Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Book Review: Invisible Driving by Alistair McHarg - by Cecie

I recently read INVISIBLE DRIVING by Alistair McHarg. This captivating novel is his autobiographical account of surviving his third major manic episode. As one might imagine, time passes at an accelerated rate during mania, and thus the book has an extremely fast and increasingly frenetic pace. In other words, it’s a very quick read.

As one who is familiar with the highs of bipolar disorder, I found it quite interesting and entertaining. Readers who haven’t experienced mania up close and personal may find it difficult to believe, but speaking from experience, every phrase resonated with manic reality. I would be remiss not to add that McHarg is a master wordsmith, and his descriptive and playful language is apropos in achieving the manic mindset. At one moment hilarious, at another singsong, then soaring, then annoying, he artfully renders the script of a manic mind on high.

McHarg barely stops to gather his wits (why bother?) in between one after another after another, wild and woolly foray into a world wholly real and tangible to the unsuspecting bystander, but under Mr. McHarg’s manic microscope it’s a totally different reality, full of exciting an unbounded possibilities. A world where he is all-knowing, all-powerful, all-creative, all-capable, all-charming… and hey, why wouldn’t that be a place that you’d want to be?

Except, as we all know, what goes up must come down, and a manic mood episode is no different. Sooner or later all the lies and self-deception, not to mention the sleep and food deprivation, take their inevitable toll.

In the end, Alistair has to gather up the pieces of his life and try to regain his footing on what’s left of the reality that he hasn’t totally alienated. It’s no easy feat, but somehow he pulls it off. Better yet, he has managed to put his experience into words, documenting a journey from self-destruction to self-realization – the golden phoenix rising from the ashes of mania’s blast furnace… just another day in the life of a person with manic depression.

Note: Dr. Fink & Mr. Kraynak are co-authors of BIPOLAR DISORDER for DUMMIES

"Cecie"  is married to Mr. Kraynak and learned about the illness first-hand.


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