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Posts Tagged ‘disability’

29. “The Dissociative Identity Disorder Sourcebook,” Deborah Bray Haddock

October 12, 2011 1 comment

Page count: 265
Page total: 9,505

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58. “The Pleasure of my Company,” Steve Martin

August 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Daniel Pecan Cambridge is torn between four women: his neighbor Rachel, whom he has been secretly drugging with doctored smoothies meant to calm the actress’s nerves before auditions; his social worker (or is it is therapist?) Clarissa, who visits Daniel in his home twice a week, providing the structure around which he builds his time; Zandy, the friendly pharmacist who fills his prescriptions and his beloved Rite-Aid; and Elizabeth, a fakey, bleach-blonde real estate agent trying to sell units in the over-priced condo across the street from Daniel’s home.

I came across this title on a disabilities book list, which described Daniel as having OCD. Reading expecting that, I was confused, as he reminded me more of Daniel Tammet in his memoir “Born on a Blue Day.” Assuming that the Publisher’s Weekly review is correct and Daniel has both OCD and autism (or Asperger’s), this book is subtley crafted. If Daniel’s meant to have just OCD, I’d suggest that Martin do a bit more research, as Daniel is heavy on obsessive “quirks” like requiring the combined wattage of the light bulbs in his home to add up to 1,125, but lacking in the tension that necessitates these obsessions be carried out.

Daniel makes for an irreverent, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants narrator, aware when he’s doing “abnormal” things, but not caring or feeling the need to explain why. Just when it starts to get old, Daniel starts to find his routine challenged by new opportunities opening up for him– opportunities that stem directly from some choices that he has made for himself.

(Yes, that Steve Martin.)

Page count: 164
Page total: 15,781

22. “The Burn Journal,” Brent Runyon

April 14, 2010 Leave a comment

This is Runyon’s memoirs of a suicide attempt at fourteen and the next year of rehabilitative therapy. I found the first half of the book extremely difficult because I remember vividly what it felt like to be that sad. I had a pain in my chest while reading.

This book was very brave in that it not only talks about some very personal stuff (like, you know, setting oneself on fire), but family dynamics and, most personal of all, how shitty horribly depressed fourteen-year-olds are to their loving and concerned families. I was really pissed off at what a dick Runyon was to pretty much everyone he encountered in this part of his life but I think it was brave to show how the self-doubt and self-hatred spirals. I appreciated the really lackluster diagloge because it seemed so genuinely reflective of the not knowing what to say when it is clear someone is messed up (physically and emotionally, in Runyon’s case).

That said, I wish that there were more, even in just the afterword, about how a person goes from frequent suicidal gestures and one very dramatic attempt to an apparently well-adjusted, successful author. Though the memoir was really framed around Runyon’s school relationships, his return to mainstream school didn’t seem to be the end of the story. But who am I to argue with his experiences? I’m just always curious about that “what now?” That was (and is) the hardest part of my own mental illness. What do you do when you’re not in crisis mode? That’s the story I’m more interested in now.

Page count: 325
Page total: 5,388