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Madness: A Bipolar Life [Audiobook] [CD-ROM]

Marya Hornbacher , Tavia Gilbert
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
RRP: £21.65
Price: £18.55 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

9 April 2008

A searing, unflinching and deeply moving account of Marya Hornbacher’s personal experience of living with bipolar disorder.

From the age of six, Marya Hornbacher knew that something was terribly wrong with her, manifesting itself in anorexia and bulimia which she documented in her bestselling memoir ‘Wasted’. But it was only eighteen years later that she learned the true underlying reason for her distress: bipolar disorder.

In this new, equally raw and frank account, Marya Hornbacher tells the story of her ongoing battle with this most pervasive and devastating of mental illnesses; how, as she puts it, 'it crept over me like a vine, sending out tentative shoots in my childhood, taking deeper root in my adolescence, growing stronger in my early adulthood, eventually covering my body and face until I was unrecognizable, trapped, immobilized'. She recounts the soaring highs and obliterating lows of her condition; the savage moodswings and impossible strains it placed on her relationships; the physical danger it has occasionally put her in; the endless cycle of illness and recovery. She also tackles the paradoxical aspects of bipolar – how it has been the drive behind some of her most creative work – and the reality of a life lived in limbo, 'caught between the world of the mad and the world of the sane'.

Yet for all the torment it documents, this is a book about survival, about living day to day with bipolar – the constant round of therapy and medication – and managing it. As well as her own highly personal story, the book includes interviews with family, spouses and friends of sufferers, the people who help their loved ones carry on. Visceral and inspiring, lyrical and sometimes even funny, ‘Madness’ will take its place alongside other classics of the genre such as ‘The Unquiet Mind’ and ‘Girl, Interrupted’.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • CD-ROM
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks; MP3 Una edition (9 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433212382
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433212383
  • Product Dimensions: 18.9 x 13.7 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,553,655 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


Praise for ‘The Centre of Winter’:

‘Hornbacher has created characters who are genuine, engaging, and unforgettable. Following…the acclaimed “Wasted”, with this stunning debut novel, Hornbacher, who inevitably will be compared to Alice Sebold, proves herself to be a master storyteller.’ Booklist (starred review)

‘Hornbacher succeeds marvelously…[She] constructs a kaleidoscope of speakers at times beautiful and often disturbing…[An] adroit first novel.’ Los Angeles Book Review

Praise for ‘Wasted’:

‘A stunningly original and beautifully written book gouging deep into a gruesome subject which, by comparison, other writers have merely flirted with.’ Evening Standard

‘Like Plath, Hornbacher writes with a metaphoric intensity which at times seems tragically indistinguishable from the power of her drive to self-destruct. Her brutal honesty as to why it happened to her and her lack of special pleading, only adds to the essential pain of the book. If you want to understand anorexia, read this book.’Scotsman

‘What marks “Wasted” out is the quality of the voice. Hornbacher is, simply, a good writer. Coolly vivid, there’s an edge to her prose…Her gift for description makes even the familiar aspects of the phenomenon newly real.’Guardian

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Marya Hornbacher’s memoir ‘Wasted’ was published to critical acclaim in 1998, and her novel ‘The Centre of Winter’ was published in 2005. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching, insightful, funny and moving 11 Nov 2009
Just finished madness. A really gripping read, just as when reading Wasted (MH's first bosk), I found myself awake at 3.30 am with the book and my mini-bright light under the duvet reading like a teenager.

In reading Madness I got a sense of excitement, and a little trepidation as the time-line got closer to the present as the narrative really drew me in leaving me itching to find out where Marya (the author) got to and what happened to her.

This is a wonderful read for anyone interested in the effects of compulsion and the ineffectiveness of the intellect - the self - in dealing with lifes problems. Also anyone interested in how someone struggling with Bipolar can be both ill, friendly, tremendously productive, warm and also mad at the same time.

The book wrestles with the issues of Bipolar whilst telling a really personal and interesting story about the authors fight with the illness.

It is a compelling read and I would highly recommend it.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring 18 Aug 2008
By J. Charlesworth VINE VOICE
I had read Marya Hornbacher's previous memoir Wasted, where she describes her experiences with anorexia and bulimia, so I picked up Madness with high expectations. As someone with personal experience of eating disorders and bipolar disorder, Hornbacher's writing resonates with me. However I think Madness goes deeper than being merely a memoir, and reveals Hornbacher's considerable talent as a writer. She structures her narrative in a sometimes disjointed way (moving through time and episodes) that really allows the reader a real insight into her experiences with bipolar.

Ultimately this book has a lot to say about living well, not just surviving with mental illness and, I think, does a lot to break the stigma surrounding bipolar disorder. However, Hornbacher's experience of learning to love and accept herself makes a humbling read for anyone, not just bipolar sufferers.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book 16 Aug 2012
By Nill
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
At first the language used in the book really annoyed me - short sentences with lots of information in each. Reminded me of someone going through a highs' writing. I however believe it was intentional - to make the reader get a sensation of what she feels like during a high. When I was on a high myself, the writing language suited me perfectly well!
The book is really good. She describes the ups and downs of bipolar excellently and honestly. The book is serious, gives plenty of information about bipolar and it's even funny at times. You really feel with her. Would definitely recommend!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings 13 Nov 2011
By Insula
The five stars are for the author's honesty.

I would give minus 5, if I could, for the person who designed the sensationalist book cover. For anyone who just looks at the cover of the book it gives a very damaging impression and only encourages the general public to misunderstand and further stigmatise us.

One in forty adults in the UK has bipolar disorder. Many of us are high-functioning and taking our meds, and unless it is very severe, or we self-medicate too much, we do not look or act 'mad'. Unless we are truly crazy, powerful or famous, we are mad to disclose our diagnosis outside our close circle of friends. I wish it was not that way, but it is. Books like this do not encourage me to be completely open about being bipolar.

Try Kay Redfield Jamison's books if you want a deeper look into bipolar disorder.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fab! 15 Sep 2009
This book was fab a really good informative read telling the truth o bipolar at times it jumps about a bit but thats the nature of the illness and so u get a real feel for just how bad things can get with bipolar.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Finally - a bipolar memoir that hit the spot! 13 April 2010
I really enjoyed this. In fact, I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to. I guess the problem with reading an autobiography that deals with something you've experienced yourself is that you go into it with different expectations to other books. After some disappointing memoirs in the past I usually go in with a rather pessimistic view - that it'll be okay but it just won't hit the mark, somehow. Unfortunately the nature of many mental disorders is such that memoirs can be very disjointed and relentlessly harrowing, whether deliberately or otherwise, which makes it harder to 'get into' and distances the reader from the story. I always HOPE that I'll really connect with the book and the author, that I'll find parts that I relate to, and that I'll come away liking and respecting the author for the way they've voiced their experiences.

Anyway, this one did what I wanted it to. It had its disjointed moments, it had its moments of utter, well, madness - but to my great joy Hornbacher kept this at a level where it deftly illustrated the mania and the psychosis she was experiencing, but didn't detract from the flow of the book and the building picture the reader was getting of Marya, her life, and the friends and family helping her along the way. Other reviews have pointed out the overlap between 'Madness' and 'Wasted', but given how closely her bipolar and eating disorders intertwined with each other at certain points, it would have been difficult to separate them completely.

All in all, the memoir reads as a journey, not from madness to sanity, but a journey from a wild place to one of growing wisdom and maturity, acceptance and hope.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars a must have!
I absolutely love this book! I would recommend this book to everyone who is suffering from BD and to those related to them....
Published 3 months ago by Pen Name
3.0 out of 5 stars OK
I would n't want to damn the book with the faint praise my title implies but I did find much of the book repetitious and of very little help to anyone suffering from this dreadful... Read more
Published 7 months ago by A. Frost
5.0 out of 5 stars An honest account of a life with bipolar
Marya Hornbacher differs from many memoir writers in the fact she is actually a talented writer. Too often I have read memoirs that cash in on the popularity of the genre and... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Just my opinion
5.0 out of 5 stars madness
I am not usually one to leave a review but as a suffer of manic depression thought I owe it to others like myself. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Gav
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and moving
Marya Hornbacher is one of my favourite authors. Her story is gripping and inspires everyone with hardship in their lives to carry on. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Lara Maria Sauer
4.0 out of 5 stars Brutally honest and insightful
I docked one star purely because I have previously read Hornbacher's memoir 'Wasted', and this didn't quite live up to how fantastic I found that. Read more
Published 17 months ago by em23
2.0 out of 5 stars Didn't gain anything from this book
I have to say, I rather agree with 'Holly' in her review. There is just something missing with this book. Read more
Published on 10 April 2012 by Page Turner
2.0 out of 5 stars Not A True Bipolar Representation
I found reading "Madness: A Bipolar Life" a very difficult and unsettling experience. Marya Hornbacher is very honest about her experiences of distress and the difficulties she has... Read more
Published on 15 Feb 2012 by C Shields
2.0 out of 5 stars an utterly exhausting read
This book is stuffed to the gills with unimportant trivial details and but has no real depth.

I think if Hornbacher had had the courage to give control of her story to a... Read more
Published on 5 Feb 2012 by thetruthshallsetyefree
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting account
If you have, or know someone that has, been recently diagnosed with Bipolar, this book will give you an insight into what it is like to suffer with the disorder. Read more
Published on 3 Jan 2012 by Pez Whatley
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