Title: Hurry Down Sunshine // Author: Michael Greenberg // Publisher: Other Press // 2008 // 240 p.
I read Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar a few weeks ago, and maybe it got me thinking more about mental illness, and maybe that’s why I wanted to read Michael Greenberg’s Hurry Down Sunshine when I saw it on a book list in November. Plath’s book can be read as a thinly veiled fiction of her own experience, but Greenberg’s book–a memoir–is nonfiction through and through. Hurry Down Sunshine focuses on the summer during which Greenberg’s fifteen-year-old daughter had her first manic episode and was committed to a mental hospital. She was eventually diagnosed as “bipolar 1.” Greenberg’s account of his family’s dealings with mental illness is captivating, and even though the author seems to distance himself too far from the subject matter at times, the Hurry Down Sunshine is a book of great emotional force.
In the opening pages of his new memoir, Michael Greenberg says it’s “something of a sacrilege” to speak of mental illness as anything besides the “chemical brain disease that it on one level is.” Nonetheless, in Hurry Down Sunshine, Greenberg takes on the subject from a father’s perspective and tells the story of his fifteen-year-old daughter’s swift mental decline…to continue reading my review of this book on the About.com Contemporary Literature website, click here.