In Hurry Down Sunshine, the writer Michael Greenberg takes the reader on a harrowing journey through his 15 year old daughter’s encounter with a severe manic mental illness.
Her illness so overwhelms her that her human identity seems to disappear. To her father it is as if her real self has died.
Like so many contemporary families, this is a family marked by divorces and remarriages. The illness brings the family together, and they do their best to support and encourage the ill girl and each other, but it looks like they are helpless in the face of the manic onslaught. Father and other family members have some typical reactions at first: they feel guilty, as if they have caused the illness; and they try to deny the reality of serious illness, even in the face of undeniable psychotic symptoms. Nevertheless, they — especially father and second wife — persist in striving for a human relationship with their ill daughter, not giving in to despair, not withdrawing, despite tremendous strain on the marriage. They get good psychiatric treatment, and in the end their persistence has value.
This is an honest and beautifully written book by writer with a sharply observant writer’s eye He does not gloss over the pain.
- Hurry Down Sunshine, Michael Greenberg, Random House, Inc.