3 out of 4 stars
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Bi-polaroid is written by David Samuelson. It consists of the creative expressions of an individual afflicted with manic-depressive psychosis. Being a counselor, I was drawn by the title of this book and decided to review it. Indeed, it serves to conscientize the reader about the struggles of those who have to live with this illness. I have known persons with bipolar disorder who have learned to cope with it and lead almost normal lives because of understanding and support from their families and dear ones. I have also known those who feel rejected, isolated, and have suicidal tendencies. My observations regarding the effects of a supportive environment are confirmed after reading this book.
The table of contents begins by giving the impression that Bi-polaroid is a collection of dramatic acts with several scenes and characters. It then seems to turn into a personal journal. I find it difficult to see a logical link or coherence between the topics. They are disjointed and not arranged chronologically according to the year in which the author wrote them. Like a work of art, the publication consists of poems that are sometimes like prose, prose that is sometimes like poetry, and letters that are like voicemails. Initially, I felt confused as well as amused and couldn’t make sense of it. I understood the meaning only after reading it the second time.
David writes poems about the causes and symptoms of depression, his love for his wife, family members, a pet dog, sports, and many other topics. He describes the voices that torment him, the feelings of being rejected by a woman, loneliness, the wounds of Jesus, etc. He also writes a few short stories. I was greatly moved by the story of a lonely old man who imagines his wife is still alive. Another story of a man who eats garbage was heart-wrenching. The author writes a play set in a mental hospital, which did not impress me because it seems to be incomplete.
Bi-polaroid is a collection of a variety of creative writings to suit different types of readers. I do not think the contents of this book are distinctive of bipolar disorder because the mood swings are not so obvious. However, it mentions symptoms that may be associated with it, such as hallucinations, illusions, paranoia, fear, suicidal ideation, etc. Overall, it is an artistic creation that may appeal to people suffering from mental illness as well as their friends and relatives. Coping strategies are included.
Based on what I have already mentioned above, I am happy to rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. I appreciate the author for his courage to share his experiences in this book. However, I did not give a full rating because I had to read it twice to understand the contents. I also found several grammatical errors and typos. This publication may appeal to counselors, people suffering from psychosis, social workers, and pastors.
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