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Manic: A Memoir Hardcover – February 5, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 365 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Cheney, a former L.A. entertainment lawyer, pointedly dispels expectations of a safe ride through this turbulent account of bipolar disorder. With evocative imagery—time-shuffled recollections meant to mirror her disorienting extremes of mood—Cheney conjures life at the mercy of a brain chemistry that yanks her from soul-starving despair to raucous exuberance, impetuous pursuits to paralyzing lethargy. Caught in a riptide of febrile impulse, she caroms from seductions to suicide attempts while flirting recklessly with men, danger and death, only to find more hazards in the drastic side effects of treatment. More than a train-wreck tearjerker, the memoir draws strength from salient observations that expose the frustrations of bipolar disorder, from its brutal sabotage of romance and friendship to the challenge it poses to the simplest emotions, such as the terrors of being happy that augur mania's onset. Though she sustains an ominous mood and relays horrifying incidents with icy candor, Cheney lightens up at times, as when she marvels at the ease of masking her condition at an office that brings out everyone's manic side. But the narrative hopscotch frustrates readers' need for grounding and context that might clear up Cheney's muddled history and satisfy readers' urge to learn the fallout of her impulse-driven episodes. Her startlingly lucid descriptions of illness merit a more concise chronology. (Feb.)
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Review

“Cheney’s chilling account of her struggle with bipolar disorder brilliantly evokes the brutal nature of her disease...Edgy, dark and often cynical, MANIC is not an easy book to read, but it has heart and soul to spare.” (People)

“Written in episodic chapters that mimic the ups and downs of bipolar depression—hypomania, mania, depression—Cheney’s book is a gut-churning ride.” (Los Angeles Times)

“[a] gritty, vibrant, memoir brings this chaotic frenzy to life...through disaster and despair to end in hope. ” (Peter C Whybrow MD author A Mood Apart)

“This is a poignant and compelling memoir ...The writing is outstanding, the story is gripping.” (Dr. Lori Altshuler, Director of the UCLA Mood Disorders Research Program)

“Cheney brilliantly brings us along on her haunting and riveting journey of bipolar disorder. ...MANIC is extremely powerful.” (Andy Behrman, author of Electroboy: A Memoir of Mania)

“Filled with gorgeous writing...Echoes of William Styron abound.” (Demitri F. Papolos. M.D. and Janice Papolos, authors of The Bipolar Child)

“[Manic is] more than a train-wreck tearjerker, the memoir draws strength from salient observations…startlingly lucid descriptions.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Cheney...writes with passionate clarity about depression and the lure of suicide but with especially keen intensity about mania...” (Boston Globe)

“Superb...Cheney’s remarkable chronicle of her painful odyssey is as eloquent as it is brave. It is also profoundly necessary, both for her and for us.” (Providence Journal)

“Amazing and powerful...[MANIC] forces the reader into Cheney’s bipolar world, into her deep and fearful depressions mixed with her giddy, high-flying manic moods.” (Orange County Register)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; Book Club Edition edition (February 5, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061430234
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061430237
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (365 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #751,030 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Reviewer Dr. Beth #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In MANIC, author Terri Cheney provides a fascinating glimpse into the experiences of someone suffering from Bipolar Disorder, AKA manic-depression. Rather than to narrate her story in a chronological fashion, Cheney presents each chapter as a stand-alone vignette from the chaos that is her life. Furthermore, each of these individual stories serves to highlight a particular insight, from the depths of depression which prompt a suicide attempt to the fine line between the joys of hypomania versus the craziness of mania itself. Cheney does tend to repeat herself a bit--for example, she names several different medications as the "one" that finally helped her and claims various depressive episodes to be the "worst" she ever experienced. Overall, however, from the perspective of both a psychologist and an avid reader, I felt that a sense of truth and candidness permeated Cheney's writing. This book provides a captivating read for almost anyone but should particularly appeal to the many whose lives have been personally touched by manic-depression; my overall rating is 4 1/2 stars.
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Format: Hardcover
I've dealt with depression and a bipolar condition all of my life. When I was younger, I didn't know what it was. At that point, it just manifested itself as a heavy sadness that would hit about every six months or so and last for about a week. Unfortunately, as I grew older and got knocked about by life every so often - especially when I got hammered through no fault of my own and didn't see the reason for it, that cycle accelerated and started lasting longer.

During those intervening years, I also pushed my writing hobby (probably cathartic in the beginning) into a full-time career. Which meant that I was forced to (and still do) live primarily out of my own head. That's not always a pleasant place to be. Too many nightmares exist there. And I've learned throughout my life where all the weak points are. When I'm in a downward spiral, I attack myself unmercifully. When I'm in an upward spiral, I can't sit still.

I started figuring out my own coping mechanism, based on materials and books I'd read. But that was only after I figured out what I was going through was different than the life other people dealt with. In fact, my first clues as to what I had to face were given to me by friends that suffered from the same anxieties and pressures.

These conditions aren't easy to deal with for the person who has them. Or for the people around them.

When I first read about Terri Cheney's book, MANIC, I immediately wanted to review it. Here was a successful person who admittedly dealt with the same issues I had, but I didn't know how honest she was going to be about those problems.
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Format: Hardcover
I read this book hoping it might prove worth passing on to family members as an insightful look at one person's struggle with bipolar disorder, since I was diagnosed with the same condition more than a decade ago and explaining it (without actually writing my own book) is nearly impossible. But Cheney's egomania (I can't count the number of times she referenced her beautiful red hair or how thin she is) is so pervasive, it takes away from her credibility when addressing a condition whose extremes overwhelm any sense of vanity. Her descriptions of suicide attempts are more about dramatic presentation than what triggers the death wishes. And even in retrospect, with the aid of proper medication, Cheney seems proud of her claims that she was a virtual Joan Collins when manic, captivating and seducing any man who crossed her wicked path. I'm not saying she's the new James Frey, exactly, but I'm not buying it, either. And I sure hope people don't use this as a resource for learning about bipolar disorder, since they'll wind up thinking we're all self-indulgent, spoiled brats. Too much pomp, not enough circumstance.
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Format: Hardcover
Terri Cheney does an outstanding job of describing what hypomania and mania really feel like from the perspective of someone with bipolar disorder - herself. The book intentionally skips around, as Cheney relates some of the most memorable hypomanic and manic incidents from her life.

My wife has bipolar disorder, and many of the situations that Cheney describes ring true with my own observations and the way my wife describes her own manic mood episodes.

Cheney's writing style is superb, bringing each scene to life and moving the book along at a rat-a-tat-tat manic pace. I couldn't put it down.

As co-author of Bipolar Disorder for Dummies
and someone who has a loved one with bipolar disorder, I highly recommend this book. Those who have experienced bipolar mania will find comfort in her words, and friends and family of people with bipolar disorder will gain a deeper understanding and acceptance of their loved ones.
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Format: Hardcover
whether or not bipolar disorder touches your life, this riveting memoir is powerful and memorable, and is wholeheartedly recommended by this reader. cheney brings us into her world, from darkest depression to the headiest manic phases, creating a high-speed, high-stakes ride we don't want to disembark from until the final page. her magnificent use of language combined with gut-wrenching truth enhances the experience. it's a one-sitting read that shouldn't be missed.
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