David Fitzpatrick’s Sharp is an extraordinary memoir—a fascinating, disturbing look into the mind of a man who, in his early 20s, began cutting himself due to a severe mental illness. A beautifully written treatment of a powerful subject, Fitzpatrick—whose symptoms included extreme depression and self-mutilation—writes movingly and honestly about his affliction and inspires readers with his courage, joining the literary ranks of Terri Cheney (Manic), Augusten Burroughs (Running with Scissors), Marya Hornbacher (Wasted), and Susanna Kaysen (Girl, Interrupted).
“A harrowing journey from self-destructive psychosis to a cautious re-emergence into the flickering sunshine of the sane world….Fitzpatrick writes about mental illness with the unsparing intensity of Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton but also with the hard-won self-knowledge of William Styron, Kay Jamison, and other chroniclers of disease, recovery, and management…. A must read, remarkably told.”—Wally Lamb, author of I Know This Much is True
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About 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.
Table of Contents
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
Important Links and Sites 353
What People are Saying About This
“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.”
“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.”
“David Fitzpatrick’s Sharp is a must read, remarkably told.”
“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. ”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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.
Ran in and up to Sharp Claw. Help! He begged and took him to violet music result 4~Tl
This is an insightful and beautifully written memoir. A tragic journey with a beautiful outcome. Five well deserved stars.
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.