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An astonishing dispatch from inside the belly of bipolar disorder, reflecting major new insights

When Marya Hornbacher published her first book, Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia, she did not yet have the piece of shattering knowledge that would finally make sense of the chaos of her life. At age twenty-four, Hornbacher was diagnosed with Type I rapid-cycle bipolar, the most severe form of bipolar disorder.

In Madness, in her trademark wry and utterly self-revealing voice, Hornbacher tells her new story. Through scenes of astonishing visceral and emotional power, she takes us inside her own desperate attempts to counteract violently careening mood swings by self-starvation, substance abuse, numbing sex, and self-mutilation. How Hornbacher fights her way up from a madness that all but destroys her, and what it is like to live in a difficult and sometimes beautiful life and marriage -- where bipolar always beckons -- is at the center of this brave and heart-stopping memoir.

Madness delivers the revelation that Hornbacher is not alone: millions of people in America today are struggling with a variety of disorders that may disguise their bipolar disease. And Hornbacher's fiercely self-aware portrait of her own bipolar as early as age four will powerfully change, too, the current debate on whether bipolar in children actually exists.

Ten years after Kay Redfield Jamison's An Unquiet Mind, this storm of a memoir will revolutionize our understanding of bipolar disorder.


Average rating
4.8 / 5
Best ever
March 14th, 2015
This is by far the best memoir/book I have ever read. I also have bipolar and could relate to a ton of her story. It is hilarious, compelling, and will make you feel high because it is so intense.
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1 review
Glimmer of hope
January 3rd, 2015
Great read! Definitely a keeper for reference on the "crazy days" some days you wish you were alone in this battle just so no one else has to suffer but it is also a relief to know there are people out there who understand and are your kind of crazy
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1 review
July 9th, 2013
Another amazing book by Marya! Trully brilliant!
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1 review

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