Set in Tidewater, Virginia, in the 1980s and early 1990s, this volume documents the violent, drug-addled descent of the author's brother, Michael, into paranoid schizophrenia. From Micheal's first psychotic break aged 14 - out of his mind on acid, seeing God in his suburban bedroom window - through a series of petty crimes, bizarre disappearances, ...
Set in Tidewater, Virginia, in the 1980s and early 1990s, this volume documents the violent, drug-addled descent of the author's brother, Michael, into paranoid schizophrenia. From Micheal's first psychotic break aged 14 - out of his mind on acid, seeing God in his suburban bedroom window - through a series of petty crimes, bizarre disappearances, and suicide attempts to the shocking crime that landed him in the psychiatric wing of a maximum-security prison. This book enables the reader to witness first-hand the fragmenting of a mind and a family. The author's prose offers no consolation or easy answers - simply emotional precision and hard truth.
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Publishers Weekly, 2000-10-16 One of the most harrowing portraits of madness in recent memory, Bottoms's memoir documents the unraveling of his older brother in skillful, off-center prose. The chaos?of mental deterioration, family denial, God obsession and terror?begins in the 1980s, in the Bottomses' suburban home in Tidewater, Va. Fourteen-year-old Michael, high on LSD, believes he sees the face of God and briefly descends into a psychotic fit. From there, Bottoms follows his brother's fall from sanity in a series of misadventures that carve away Michael's humanity?homelessness; suicide attempts with Drano and hanging; sudden disappearances, sometimes to other states. The boy's parents watch his mental vanishing act with stoicism, more worried about the opinions of their prosperous neighbors than the health of their son. When Michael rapidly falls apart after a brutal trauma, the family's rage and frustration corrodes most of their remaining goodwill?he is jeopardizing their hard-won facade of happiness, destroying their hopes for normalcy. Throughout the book, Bottoms, whose work has appeared in the online magazines Salon, Feed and Nerve, candidly discloses his feelings of shame, fear and sympathy for his brother, as well as his disdain for his parents' handling of the crisis. Though the prose is occasionally flat in comparison to the crises it recounts, and bookstore browsers will have to get past the lackluster jacket, this memoir will rivet readers in their 20s and 30s who are interested in schizophrenia. (Nov.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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