Customer Reviews: His Bright Light: The Story of Nick Traina
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on March 20, 2000
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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VINE VOICEon May 16, 2004
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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on May 11, 1999
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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on June 5, 2001
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.
This book was very well written. Coming from an author of fiction, she did not sugar coat or glorify anything in this book. I can't even begin to imagine the strength it had taken to be able to write it. The emotion that was relived with each and every word. Maybe it might have been a relief to tell the story, but we are very fortunate that she did!
This disease is all around, and even in this book of a famous celebrity even she had lived it for years. Knowing there was something wrong with her child but was the only one being his mother who did see it. Children do get misdiagnosed with the ADD all the time. Sometimes it may be a combination, and sometimes not at all. But even Ms. Steele explains with all her connections, all her money and resources how she couldn't even get a prescription for Prozac because nobody else could see it. Think of how many children out there that goes without this everyday. Not because their mother isn't Danielle Steele and doesn't have these kinds of resources. But how many children, that live maybe in your house, or next door, or in your sisters or brothers because they are misunderstood.
I highly recommend this book to absolutely everybody. This as anybody with Bipolar does it help you understand what you have put your own family through. Even though you would take it all back in a minute if you could, you see and feel it from the other side.
Then as a family with anybody in it the inspiration of this wonderful family that lived it everyday. And also to those who know nobody with it because sometimes people, especially children do get so misunderstood as Nick did. He comes from a celebrity mother, he is spoiled, all these excuses for these actions that nobody sees what it really is. How many years did Ms. Steele go through not knowing what was wrong with her son? Some don't even have ones whom are as persistent as Ms. Steele and family just because they are pure exhausted and still getting no results. Not because they do not care.
This book tells the story, it has pictures and even in Nicky's photos do you see his wonderful personality and bright light. She has included writings from her to him, journal entries that Nick had written and I think the one the effected me the most, I had to actually put the book down the tears were pouring out I could not see to read anymore. Was what Julie had said about Ms. Steel and Nick and their " tag team mothering "
I want to thank you Ms. Steele for sharing this story. I know it made great impact on my life and helped me to want nothing more than to stop hurting the ones I love. To beat the demons for myself but for my own children. And watch and be aware of these symptoms and how they do effect each others life. People of great creativity suffer with this disease everyday. They live normal lives to those that look in, but deep within them they are not as they appear. They have this great extraordinary personality and nobody seems to have a clue. You told the story from the heart and it touched mine.
God bless you Ms. Steele, your family, the Campbell's and to all the lives that Nicky touched. God bless you Nick Traina and I hope you finally find the peace and happiness you do so deserve and may your memories live on with the people whom loved you!
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on December 31, 1999
His Bright Light touched very close to my heart and my own experiences. I too have a son with ADHD and tendicies of anger and mild depression, although not as severe as Nick's. This book helped me realize I was not alone in my every day struggles to help my son and those around him to understand this disorder. The struggles with school, family & friends is difficult & frustrating as they just don't seem to understand that this disorder is very real and connot be controlled because you want it to be. I recommend this book to everyone not just those that deal with depression and ADHD. Through this book I fell educators and bystanders could learn a great deal of insight to this disorder and in turn hopefully become more aware and develope a better understanding of those afflicted with it, thus being more patient and able to deal with them in a appropriate manner instead of labeling them as incorrigable kids/adults. Most are, as Nick was, very loving and caring individuals who just need a little more patience and encouragement then others. Thank you Danielle for writing this touching story about your son it will be a book always found on my shelf, read often and recommended to all.
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on September 10, 2002
While one can only possibly feel sympathy for the pain Nick's mother feels, her writing style is sentimental and flowery in the extreme. The descriptions of a manic depressive personality and suggestions for dealing with one are excellent, and there is no doubt that she did all she could for her son whom she loved dearly - however having established that, it was tedious to read over, and over, and over again her expressions of motherly love, her gratitude repeatedly to the same people and the gushing in general. It is also difficult to understand from her telling why she was unable to cope with her own son while another mother with less space, less money and younger children was able to take him in for the last few years. The book was worthwhile in some ways but could have told the same story with as much information and feeling in less than half the number of pages.
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on October 2, 2006
Widely known for her romantic novels in far off places, Danielle Steel managed to create a career that likely exceeded her wildest dreams. Yet beneath the veneer of gentile refinement, the famous author struggled to help her son Nick Traina, a young man who was taken from Earth before his time. Lucky for him, and for us, Steel didn't let his passing go without triumph for those like him.

The book starts pleasantly enough, with an introduction to the circumstances surrounding Nick's birth, to Steel's marriage to John Traina and her subsequent life in Pacific Heights. It was during this time of personal fulfillment and astounding professional success that Steel began to genuinely recognize that Nick was ill--though no one would believe her.

For those who don't know, for many years it was relatively unheard of to diagnose a child as bipolar or manic depressive, though Nick was, in all repsects, both. Such obstacles left Steel with few options, as Nick went from angel to devil to a place of crushing depression that eventually took his life.

As time progresses I found myself beraved and captivated as Steel articulately portrayed the trials and tribulations regarding her late son's illness, though no one else seemed to think of him as anything other than "spoiled" or "amusing". As Nick's depression and erratic behavior began to escalate, the long battle to accurately diagnose him and attain appropriate treatment began; for we must never forget people don't have diseases, but rather, diseases have people.

Also intertwined within Steel's heart-warming narrative are hystierical tales of Nick's hijinks and budding music career with then-band Link 80, whose music you can still find on i-Tunes. For a brief while I almost forgot the inevitable ending, and hoped that Nick would conquer his demons and flourish just like his mother before him. Unfortunately, as we all know, that never had the chance to happen.

Nick passed away of a heroin overdose, leaving his friends, family and especially Steel completley shattered. I applaud Steel's strength in refusing to let his passing not have a greater purpose, that being to educate the world that mental illness is not only prevalent, but indiscriminatory in those it takes hold of. Modern science is there to help (regardless of what Tom Cruise says--the moron)and Nick's memory lives on for those who knew him, and those who never did, but wish they had the oppurtunity.

In sum, this book is HIGHLY recommended-- this coming from a man who never once picked up one piece of Steel's fiction. I may not buy her many novels that always reach the the best-seller lists, but if there is ever any future material about Nick's Bright Light, I will certainly be reading!
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on October 17, 2000
I had a very hard time reading this book. I too, have a child with bipolar disorder, and is very much like Nick. I really think Danielle Steel was couragous to reveal her private life with the public to try to help those of us who are dealing with children like Nick every day. I learned a lot from the book, especially from the journals Nick kept. My son doesn't ever tell what he is feeling inside, and once I learned what might be going on inside his head, I could handle him different.
Sometimes I felt she was writing about my life and that is what made it difficult to read at times. I would get exhausted because I've been there in her shoes.
I know people who have no idea what bipolar is and they didn't really like the book. I think you have to experience what she is writing about to really appreciate this book. More people need to understand this sickness so they can help others with it by being more understanding and caring.
I think this book deserves more than 5 stars. It touched me so personally, I will treasure it forever. Danielle Steel is a hero in my eyes and a wonderful mother. She went through more than most people can imagine and continued with her writing and career. That is more than I can say about myself. I have given up everything to take care of my son, so he doesn't end up like Nicki.
I would highly recommend it for any mother with a child who is bipolar.
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on April 30, 2015
While Steele obviously has the abilitiy to write well, I was bothered by several things in the story. It is their story, and significant to them, and a tragedy did occur. However, if you are the parent of a bipolar child who lives in the normal middle class or forbid, lower, it will be very difficult to relate to this book. After working in mental health for over 10 years, I can only imagine the changes it would have made in many, many lives if everyone could afford two full-time attendants, and essentially a full-time, as in 24/7, case worker in their good friend Julie. These people flew by plane repeatedly to assist Nick wherever he was at the moment or if Danielle needed extra help managing him. These are wonderful resources, but I think Danielle has very little insight into the struggles of families and mothers of children just like Nick, who can't have all those extra supports in place. Those people have the profound love for their child, as she did. But many are stuck in a very under-funded system with minimal options, if any, available to them at times. They have to sit by and watch their child disintegrate, without the benefit of being able to pick up the phone and talk to not one, but two psychiatrists he had, at any hour of the day. I don't begrudge her any of it. It is her wealth. But as a parent of a child with bipolar, I got very little out of this book.
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on April 25, 2004
This book is a true story written by Danielle Steel portraying the life of her son Nick Traina who was diagnosed with manic depression and committed suicide at the age of 19 yrs. Danielle Steel, a picture of beauty and strength, writes very candidly about the struggles she endured in raising him amidst a large family and a busy schedule. The book tends to be somewhat graphic, a little morbid, but might be very helpful for parents who struggle with difficult children or those suffering from mental illness in their lives. I appreciate Danielle Steel as an author even more after reading this book because of her willingness to share her true feelings and pain.
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