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Hurry Down Sunshine Hardcover – Deckle Edge, September 9, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best of the Month, September 2008: Michael Greenberg's spare, unflinching memoir begins with a bang: "On July 5, 1996, my daughter was struck mad." Hurry Down Sunshine chronicles the summer when fifteen-year-old Sally experienced her first full-blown manic episode—an event that in a "single stroke" changed her identity and, by extension, that of her entire family. Simply told and beautifully written, Greenberg's memoir shines a stark light on mental illness, painting a vivid picture of a brain and body under siege—mania as a separate living thing squatting within the patient. As a writer who lives "so much in his head," Greenberg is particularly anguished by his daughter's fractured psyche, and his honesty about being both sickened and fascinated by his daughter's condition is breathtaking: "During the worst moments, I think of her as my disease—the disease I must bear...I am intoxicated with Sally's madness in both senses of the word: inebriated and poisoned." So desperate is he to understand her, that he relentlessly researches mental illness (the book is peppered with fascinating insights into drug therapy and anecdotes about writers who struggled with madness), and even goes so far as to sample a full dose of his daughter's medication. Startling, heart-wrenching, and yet unwaveringly unsentimental, Hurry Down Sunshine is an unforgettable story of a young girl's descent into madness, told through the eyes of a harried and helpless father trying desperately to bring her back. --Daphne Durham

From Publishers Weekly

Greenberg, a columnist for London's Times Literary Supplement, was living in Greenwich Village in 1996 when his 15-year-old daughter, Sally, suddenly became manic, importuning strangers and ranting in the streets about her newfound cosmic wisdom. She was a danger to herself and others, so her father and stepmother had her committed to a psychiatric facility. Greenberg was no stranger to mental illness; he'd been caring for his dysfunctional brother most of their adult lives. Still, Sally was so brilliant, so caring, he couldn't bear the thought of her ending up like his brother. During the 24 long days Sally spent in the hospital, Greenberg learned to cope. He watched a Hasidic family visiting with their mentally ill young man. He pondered his ex-wife going to cuddle with Sally, as if she were still a little girl. He listened to his mother explain her troubled marriage and the subsequent mental illness of his brother. He wondered at his present wife's resilience. After Sally's discharge, questions of how they would adjust to their new lives were complicated in very different ways. In this well-written and sincere memoir, Greenberg proves to be a caring man trying to find his way through the minefield of a loved one's madness. (Sept.)
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This Book Is Bound with "Deckle Edge" Paper
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 234 pages
  • Publisher: Other Press; First Edition edition (September 9, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590511913
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590511916
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,048,105 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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121 of 127 people found the following review helpful By Pamela V VINE VOICE on July 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Hurry Down Sunshine, by Michael Greenberg, is right up my alley. I am a nurse working with geriatric psyche patients, and I love a good memoir. The story is about Sally, the author's fifteen year old daughter. Diagnosed as Bipolar, she exhibited classic symptoms of the disease, albeit at a younger age than most. I read this book in a matter of hours, engrossed in the story from beginning to end. The author's extended family adds a cast of colorful characters to the story also. (I found the plight of the authors brother as captivating as Sally's saga...)

This could have been a story about the hopelessness of psyche patients and the ineptness of psychiatrists, therapists and others inevitably encountered when one reluctantly enters a mental health facility, but it wasn't that at all. The Greenberg's were lucky to find a doctor who used both therapy and pharmacology to treat their daughter's disease, and a positive outcome was had. The author went to unusual lengths himself to learn more about the drugs his daughter was prescribed, and you have to applaud him for that also. I enjoyed the book and recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about Bipolar Disorder, or someone looking for a good weekend read.
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54 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Rick Shaq Goldstein on September 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The most defenseless moment a parent will ever experience is when they are absolutely helpless in the protection or healing of their child. How many times has a parent caressed the feverish brow of their child and attempted to rock their child to sleep. From the placing of a band aid on a knee... to removing a splinter... a parent has the magical gift of comfort... to their beloved flesh and blood. Even in the more serious case of rushing your child to the emergency room to have a bleeding wound stitched up... you are involved in the security and well being of your bundle of heavenly love (even if he is six-foot-three) that you as a parent have been blessed with.

But how deep would the bottomless abyss of your very soul fall to... if your child's entire persona... including their temperament... and mental acuity... was snatched away... like a thief in the night... in a blink of an eye? What type of inner fortitude would it take for the parent to not only have the strength to climb out of the abyss... but what kind of faith would be necessary to see the light at the end of the pitch black tunnel?

On July 5, 1996 author Michael Greenberg's fifteen-year-old daughter Sally "was struck mad". There was now a chasm between Sally and the rest of the world. How bad was this sudden psychotic crack in the mental health of Michael's teenage daughter? How bad do the "new" mental mannerisms have to be for a Father to continually hope that his daughter has a drug problem? The author writes powerfully in the style of a street poet that is writing words with the pain of his guts. In describing his daughter's outbursts he says: "AND SHE IS TALKING, OR RATHER PUSHING WORDS FROM HER MOUTH THE WAY A SHOPKEEPER PUSHES DUST OUT THE DOOR OF HER SHOP WITH A BROOM.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Sam Sattler on August 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
On July 5, 1996, Michael Greenberg suddenly had to face the fact that his fifteen-year-old daughter was exhibiting severe mental problems. Hoping at first that her mania was drug-induced so that it could more easily be corrected, Greenberg finally came to realize that he and the girl's stepmother had completely missed his daughter's gradual descent into the illness that would require her to be committed for a time to a New York City mental health facility for treatment. Hurry Down Sunshine is Greenberg's account of what his family faced that summer and how they survived the crisis.

What Michael Greenberg has to say as he describes his family's experience is somewhat terrifying and comforting at the same time. On the one hand, he and his daughter, Sally, were lucky that they stumbled onto caring professionals from the beginning, starting with the policeman who recognized Sally's irrational behavior on the street and brought her home, on to those who manned the mental health facility itself, and ending with the woman who treated Sally after her release from that hospital. Sally's best interests were always foremost in the minds of these people. On the other hand, Greenberg was a self-employed writer with very little in the way of cash or other assets that could be earmarked to pay for Sally's treatment. Consider his shock, for instance, when he went to the pharmacy to pick up her prescription drugs for the first time and was told that they would cost him $750 since he had no medical insurance.

Sally was slow to get better and, as Greenberg and his wife faced mental, physical and emotional exhaustion, they found indications that Sally was making any progress hard to detect.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Brad Teare VINE VOICE on August 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Due to a recent diagnosis of a friend I ordered this book to understand bipolar disorder and this book will help readers cope with manic depression. But it is much more than a vivid description of mental illness. Hurry Down Sunshine is a compassionate and wise narrative by a gifted writer.

The book contains a cast of deftly defined characters, including a brother with mental health issues, a supportive ex-wife, the new wife, as well as the afflicted daughter. These authentically rendered individuals give the narrative depth and free it from the plodding self-absorption that mars many memoirs. The book reads more like a novel and better than most fiction I've read recently.

Once I started Hurry Down Sunshine I raced to finish it to its complex, powerful, yet satisfying ending.
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