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Long Shot: My Bipolar Life and the Horses Who Saved Me [Large Print] [Paperback]

Sylvia Harris
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: 15.33
Price: 13.64 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Paperback: 261 pages
  • Publisher: HarperLuxe; Lrg edition (8 Mar 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062018035
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062018038
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 15.2 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,552,631 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
You keep asking yourself, how did this lady survive after the continuing obstacles she has faced throughout her life? It is a bit disjointed and very much like her life in so much that it seems to leap at times leaving some gaps but then to have written it at all is a great achievement.
Sylvia managed somehow keep bouncing back and then hitting repeated lows but her sheer grit and determination pulled her back up time after time. Yes this mirrors her manic/depressive episodes and you wonder what might have been if she had not had her mood disorder issues. She was perhaps able to bounce back because of her highs but unable to maintain the gains because of the lack of support because of the American health system and her nomadic existence. Sleeping repeatedly in cars and worse without medication was certainly a desperate act but one she had little or no option. It certainly wasn't a life for her children - a tragedy in itself.
Her life style and disasters her family faced are something that none of us would want to experience but through it all she had a goal that drove her on time after time and therein lies the hope and message for us all especially the bi-polar community. In order to get you through life you need to have a long term goal or series of goals to strive towards. You need to break them down into achievable milestones.
This is a remarkable and extraordinary life that could not be made up but which is an inspiration to determination and survival.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not in the same league as Seabiscuit 17 Mar 2012
By Sj Gj Shepperd VINE VOICE
Although this book is not particularly well written, and definitely not in the same league as Seabiscuit, you have to admire Sylvia Harris's courage, honesty and determination. It's a harrowing story and only someone suffering from the same disease could truly understand why she reacts the way she does and keeps making the same mistakes. As a previous reviewer commented, thank heavens for our National Health Service! I hope Sylvia finds some sort of peace and stability soon.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An Odds Against Winner 31 Jan 2012
My first impression on reading the first couple of chapters of this book was 'well, this certainly isn't in the league of how- I-succeeded-inspite-of-mental-illness of other books such as 'A Brilliant Mind'. There's no blockbuster film here! Ms Harris's writing style is sparse and over-cliched, and her attitude that she shouldn't be held responsible for her actions simply because she's bipolar, do not evoke instant sympathy in the reader.

However, my feelings changed when Ms Harris dropped the attitude and described her time in a mental institution. I was moved to tears, and, from this moment, I found the description of her struggle to become a jockey rivetting. As a UK reader it is a real eye-opener to see how difficult life is for the mentally ill in the United States with no National Health Service and limited state benefits. I shall certainly be using this book when teaching my psychology students and would suggest that anyone interested in the welfare of the mentally ill would enjoy it too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The excellent Sylvia Harris 22 Aug 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I discovered this to be an incredibly honest if on occasion harrowing account of bi-polar(manic depressive) disease.A real eye opener.You may not necessarily warm to the author as a person,but I am prepared to bet that at the end you will be cheering for her, and wishing her well.
Worth the money, and then some.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sylvia Harris' Autobiography is Rare Look into the Bipolar's World and Mind 22 May 2011
By Francis L. Holland - Published on Amazon.com
The new book, "Long Shot: My Bipolar Life and the Horses Who Saved Me," is a must-read for those like me who struggle with bipolar illness, as well as for professionals caregivers and family members who want to understand Bipolar patients and have a sincere desire to help. As someone who has seen this process from the inside, I can and do vouch for the anguish it causes in the patient, family and career.

The author, Sylvia Harris, describes exactly what it was like to be somewhat manic, floridly manic, psychotically manic and depressed. She recalls a time when she cycled through these stages with no idea of what has happening to her, clueless as to the exit from the perpetual emotional roller coaster.

Through her painfully honest autobiography, she gives readers an inside view of her manic-depressive problem and how she overcame its worst aspects by striving for meaning and healthy excitement. Desiring to become a horse trainer and eventually a jockey, she demonstrates that we need not achieve all that we want in order to benefit from the pursuit of our dreams.

Without specifically saying so, she demonstrates the similarities between Bipolar illness, alcoholism and drug addiction, in which many sufferers, their families, circle of friends and employers must often acknowledge the illness and their personal powerlessness over it, before they can find relief and redemption.

Harris courageously describes learning to realize when an attack of mania was beginning and what--for her--triggered those attacks.

Not all readers (including myself) will identify with Harris' love for horses and the essential role they came to have in Harris' rehabilitation. But, everyone perceives that having a personally meaningful goal toward which we strive helps us to find meaning in life when our lives would otherwise seem to us to be meaningless.

Essentially, Bipolars often have a necessity for a goal and aspiration larger than life, lest we be overcome by depression and the conviction that our lives are meaningless.

As in any worthwhile autobiography, Sylvia Harris brings the reader along on the trail to overcoming the worst her difficulties, while acknowledging that some "wreckage of the past" is inevitable but not utterly insoluble.

I personally do not read prefaces or introductions to autobiographies, because of their tendency to remove the mystery and discovery process from the narrative itself. Sylvia Harris's "Long Shot: My Bipolar Life and the Horses Who Saved Me" ends realistically, in a manner with which we may all be able to identify.

If you enjoy the thrill of discovering what happens at the end of Sylvia Harris' autobiography, then don't read the introduction and preface at the beginning.

Read the whole autobiography and learn what happens just as Sylvia Harris did: one day and one experience at a time.

You can't be of help to a Bipolar person or patient unless you understand their world from their perspective, as well as from your own (probably) vastly different perspective on the patient and the illness. This is maddeningly frustrating, but true nonetheless.

This book provides a heartfelt, and searingly honest account of life for those like me who struggle with bipolar illness, as well as for professionals, caregivers and family members who want to understand
Bipolar patients and who have a sincere desire to help.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long Shot Review 9 May 2011
By Tara - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is amazing. I have never reviewed a book but this one is worth the time. What a cool story. This women can relate to so many. Whether your a horse enthusiast; interested in Women's studies; Buddhism; Mental illness issues; or just sometimes feel like the underdog.. this ladies writings are inspirational. It is a really quick read. She is so real and leaves nothing out. We can all relate to Sylvia. If she ever reads her reviews, I must say... Wow. I would like to shake your hand. I have met famous jockeys (I am in the horse world) and you have my attention. Thank you Sylvia!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long Shot - a biography 11 Oct 2011
By anon. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating story of a woman who faced many challenges but overcame her problems and setbacks with unusual strength. While other reviews seem to imply that Sylvia Harris wrote this book and is listed as author, please note that there were 2 writers who actually did the writing. They deserve some recognition since in the task of doing the actual writing they also endured Harris' bad times right along with her. I really hope Hollywood becomes aware of this book;Sylvia's story would make a good movie. Harris' life was in many ways as remarkable as any fictional movie...and it all really happened to her: she learned how to handle her bipolar episodes; she experienced the heartbreak of her children taken away from her;she experienced and dealt with abuse both physical and mental;she dealt with agism and racism, overcoming both in her quest for recognition as a winning jockey(near the end of her story she actually wins a major race), Sylvia Harris successfully handled anything life threw at her. I am sure she must have found a way to get her children back, which would fulfill all her hopes and aspirations.I purchased from Amazon one copy of this book for myself and nine others for friends.That's how much I enjoyed it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Memoir of Struggle and Triumph! 5 May 2011
By Horses Malone - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Ms. Harris did a wonderful job documenting her life's struggles---success followed by failure followed by success over and over again. Her experiences coping with bipolar disorder and how it has affected her lifestyle and her family was an eye-opener, even for someone who thought they understood the disorder. This story was gripping and very emotional as the reader rides along with Ms. Harris, waiting, hoping, and praying for a break. As another African-American female in the horse world, I identified with her detailed experiences dealing with racism and negativity. Ms. Harris does not sugar-coat anything in this book, and the reader sails across the finish line with her in what the reader hopes to be the last struggle for someone who's been through so much.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it! 27 Feb 2014
By Ms. Susan M. Bump - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I love the book and respect Sylvia so much for never giving up! Could have read it cover to cover if I didn't have to break to care for my own horses. Disregard the one star rating from Jett. Obviously a personal attack with no merit. If he knew who little $$ writers make on their books he would realize he is talking s***.
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