Walks on the Margins: A Story of Bipolar Disorder
What Readers Are Saying
A Shared Journey, By Taylor Poor, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Education Program Coordinator
Walks on the Margins: A Story of Bipolar Illness is a tale told in tandem by a mother and son fighting the devastation of bipolar disorder together. In alternating chapters, Kathy Brandt describes the heartbreak of becoming both her son’s drillmaster and his most passionate advocate, while Max Maddox offers the lyrical narrative of what his descent into the disorder looked like from the inside. The honest combination of their two perspectives is a refreshing and meaningful contribution to the landscape of mental health memoirs.
The Contract of Your Birth, by Kathryn Eastburn on KRCC’s The Middle Distance
“. . .Walks on the Margins: A Story of Bipolar Illness, told with brutal honesty, great skill and sweeping passages of lyric beauty, is nothing short of a landmark in the literature of mental illness. . . .
“The book succeeds on several levels, not the least of which is the alternating rhythm of those voices, Kathy’s steady and under-stated, Max’s lush with imagery. The book begins with Max’s first psychotic break: ‘It was just before sunrise at the electric blue hour I had come to appreciate in the week since I had given up sleeping,’ he says. His behavior had grown increasingly erratic until he was finally picked up by the police, sent to a Des Moines hospital and evaluated by a medical team: ‘I told them who I was (everyone) and where I was from (everywhere), crying into my hands as the lady in white scribbled out a few notes, enough syndromes for a diagnosis’. . . .”
(Read the complete review here.)
“Novelist Kathy Brandt and her son, Max, take readers on a terrifying journey through our nation’s broken, overwhelmed, underfunded, and frustrating mental health care system. Walks On The Margins will make you angry. It will make you cry. It will also inspire you! Ultimately, it is testament to the unconditional love of a parent and a son’s determination to overcome a serious mental illness. Writing in tandem, they have not only told their personal story, but have told the story of thousands of other American families who are everyday heroes — and they have told it extremely well.” Pete Earley, author of CRAZY: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness
“Alternating chapters in this eloquent memoir present the competing perspectives of Kathy Brandt and her college-age son, Max, who struggles with bipolar disorder. It is a heart-breaking, heart-warming story. The entire family rides a rollercoaster of illusions, fear, anger and hope, while navigating a fragmented mental health care system. Do you want to know what it’s like for a family to confront mental illness? Read this book. It’s the real deal.” –Michael J. Fitzpatrick, Executive Director, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
“I love this book. The co-authors seamlessly intertwine a full spectrum of education and complex issues associated with living with and the treatment of bipolar 1 disorder within the story of their true emotional and personal lived experiences.
It’s an important work. It contributes to the conversation about the reality of the existence of mental illness, the deplorable lack of available adequate professional treatment, and the skewed social policies and civil rights laws surrounding the care of those with mental illness in the United States.’ -Kathy Morelli, Licensed Professional Counselor
(read the complete review here)