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Sharp Hardcover – August 21, 2012

60 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“David Fitzpatrick’s Sharp is a must read, remarkably told.” (Wally Lamb)

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. ” (Kate Christensen, author of The Great Man and The Astral)

“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.” (Michael White, author of Beautiful Assassin and Soul Catcher)

“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.” (Rachel Basch, author of Degrees of Love and The Passion of Reverend Nash)

“A mesmeric, dire memoir...a mission (thanks to Wally Lamb’s encouragement) to write this dark, affecting, human story.” (Publishers Weekly)

From the Back Cover

"Endorphins sped through me. I spun around, growing dizzy, frantic, and silly. I wasn't drunk, but I felt a nice stoned feeling, sans paranoia, and I thought, 'I believe I've found my new pharmaceutical deep inside.' I giggled fearlessly, manically at this and looked down at myself; hands, arms, chest, and belly covered in crimson . . . "

Sharp is the story of a young man who began his life with a loving family and great promise for the future. But in his early twenties, David Fitzpatrick became so consumed by mental illness it sent him into a frenzy of cutting himself with razor blades. In this shocking and often moving book, he vividly describes the rush this act gave him, the fleeting euphoric high that seemed to fill the spaces in the rest of his life. It started a difficult battle from which he would later emerge triumphant and spiritually renewed.

Fitzpatrick's youth seemed ideal. He was athletic, handsome, and intelligent. However, he lived in fear of an older brother who taunted and belittled him; and in college, his roommates teased and humiliated him, further damaging what sense of self-esteem he still carried with him. As he shares these experiences, Fitzpatrick also recounts the lessons learned from the broken people he encountered during his journey—knowledge that led to his own emotional resurrection.

Sharp also demonstrates the awakening of a writer's instinctive voice. With prose that is tough and gritty, profound and insightful, Fitzpatrick takes us inside his head while he manically cuts himself, but these episodes are presented with a dignity and insight that has never been seen before. His writing also possesses a lightness of touch that brings humor to a subject that doesn't naturally provide it.

Above all else, Sharp is a tale of hope, a soul-baring quest of a lost man who returns to himself, overcomes his demons, and reclaims his life. It is destined to become a classic memoir.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 354 pages
  • Publisher: WilliamMr; First Edition edition (August 21, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062064029
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062064028
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #295,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More 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. A writer, he works at an auto dealership and is married to writer and graphic designer Amy Holmes. He lives in Middletown, Connecticut.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Hickman on August 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover
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.
Read more ›
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 25, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
David's story is heart wrenching - but offers much in terms of insight into the human spirit, mental illness, family, and overcoming personal demons and survival. At times the brutality of his illness, his experiences in life and the pain and suffering that come from his experiences are difficult to read. David seems to have a very gentle soul and innocence that comes across in his writing. The support from his family both in terms of emotional support, boundaries, as well as those of his care takers comes through. This book is well written - and offers one an opportunity to reflect on the fragility of being human and the edges of our own human condition.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By eric boehlert on August 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
How many people experience the true depths of despair that self-hatred and mental illness can unleash, and then live to write about it? And not just write about it, but produce a breath-taking memoir that brims with clarity, honesty and passion from the first page to the last? Not many people, but David Fitzpatrick is one and he's done it with his stunning effort, "Sharp."
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Rajiv Pant on August 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
As David's brother-in-law who witnessed his return, I find his memoir -- like his life -- to be an honest, moving and inspirational story. As powerful as this book is, it is not a comfortable read (especially for someone like me who knows well in real life the characters in the story). When I first met David about four years ago, I did not know that he'd make it out of his difficulties and write a book about it. It is a wonderful turn of events to see David being interviewed by newspapers, radio stations and video shows.

As someone who reads many of David's writings ranging from friendly, caring, personal emails from him to his professional writings, I find his writings to be like him: honest, emotional and human. David is often deep, yet lighthearted at the same time.

His book is a true story of a human's journey through sad times over a period of nearly two decades and then of his recovery, something amazing that I personally witnessed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tiffany A. Harkleroad VINE VOICE on September 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover
David came from a family that was rife with mental health issues. Several family members on both the paternal and maternal sides have suffered from mental illnesses. David seems to be headed for a life of promise, until, in his twenties, he begins self mutilating. Over the next two decades, he will struggle with serious debilitating mental illness, with dozens of hospitalizations, and months of residential treatment.

Reader, be forewarned, this is an intense book. Never have I read anything so raw, and heartbreakingly honest. We watch a young, attractive, intelligent, and immensely talented young man literally waste years of his life trapped in the prison of mental illness. The picture David paints of those years is bleak, full of blood, excrement, darkness, and pain. The intensity of this book literally sucked energy from me. As engaging as this book was, I had read it over an extended period of time. To have read it all at once would have been overwhelming.

Keeping in mind that much of David's story was written from memory or from journals of his youth, I have to wonder if those memories are at all colored by his illness. While David explains that in the midst of his episodes of delusion, he is still cognizant of his situation and reality, I have to wonder, is there more to the story. Particularly the stories involving his college friends. I just felt like there was more to the story there, and it left me feeling really unsettled.

The honesty of this memoir struck me as particularly brave. And it is that bravery that allowed David to be triumphant over his illness. Not all mentally ill people are able to triumph, but perhaps, by hearing the rawness of David's story, other will be given hope, and mental health professionals will be given insight, so as to better help others.
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