Book Review: Manic by Terri Cheney

by lackofsolidity on October 12, 2010

This book does a good job of putting you front-and-center in the life of a manic depressive. The author was formerly a successful lawyer that had to fight and hide her shocking depressive and manic episodes.

She was driven to uncontrollable behaviors such as eating raw cooking materials like flour and baking soda. In her depression she was often immobile and had no appetite, but would scourge through dumpsters when the urge to eat finally came up.

In her mania, as is often with Bipolar I women, she’d become sexually promiscuous. During her mixed episodes, she attempted suicide many times.

She tried a lot of different drugs and pharmaceutical combinations. She even went through electroshock therapy, which completely screwed with her memory. She shows the tortuous urges she had to continually fight against, and the circumstances that many of them caused her to end up in, including being raped.

It’s a good look into the experiences of the author. But for some reason I feel like something is missing to make this a more complete, rewarding book. But that’s just my opinion, not the New York Times Bestseller list’s, obviously.

    “The only word I couldn’t seem to say was ‘no.’ […] Manic sex isn’t really intercourse. It’s discourse, just another way to ease the insatiable need for contact and communication. In place of words, I simply spoke with my skin.” (pg. 7)

    “There’s nothing quite like breaking something – the law, a pane of glass, whatever – to embolden a manic mood.” (pg. 11)

    “Stories don’t always have to end happily, I realized. Sometimes it’s just enough that they end, to make way for new stories.” (pg. 29)

    “What right did I have to my own despair, with such genuine suffering before me? I looked around me at the pockmarked children, and all I could think was, a six-figure lifestyle drove me to suicide. It’s chemical, I told myself. I didn’t choose to be manic depressive.” (pg. 111)

    “But mostly I long for sustenance – a sense of fullness, an absence of ache. It’s a primal hunger, that goes beyond food: what I really crave is normalcy.” (pg. 203)

    “Well, if it wasn’t for my manic depression, there would be no me for him to marry, period. I’d be some other person entirely. I wouldn’t have those flashes of brilliance he so admired, that made him want me in the first place. I wouldn’t have the volatility that maddened but intrigued him. Alan hated ordinary. That’s just what I would be.” (pg. 217)

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Terry Cheney’s Website

Ohio State Writers Talk featuring Terri Cheney