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Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See (Ala Notable Books for Adults) Paperback – November 12, 2013

4.1 out of 5 stars 182 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, December 2012: Debut novelist Juliann Garey channels movie studio exec Greyson Todd’s spiral into madness with the intimacy of memoir. Punctuated by electroshock treatments that dampen Greyson's extremes at the expense of his sense of self, Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See maps his memories before and since his mother’s death threw his mind for a perpetual loop. Greyson's roaring mania has an upside: It spawns a lust for risks that reward him richly in Hollywood. But as the highs give way to immobilizing lows that become impossible to hide, he leaves his wife and daughter and disappears into the Israeli outback, then Nairobi, Bangkok, and eventually New York, where everyone is “impatient and irritable and agitated,” so he fits right in. Deep cash reserves allow Greyson to indulge the urges brought on by full-blown bipolar disorder for a good decade before he lands in a psych ward, and his exploits take on spectacularly lavish, absurd proportions, but you’ll laugh through gritted teeth. And though you may not ever like him, you’ll know his pain well enough to be grateful for every grain of sanity he regains. --Mari Malcolm --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

In Garey's debut novel, Greyson Todd is a high-flying movie executive who, in 1984, leaves his studio job and his wife and eight-year-old daughter, and embarks on a worldwide tour. Ten years later, he is in a New York hospital being treated for bipolar disorder—which he has struggled with for decades—and given electroshock treatment. In between, we get the story of Greyson's conflicted marriage to Ellen, and his childhood with a failure for a father. As he travels around the world, Greyson hops from Rome to the Negev, Bangkok, Santiago, and Uganda, but his adventures seldom rise above the level of travelogue. Only when he finally lands in New York, where he settles down in Chelsea, and the author details the steps leading up to Greyson's nervous breakdown, does the story become sufficiently dramatic. Otherwise, the achronological structure works against the narrative by not allowing the reader to chart the progress of Greyson's mental illness. The author's take on what it was like to be raised on the show business periphery of Beverly Hills in the late 1950s feels authentic. In the end, though, this earnest novel about depression breaks no new ground in its depiction of the subject. Agent: Paul Bresnick, the Paul Bresnick Agency. (Dec.) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Ala Notable Books for Adults
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Press; Reprint edition (November 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616953446
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616953447
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (182 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #766,861 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Many who have experienced clinical depression or live with bipolar disorder have stated that they would trade physical pain rather than endure another episode of these mental maladies. This philosophy is certainly evident in Juliann Garey's new novel.

Greyson Todd is plummeting into madness and the reader has a front row seat on three levels. There are three timelines in the narrative as Greyson undergoes twelve 30 second ECT's (electroshock treatments) in a New York psychiatric department. The book is timely because ECT has apparently been re-born and become vogue (with refinements) after the negative history of its treatment. We all remember the movies when the tormented patients would be strapped down to undergo shock treatments and wake up with memory loss and a loss of their former personalities. It was often a complete wipe-out.

During these shock treatments, the reader experiences the intimacies of his marriage to Ellen, his surrender to his well-hidden bipolar disorder when he leaves his family, and destruction of his own father who, most likely, was bipolar. Garey puts us inside of Greyson's mind. I experienced his anguish, his disregard for all that could be sacred to him. As he unravels, his pain is overwhelming and the core of his madness is palpable.

Greyson (a great name) disguised his disorder for years as a rising and successful Hollywood studio executive. He is one smart guy which was evident as a child when his heart broke for his saintly mother and his anger at his destructive father. He would try and pull it together for everyone but in this story, he finally gave in to the agony.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a story devoid of much, if any happiness, for the protagonist named Greyson Todd, who is an attorney originally acting as an agent for celebrities and later as a big time studio exec in Hollywood of the 1980s. The problem is that Greyson suffers from Type I manic depression now commonly referred to as Bipolar Disorder Type I with its extreme swings from manic highs to suicidal lows, generally fueled by alcohol abuse, as it true in real life with such patients. He wants to live a life of happiness and normalcy, but just can't seem to be able to find it due to his cycling mental illness.

Greyson has an obviously failed marriage from his wife Ellen along with an abandoned daughter, named Willa in honor of his mother, who simply wants a Daddy to love her and love him back in return. Before that can become a reality he leaves both of them in a fit of depression where running away to start over seems the only obvious solution to him.

As with real life, everything he holds dear is lost and he cycles through innumerable meaningless love affairs during his manic periods and then makes innumerable suicide attempts at the height of his corresponding depressive episodes. The author does a wonderful job of describing this form of psychotic mental illness that is far more common than most people realize.

The reality is that after years on the run hiding from life and the mental demons that perpetually torture him he is hospitalized after some very bizarre behavior resulting in him receiving ECT [shock therapy] with its typical result of amnesia. The last part of the story deals with his daughter visiting him while he is hospitalized and what transpires between them.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Dear reader, don't assume that TOO BRIGHT TO HEAR TOO LOUD TO SEE is another clichéd depiction of the irrational manic behavior of a mentally ill character which seems to be so popular in film and literature these days. Far, far from it. This is an intimate, exploratory journey into the interior landscape of an untreated Bipolar I afflicted mind. And true, current books and cinema are heavily into every psychological aspect of mental health and the diagnoses, the treatments, the fads, and the attitudes toward mental illness of late, but this novel is an exception to the rule, a barbed and wickedly intelligent, page-turning thriller... a disorienting yet revelatory masterpiece.

This is not just another bipolar story written by an outsider looking in, created to appeal to psychology buffs, or to folks diagnosed with some kind of emotional imbalance du jour, or to those individuals undergoing serious psychological turmoil, or even to the Bildungsroman addicts. No. It is an authentic, startling, and precise story superimposed upon the author Juliann Garey's own personal diagnosis of Bipolar I Disorder.

TOO BRIGHT TO HEAR TOO LOUD TO SEE is a look inside the thought-racing, neuron-ravaged, synapse-tortured mind of her main character, Greyson Todd.

"Little by little, thread by thread, I have been coming untethered. From things. From people. From voices and meaning.
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