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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching, insightful, funny and moving
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...
Published on 11 Nov 2009 by Marcus Paine

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to read
I have read 'Wasted' numerous times and for me 'Madness...' falls a bit short. I *loved* Mayra's writing in Wasted, but somehow Madness seemed rather contrived... I can't quite put my finger on it. It wasn't just that it was an uncomfortable read, which it absolutely and unsurprisingly was, it just wasn't as well written I didn't think. Perhaps partly because it covered...
Published on 16 April 2009 by Holly


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5.0 out of 5 stars a must have!, 8 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Madness: A Bipolar Life (Paperback)
I absolutely love this book! I would recommend this book to everyone who is suffering from BD and to those related to them....
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3.0 out of 5 stars OK, 27 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Madness: A Bipolar Life (Paperback)
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 (but survivable ) illness. Probably of more help to the friends and family of someone suffering but the authors illness in my opinion was near the extreme course this illness takes and she did many things which did n't help herself.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An honest account of a life with bipolar, 19 Nov 2013
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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 neglect writing style. She manages to write about all the deeply painful and unnerving moments with honesty and integrity. We see her as a person with a mental illness rather than a mental illness attached to a person. At no point does she ask for pity or play the victim, something I find a frequent theme in memoirs of mental illness. This is my second copy of this book, having given away my first to a friend. It's a book I return to repeatedly and I rank both 'Madness' and 'Wasted' (her memoir of her struggle with eating disorders) along with 'An Unquiet Mind' by Kay Redfield Jamison as the top autobiographical books about mental illness.Whether you are a sufferer, carer, friend, partner or professional I believe 'Madness' offers great insight into what it is really like to struggle with a mental health problem.
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5.0 out of 5 stars madness, 9 Oct 2013
This review is from: Madness: A Bipolar Life (Paperback)
I am not usually one to leave a review but as a suffer of manic depression thought I owe it to others like myself.This book has it all sadness happyness love loss a remarkable story and woman.It hits on how bipolar suffers minds work the sheer speed suffers minds work how days melt into others and how you just want to hurry people up its all in the book you wont be disappointed if you are looking because you know a bipolar sufferer then this will give you an insite and maybe a new respect of the person whos suffering.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and moving, 9 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Madness: A Bipolar Life (Paperback)
Marya Hornbacher is one of my favourite authors. Her story is gripping and inspires everyone with hardship in their lives to carry on. Both wasted and madness have helped me through a lot!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Brutally honest and insightful, 2 May 2013
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This review is from: Madness: A Bipolar Life (Paperback)
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. 'Madness: A Bipolar Life', however, remains a brilliant book that follows Hornbacher over a number of years, relationships, manic highs, lows and hospitalizations and recounts in a wonderfully honest and unrestrained fashion the stark impacts of such a devastating mental illness. Thoroughly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very well written!, 19 Sep 2011
This review is from: Madness: A Bipolar Life (Paperback)
I don't have bipolar disorder but I did have both bulimia and struggle from time to time with anorexa (it is something I don't think will ever really leave me but I'm still learning!) I had read Marya's book called Wasted which at the time of my bulimia just bowlled me over as it was the only book and remains the only book to capture the experience so aptly.

I get the feeling she has done the very same with her experience of the hell which is bipolar disorder. The descriptions though of almost off-the-planet things are made so real and so believable you do not question them, I get that everyones experiences are their own and individual (so your friend/collegue/family members experiences may not be the same as in this book) I can totally relate to what Mayra's going through and understand how things must have felt (and still maybe feel). Its a very honest, very realistic and very gritty book.

Its also still quite upbeat despite its dark subject matter and at times deadly experiences, it shows a charater who works to develop through the experience and cares deeply about her efforts as a writer. As a result it left me feeling compassion and being in awe at a girl who began as someone with a dark problem and at times a frustrating nature.

Well worth a read (or two).
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting account, 3 Jan 2012
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This review is from: Madness: A Bipolar Life (Paperback)
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. The author does an excellent job conveying how the mind of a Bipolar sufferer works, from the racing thoughts to the self destructive behaviour. Yes, the author can be a self absorbed at times, but a lot of people with Bi Polar tend to be. For under 5 you cannot go wrong
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not A True Bipolar Representation, 15 Feb 2012
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C Shields "Dr Treasure" (Staffordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Madness: A Bipolar Life (Paperback)
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 endured however what she describes is not Bipolar Affective Disorder and I think her descriptions of the diagnosis and use repeatedly of the term "madness" does a severe injustice to the many people who suffer from Bipolar Affective Disorder. Marya does not at any point describe a true manic or hypomanic episode and her mood swings are too quick and frequent to be consistent with this. Combine this with her drug and alcohol use, self-harm and difficult relationships, what she is describing is much more inkeeping with an emotionally unstable personality disorder (otherwise known as borderline personality disorder). Reading between the lines of her story I think she herself knows that this is the case and has been told as much however finds it easier to use the Bipolar diagnosis to explain away her behaviours and choices for which she appears to take little responsibility. I would have rated this book a far higher score if there had been more honesty from the author about her mental health difficulties/diagnosis and the negative impact of her own life choices such as her drug and alcohol use. I feel this book has been a lost opportunity for others with similar difficulties and past trauma to gain comfort from reading from the author's experiences.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Didn't gain anything from this book, 10 April 2012
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This review is from: Madness: A Bipolar Life (Paperback)
I have to say, I rather agree with 'Holly' in her review. There is just something missing with this book.

When I had my diagnosis, I rushed out and bought every book I could find. From texbooks to memoirs.

Now bear in mind, I have no memory of my extreme highs and lows, so I rely very much on other people to fill in the blanks. Perhaps I kid myself that I'm 'not really that bad.'

So. when I read this book (which I bought last of all of them), I found it difficult to read. Literally, I couldn't get a flow. In fact, I actually found myself not being that bothered about this person or the end.

To be honest, I would recommend, Kay Redfield Jamison's "An Unquiet Mind" - it was the most recommended book to me. I like intelligent, fact filled books. Then I would recommend textbook style books to better learn about the illness and treatments.

You could read five different books about people and their illness and not relate to any of them. Whilst there's some similiarities in terms of symptoms, it presents differently and effects us all differently and those around us. As such, I didn't gain anything from this book. And I wouldn't recommend it to loved ones of people with Bipolar Disorder, simply because they'll probaly be even more confused. And perhaps even more alarmed!

If you're really keen to learn about the illness and treatments, I would seek out a good reference book. Even the 'For Dummies' range has one, and its actually quite good, albeit a little condescending!

So, if you're looking for a trite, disjointed read that leaves you wondering what's going on half the time and doesn't seem to have a point - look no further! (and I mean the book - not this review!)
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Madness: A Bipolar Life
Madness: A Bipolar Life by Marya Hornbacher (Paperback - 16 April 2009)
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