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In Love With Daylight: A Memoir of Recovery Paperback – June, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Akadine Pr; Reissue edition (June 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1888173874
  • ISBN-13: 978-1888173871
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #985,531 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Noted critic, novelist and essayist Sheed recounts his recovery from three major illnesses in this highly personal, torturous, oddly exhilarating chronicle. The first illness, polio, struck in 1945 when he was 14. With unbridled optimism, Sheed struggled for years with a disease that "seemed much more like a vacation from the pains of growing up than an addition to them." The book's centerpiece, his plunge into depression triggered by addiction to sleeping pills and alcohol in his mid-50s, unfolds a nightmare of panic attacks, manic highs, proliferating phobias and suicidal dementia. Sheed found scant relief through a stay in a sanatorium, antidepressants or lithium, on all of which he heaps scorn. His recovery seemed to follow its own logic and inner mechanisms of healing. Diagnosed with cancer in 1991, he underwent operations of the tongue and neck, as well as radiation treatments, a two-year ordeal he describes with wit and gallantry.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Novelist Reynolds Price (A Whole New Life, LJ 3/1/94) battled spinal cancer; essayist Lucy Grealy (Autobiography of a Face, LJ 7/94) struggled to restore her disfigured face; writer Gretel Ehrlich (A Match to the Heart, Pantheon, 1994) survived being struck by lightning; author Paul West (A Stroke of Genius, LJ 11/1/94) endured a string of illnesses. Critic Sheed (Essays in Disguise, LJ 3/1/90) joins his literary colleagues with this memoir of his recovery from childhood polio, depression caused by pill and alcohol addiction, and cancer. However, his rambling, tortuous musings lack the emotional power of the other works, and the reader often wishes Sheed would get to the point. Saying very little about his bouts with polio and cancer, Sheed focuses mostly on his effort to overcome his addictions; he has no kind words for psychiatrists, 12-step programs, and "Happy Valley" sanatoriums. Still, his saving grace is humor and optimism in the face of disaster. For larger collections.
-?Wilda Williams, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Caponsacchi HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 21, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A memoir in which Sheed, an avid sports fan, takes on three worthy opponents--polio, addiction, and cancer--and not only stays in the ring with each but emerges triumphant. But the book's uniqueness and value is not easily summed up. Sheed's accomplishment is to take the reader into a place where all of the counselors, physicans and self-help gurus rarely arrive, and he does so without a trace of self-pity, moralizing, or exhibitionism. He uses his own experience to dissect addiction with an acute awareness, concentrated focus and indeed critical objectivity that practically make the book required reading for the layman and medical professional alike.
The writing is crisp, precise and direct, always nibbling at the edges of irony and paradox and capable of surprising in every sentence. Admittedly, some addictive personalities might not recognize themselves in Sheed's ironic, commonsensical narrator and consequently be put off from playing his game. Other readers will find it hard to put the book down, even though their own experiences may bear little resemblance to the narrator's. Rather than take us through the valley of despair, Sheed practically acknowledges depression as a "given," indicating that a writer like William Styron ("Darkness Visible") has already covered this territory. Sheed's focus, rather, is on the "other side" of the illness, where the narrator's wit and dogged perseverance are more than a match for the worst that life can deal him.
Not that Sheed takes depression lightly or, thank God, his own competencies very seriously.
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16 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Myers VINE VOICE on December 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Sheed goes through Hell and back and back again and again in this book: Polio, drug and alcohol addictions and cancer. Yet, he manages to maintain his wry sense of humor throughout. This ability is especially significant when he is sent to what he drolly refers to as "Happy Valley," an AA-based recovery center, to cure him of his addictions. Because, as Sheed points out in the chapter (again drolly) entitled "Notes on a Brainwashing," without a sense of humor, the thinking man (or woman) is doomed in such a program. Unfortunately, neither Sheed nor his doctors nor I, for that matter, who freely admit to having gone through a Happy Valley experience of my own, know of any such centers that are not AA based. It's sort of an easy way out for the medical and psychological professions. Since nobody knows what causes addictions, the meetings serve as an almost cost-free way to deal with the situation. So, like Pontius Pilate, they wash their hands of the patients, like Sheed and myself, and send them forth into a 12-step Orwellian wasteland. I'm not going to dwell on everything that's wrong with AA. This is a book review, not a speech made from a soapbox in Hyde park. But, suffice it to say, as Sheed points out: 1.) If you so much as question the AA model, you are in Denial-Catch 22. 2.) The "Blue Book" on which the program is based, states that those who are unable or unwilling to follow their program are "such unfortunates, constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves." Sheed and I are such unfortunates. That's why I bought this book after reading a review of it in the New York Review of Books. We dishonest folks have to stick together.Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Edward Sullivan on January 28, 2013
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His review of his "Happy Valley," rehab experience was honest and interesting. His struggle with polio as a teenager was revealing and emotionally wrought. He was a great writer and I will miss him.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mitchell E. Davis on August 19, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book deals with the author's battles with polio early in life,and with depression and alcoholism later in life.Toward the end of the book he deals with tongue cancer.His thoughts while dealing with these afflictions are interesting and at times inspiring.There might be some moments of tedious reading,but the philosophy he imparts during his challenges makes reading this book a rewarding experience.
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