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Hello to All That: A Memoir of War, Zoloft, and Peace Hardcover – Dec 2004

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 16 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
touching insightful autobiography 25 Jan. 2005
By Harriet Klausner - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This touching autobiography wins on two fronts as John Falk paints quite a self portrait of his depressing teen years culminating with the miracle of Zoloft and his twenties as a journalist in Sarajevo in 1993, the heart of the hostilities. Both accounts rivet the audience as Mr. Falk explains that he was a happy preadolescent raised in a loving home when suddenly at twelve he became depressed and stayed that way for a dozen years until Zoloft gave him back his life. To celebrate his return from the living dead, John becomes a war correspondent. This segment of the book relates how the devastated city is home to people trying to stay alive. These human interest stories are touching and warm with hopes that those like a working student made it. Mr. Falk provides a heartfelt remarkable memoir of a person surviving two wars, a personal one that medicine cures and the other caused by human atrocities that should shame everyone.

Harriet Klausner
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Two wars, Two victories. 1 April 2005
By G Smith - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This novel jumps from present day Sarajevo in 1993 to, in the next chapter, Long Island in the 1980's. In Sarajevo Falk fights to stay alive and find stories as an inexperienced and naive freelance reporter, back on Long Island he fights a long and horrible depression that started for no reason and for twelve long hard years showed no signs of ever ending. John is convinced that no one can help him and all he can do is try to hang on and hope everything goes back to the way it was.

Through the book we see all aspects of his life and get to know Falk better than most of our closest relatives. It made me wonder how many of my close friends are secretly battling depression. John eventually does see a psychiatrist, and after a few different medications finally finds relief. After college he sets off to find himself and ends up in Sarajevo alone again. But with the help of Zoloft he knows that nothing is hopeless.

As a depression survivor, I would recommend this to anyone that thinks that they are alone without hope or anyone that has ever been comforted, as Falk was at one point, by knowing that they can end their life anytime. I know I've made the book sound depressing but Falk is a wonderful writer and the novel has many funny and uplifting moments. The world would be a better place if more people were like John Falk.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Terrific adventure story and moving personal memoir 11 April 2005
By Bennett - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Whether navigating the harrowing world of snipers and anti-snipers in war-torn Sarajevo, or the perilous world of his own psyche, John Falk writes with wit, humor, and insight.

Falk had the guts to walk away from a cushy upper-middle-class life and into the most dangerous place on the planet. Afflicted by depression, he subjected himself to a kind of shock-treatment by journeying to Sarajevo in the hopes of becoming a freelance journalist. Once he settled in, with a monster stash of Zoloft in his bindle, Falk became close with the family who took him in as a boarder. While managing to stay alive and sane in a truly hellish battle zone, Falk sussed out a war story worthy of Heller or Vonnegut and became a successful writer. More importantly, however, he dedicated himself to helping people who badly needed it, and this personal story is the heart of the book.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Funny, Serious and Gripping. Is it really Non-Fiction? 22 Feb. 2005
By P. Scott - Published on
Format: Hardcover
From the moment I picked up Falk's book, I couldn't put it down. The book was masterfully written and interestingly organized - You feel like you're traveling with Falk through the chapters, just as they and he travels to and fro - his formative years in the US and later, abroad, searching, searching. . . By the end, not only had I laughed and cried, but I felt somewhat intimately involved in his journey, perseverance and lust for life all the while, he battling depression! Remarkable. The book will entertain you and most likely remind you to appreciate and be thankful for the blessings of life; at the same time, it might make you want to get off the sidelines and participate in life and deal head-on with personal demons, or at least understand that many common folks do.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A book that you won't be able to put down 3 Mar. 2005
By RAT - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I listened to John Falk present the story of this book at a recent book signing. I started reading immediately after and could not put the book down. I never thought that it was possible to understand depression - how insidious it is, and how debilitating. For years Falk lived on the edge and did a masterful job of hiding it. In captivating, very funny detail, Falk describes the battles of his personal war, and then the sudden, uneventful exit from depression into a world that he had not felt a part of for over a decade. Determined to feel alive again, Falk chooses to again live on the edge in Bosnia where his life changes forever. A great book - a movie waiting to happen.
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