- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (September 8, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0307473546
- ISBN-13: 978-0307473547
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 115 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #300,751 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Hurry Down Sunshine: A Father's Story of Love and Madness Paperback – September 8, 2009
|New from||Used from|
See the Best Books of 2017 So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the best books of the year so far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
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 episodean 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 siegemania 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 diseasethe 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
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
When Greenberg's daughter, Sally, first becomes psychotic, he thinks it is more her creativity than anything else. He is slow to recognize her manic state. But then, who would first assume that someone they love has gone to a place of madness. "But how does one tell the difference between Plato's "divine madness" and gibberish? Between enthousiasmos (literally, to be inspired by a god) and lunacy? Between the prophet and the "medically mad"."
A long journey ensues for Sally and her familiy: hospitalization, horrendous pharmacological interventions, psychiatric care, day hospitals, regimens for behavioral therapy and behavioral contracts. The medications make her weary and unable to concentrate. She becomes sluggish and unlike her quick and creative self. Her father decides to try the medication to get an idea of what it is doing to Sally. He says, "It begins to hit me - - in waves. I feel dizzy and far away, as if I am about to fall from a great height but my feet are nailed to the edge of the precipice, so that the rush of the fall itself is indefinitely deferred. The air feels watery and thick, until finally I am neck-deep in a swamp through which it is possible to move only with the greatest of effort, and then only a few feet at a time". Such is the state that his daughter is in with the medicine. Without it, however, she is mad.
Her identity becomes obscured. Who is this beloved daughter? How did she get to the state she is in? "I keep asking myself the obvious question, the helpless question. How did this happen? And why? One has cancer or AIDS, but one is schizophrenic, one is manic depressive, as if they were innate attributes of being, part of the human spectrum, no more curable than one's temperament or the color of one's eyes." The author struggles with how to view his beloved Sally, how to separate her from her disease, how to separate himself from her disease.
The book is peopled by interesting characters. There is Steve, the author's mentally ill brother for whom he is caretaker. There is a family of Hasidic Jews in the Psychiatric unit, looking over and caring for one of their own. There is the author's wife, a dancer and choreographer who loves Sally very much. There is Sally's biological mother, the author's ex-wife, who is paralyzed with fear at Sally's illness and first hopes that some homeopathic remedies will make a difference. There is the author's well-dressed and lovely mother who searches her past to assure the author that Sally is not, absolutely is not, like his brother Steve.
Sally eventually reaches an equilibrium of recovery and remission from her manic depression. She is able to return to school though she is fearful and reticent about her history as a "mental patient". The story has no happy ending, as the disease does not just disappear. It may hide for a while but it is ever present. Sally has a lifetime of heavy-duty medications and psychiatric interventions in order for her to maintain a semblance of normalcy. She is forever in the grips of the mental health system, a system not always user friendly to families and loved ones.
The author paints a realistic and painful picture of what mental illness in a family can do to the victim and her loved ones. It is a powerful picture, one that is not soon to be forgotten. Anyone who has every dealt with mental illness or has an interest in it will be enriched by this book. It is a must-read for any person who loves someone who is mentally ill or is touched by mental illness in any way. This means all of us.
Previously Sally was a vibrant, creative teenager who one day, seems to lose it completely. After she's admitted to the hospital and her family begins learning about her illness (she's eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder) they begin to see the signs they missed, before her mania spun so far out of control.
If anyone has had any experience with bipolar disorder, this is an interesting read without being overly medical or clinical.
Heartily endorsed by this reader for all people who love someone with mental illness as well as lovers of great writing.