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His Bright Light: The Story of Nick Traina Paperback – February 8, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Like Kurt Cobain, Nick Traina lived for punk rock (his bands made two CDs, Gift Before I Go and 17 Reasons), succumbed to heroin addiction, and died of suicide. His mom, Danielle Steel, takes us through her 19 twister-like years with Nick in a memoir more affecting than her potboiler novels. Like his AWOL addict father, Nick had good looks, bad behavior, and a yen for the feminine. Five days before he died, he phoned a woman he saw in a centerfold and had a new girlfriend by nightfall. But his fun was ever haunted by manic depression. At age 11, he was a bed wetter who ate all the Tylenol and Sudafed in the house. He first considered suicide at 13, as Steel learned by reading his diaries after his death.

There is tension in this story--one doctor told Steel if she could get Nick to live to 30, he'd probably live a normal life span. (For example, Nick's troubled dad resurfaced, sober, soon after his son's death.) And Steel conveys a sense of the intelligence Nick used to conceal his learning disability, and the irreverent charm that alternated with irrational rages. Oliver Sacks has urged us not to ask what neurological disease a person has, but what sort of person the disease has got hold of. Steel gives us a vivid sense of the costs of the disease to a family--and of the person who was Nick Traina. --Tim Appelo --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

The best-selling novelist on the lifeAand deathAof the manic depressive son she loved so deeply.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Delta; Reprint edition (February 8, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385334672
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385334679
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (424 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,113 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Danielle Steel has been hailed as one of the world's most popular authors, with over 590 million copies of her novels sold. Her many international bestsellers include 44 Charles Street, Legacy, Family Ties, Big Girl, Southern Lights, Matters of the Heart, One Day at a Time, and other highly acclaimed novels. She is also the author of His Bright Light, the story of her son Nick Traina's life and death.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 70 people found the following review helpful By eriniverson@yahoo.com on March 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
I am 14 years old and just finished this story. It's always sad when someone loses their life, especially if they are young and seem to have a bright future ahead of them. Danielle Steel did a wonderful job telling the harrowing tale of her baby boy. (If you read some of the other reviews, some say that Ms. Steel only wrote the book for money. I disagree completely and don't understand where they get off saying that because the proceeds go to the Nick Traina Foundation and the sorrow of losing a child is not something that is taken lightly, esecially by the mother) I saw an ad for His Bright Light and decided to read it to learn about this serious illness. It taught me a lot about how manic depressives act and what goes on inside their heads. At the end I cried when I found out how he died and the events of the days before he did. If you would like to learn more about manic depression from something other then a medical textbook or are a fan of Link 80 and/or Knowledge, read this book and get know Nick Traina and the mother who loved him and never gave up hope.
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Eric K. VINE VOICE on May 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
I admit it. I've never read a Danielle Steel book. I've never been interested enough, although I know many people who rave about her. Her stories just aren't necessarily my "cup of tea." However, I was highly recommended this true-story book about her son's life by a friend of mine, so I decided to give it a try.
I got to experience DS's flair for writing and its conversational style. It was very easy to read and held my interest. Pages flowed into the next. I can see her widespread appeal.
Not only was the story sad yet uplifting, but "His Bright Light" helped me to understand manic depressive behavior intimately as DS learned it herself over the years. It was quite the lesson in psychology for those who don't want to get bogged down with or can't quite grasp the technical or scientific aspects of it.
I highly recommend this book for anyone wanting to know more about the disease, her son's life, as well as DS's life. She provides some great autobiographical material for those interested. It's a quick read, and it'll be worth the effort, especially if you know someone with similar challenges in their own life...
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Califmom@aol.com on May 11, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I've never read any of Danielle Steele's fictional novels, but I flew through this account of the life of her son, Nick Traina. His struggles with Bipolar Disorder, and her heartbreak are heartwrenching, but as the mother of a child who lives in the same tortured world, I am inspired by the strength of Nick's dreams, his family's love, and his mother's creativity in her unending search for appropriate resources. This book is filled with personal letters, poems, and song lyrics. There are lots of photographs of Nick and his family punctuating many of the chapters. This is an intimate book. Ms. Steele has opened her heart here, even though it was probably painful. She says in the forward that one of her reasons for writing this book was that she hoped she could educate people about this often-fatal mental illness. That was certainly a worthy goal, and this is the only book I've seen which deals with the trials of Bipolar Disorder in CHILDHOOD. She's managed something else, in my case, however. The Story of Nick Traina made me feel that, if Danielle Steel could survive her son's white-hot dance with life, so can I face whatever years lie ahead for my daughter and our family. It wouldn't matter if this book were poorly written, which I don't believe it is; this is an inspiring, diary-honest, easy-read. It's full of practical, creative suggestions for living with a mentally-ill child. It's about remembering to look for rainbows after devastating storms. It's an unforgettable eulogy of a beautiful young man. It's a book every teacher, minister,medical professional, and library should own.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By "intentaccess" on June 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
I have never read a book that has touched my heart like this did. I read this extraordinary story from this courageous mother three times now.
I myself have been recently diagnosed with Bipolar disorder. I am not a child but in fact I am in my thirties with three children of my own. My level of manic depressant isn't near to the same as Nick's was. I seem to run more manic then the suicidal. However, what goes up must come down. I have had great success with Lithium and live a happy normal life. While reading this story I can relate. As even though everybody with this disease is not going to be on the same level there are in fact similarities. One's which indeed start with us as a child. I know I took a very good look at my own childhood through this story and the signs were always there but as Ms. Steele went through how hard it is to know these are in fact signs.
This book has you go through every emotion there is. I laughed, at her remarks about the doctors as it is indeed very true. There are so many out there, some good, some better, some stupid and some who just don't care. I even laughed when Nick left the camp and when he telephoned his mother and she asked where he was at and he was on the highway. That was me, if I told you they were not giving me my medication it was because they were not, and I couldn't understand anything else even though you may of though it to be " a story" or " delusional " and if I said I was leaving the next call you got from me would have also been on the highway. At least I called! Then you also cry, even with this event. You can feel this mother, in her hotel room thousands and thousands of miles away, with all the other children, you feel her frustration, despair and the entire emotional experience.
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