“Hornbacher is a virtuoso writer."
— New York Times
In 1998, at age twenty-four, Marya Hornbacher published the Pulitzer Prize–nominated, best-selling Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia. Now, still a young woman, Hornbacher tells the story that until recently she had no idea was hers to tell: that of her life with Type I ultra-rapid-cycle bipolar disorder, the most severe form of bipolar disease.
In Madness, Hornbacher relates that bipolar can spawn eating disorders, substance abuse, promiscuity, and self-mutilation, and that for too long these symptoms have masked, for many of the three million people in America with bipolar, their underlying illness. Hornbacher’s fiercely self-aware portrait of bipolar, starting as early as age four, will surely powerfully change the current debate over whether bipolar can begin in childhood.
Through scenes of astonishing visceral and emotional power, she takes us inside her own desperate attempts to counteract violently careening mood swings. 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.
“[She] tiptoes along the same high wire as Plath, Lowell, Woolf…Her talent has created a third self, an appealing, rueful narrator who can look back on three decades of manic-depressive illness, much of it untreated, and spin a story that is almost impossible to put down.”
— New York Times
“Hooks readers from the start…As [Hornbacher] whips around this rollercoaster ride, her unflinching style keeps us firmly seated beside her.”
“…has the same intimately revelatory and shocking emotional power that marked Wasted.”
— USA Today
“In staccato bursts of present tense [Hornbacher] makes us inhabit her brain and experience the extremes of her highs and lows, which are not mood swings as much as all-engulfing tsunami waves. Hornbacher is so gifted a writer that I was more than willing to go along for the ride.”
— Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“[H]eartbreaking…both disturbing and deeply moving, giving true insight into what it’s like to live with this most stubbornly intransigent of mental disorders. Followers of Wasted…will clamor for this.”
— Library Journal (starred review)
“With haunting candor, Marya Hornbacher takes us on a searing but heroic journey. Madness is impossible to put down. Hornbacher not only survived a nightmare, but she emerged with deep understanding and insight. She has written a stunning memoir of anguish and resilience, terror and transformation.”
— David Sheff, author of Beautiful Boy