, and see the Virgin Mary in the whorls of his own back hair. But with the Bird's help, he just might have a shot at pulling through, starting over, and maybe even meeting a partner who can love him back, bipolar and all.

Introducing an electrifying new voice, Gorilla and the Bird is a raw and unforgettable account of a young man's unraveling and the relationship that saves him.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316315142
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 09/26/2017
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 1,225,047
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Zack McDermott has worked as a public defender for The Legal Aid Society of New York. His work has appeared in the New York TimesThis American LifeMorning Edition, and Gawker, among other places. He lives in New York and LA. 

What People are Saying About This

New York Times bestselling author of Bettyville - George Hodgman

"Zack McDermott's portrait of a mind under assault from bi-polar illness is both fascinating and heart-breaking to observe, and he takes us into his experience with riveting intensity. But McDermott's real achievement is capturing the moving determination and steadfast love of the mother who saves him, the remarkable Bird who breaks the loneliness, quiets the fear and gives him a home worth returning to, a special harbor that saves him. I was so moved by this book and these people."

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