Author: David Fitzpatrick
Publisher: William Morrow (2012)
Rating: 4 stars
David Fitzpatrick had it all as a young man, including a degree from a great university, good-looks, and artistic promise. However, mental illness swooped in and stole it all away, shaking its finger in his face, saying “Don’t be stupid. You don’t deserve that!” His crippling, low self-esteem drove him to cut himself, which for once in his life gave him a semblance of control.
David Fitzpatrick, now in his 40s, revisits the time before mental illness claimed his life with astonishing clarity. Describing abusive relationships with his brother growing up and later with his roommates in college, his sexual and romantic relationships that held such promise but ultimately failed, and the terror of graduating and feeling like you aren’t fit to do anything in the world.
He goes into gruesome detail about cutting himself and the high that he got from doing it; surviving mental institution after mental institution; the amazing, broken people that he met on his journey to health; the horrible effects of medication; and the seemingly endless therapy sessions.
Fitzpatrick takes us on his journey of losing himself completely to a disease and finally regaining his life through a mixture of determination and sensing that the disease had run its course.
Sharp is the best memoir I have read, aside from The Glass Castle. In order to be good, which so few are, memoirs have to be truly revealing. Fitzpatrick spares us no detail of his blood soaked psyche and deleterious self-image. His writing has an artistic vision that had me itching to read the novel he will one day write.
The things that Fitzpatrick goes through are horrendous, but on some level everyone has experienced low self-esteem, feelings of unworthiness, and depressive thoughts. I felt a connection with all of the moments leading up to self-harm, and I was really rooting for him to get better and feeling so low every time he failed.
David Fitzpatrick is a writer that we should all keep an eye on, because someday he’s going to blow us all away, like a 21st century Salinger!
About David Fitzpatrick
David Fitzpatrick was born in Dearborn, Michigan, grew up in Connecticut, graduated from Skidmore College, and earned his MFA degree from Fairfield University in 2011. He works part-time at an auto dealership and is married to a graphic designer and fellow writer, Amy Holmes. His works have been published by The New Haven Review, Barely South Review, and Fiction Weekly. He lives in Middletown, Connecticut.
Other blogs on the tour:
Tuesday, August 21st: Our Little Bit of Wonderful
Thursday, August 23rd: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Monday, August 27th: StephTheBookworm
Tuesday, August 28th: she treads softly
Wednesday, August 29th: Twisting the Lens
Thursday, August 30th: BooksAreTheNewBlack
Tuesday, September 4th: Tiffany’s Bookshelf
Wednesday, September 5th: Between the Covers
Thursday, September 6th: In the Next Room
Friday, September 14th: Good Girl Gone Redneck