Sunday, September 28, 2008

Book Review: Manic by Terri Cheney

BIG THANKS to HarperCollins (Sharyn and Eryn) for sending me this book!

“Manic” by Terri Cheney
Published by William Morrow, a division of HarperCollins

Rating: 4 stars

“Manic” takes its readers on a journey through the treacherous bouts of mania and the bleak depths of depression. Terri Cheney is a prime example of how mental illness and tragedy can afflict even the brightest, most educated, wealthy and above all pristine looking individuals. As a powerful and respected entertainment lawyer, she represented high profile clients and mingled with A-list celebrities, all while keeping up the illusion of normalcy.

For most people, there is no such thing as too much happiness. However, for Cheney, surges of happiness tend to foreshadow danger because they signify a descent into mania. The manic episodes become charged by bursts of unlimited energy which spurn sexual impropriety and complete lack of self control. Her portrayal of her experience with depression reveals her vulnerability and loneliness, leading to a number of suicide attempts, both spontaneous and planned.

There is no chronological order to the book, as Cheney explains, because “life for me is not defined by time, but by mood”. While this disjointed style takes some getting used to, it is also effective in mirroring the chaotic nature of manic depression, just as Cheney had wanted.

Cheney’s writing style is personal and inviting, as though she is recounting her tragic tales to a close friend. Many events in her life are quite shocking and the vivid descriptions of her suffering are sometimes hard to digest. Nonetheless, these stories are an important part of her past and a reality of those who must cope with manic depression. They remind us of how fragile human beings can be and that appearances are not always as they seem.

Cheney’s pain is clearly manifested throughout the novel but the humor intertwined in her narration shows a sense of acceptance and maturity. Her ability to look back upon the most excruciating years in her life with insight and understanding is remarkable. Terri Cheney should be applauded for her courage to open up to the world about her struggle with bipolar disorder. I know I am grateful to her for letting me in.

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Anna said...

Great review! I think I might look into this one. The structure, being out of order and all, sounds interesting.


Sheri S. said...

Thanks Anna! It definitely makes for an interesting read!