My book review of Marya Hornbacher’s Madness: A Bipolar Life is up at PopMatters. Excerpt:
In 1998, Marya Hornbacher wrote Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia, about an eating disorder so severe, she whittled herself down to 52 pounds and was given a week to live. The book stands out in its ability to dig inside the mind of someone with an eating disorder. Hornbacher, who was 23 when she wrote the book, hadn’t yet gotten distance from being sick, and that, combined with copious research, made Wasted a particularly unflinching look at anorexia and bulimia. …
Now, a decade later, Hornbacher has written a follow-up: Madness: A Bipolar Life. The book picks up where Wasted leaves off, covering the last 10 years of Hornbacher’s life, when she discovers that her real problem all along has been bipolar disorder. Everything else—starving herself, drinking, cutting, throwing up—was just a means to control the roller coaster of her moods. As with her eating disorders, Hornbacher ignored the diagnosis for as long as possible, descending into an ugly hole of self-destruction.
Thanks for this review. The lack of insight seems to be a trend in many books I’ve read lately; perhaps the writers are taking too literally the advice to “show, don’t tell.”