- A trip into the chaos of mental illness
Reviewed by Dee Jordan
Scott Zwiren takes the reader on a frightening trip inside the roller coaster head of a manic depressive during many psychotic episodes. As an unnamed narrator, the reader becomes this sick person experiencing the voices, the hallucinations, the delusions, and the overriding need to kill himself. You walk the streets of Manhattan, smell the smells, hear the people on the streets, and hear the demons chasing Scott as he perpetually tries to find peace.
The book's climax will literally stop your heart. Scott's manic delusions have him do the unthinkable as he jumps in front of an oncoming subway train, and lives to tell his story. So, added to his mental disability is now this tremendous physical disability. But Scott is an amazing person and his indomitable spirit inspires his readers that no hardship is too great to overcome in time.
I've read many books on mental illness and most especially on bipolar disorder since that is my own diagnosis. Without a doubt, this is the most "real" memoir that shows the fine nuances of the mind under siege and the mind in a normal cycle. Scott was lucky that he had loving parents that supported him emotionally during this horrible period of his life. This book is not for the squeamish. It's hard hitting and gets down to the nitty-gritty side of mental illness.
I'm proud to say that Scott is a friend of my good friend Sam Pirro who has written for New York City Voices too, and is doing much better. When I recently visited the city of New York, I especially enjoyed walking where Scott's restless spirit took him as I recognized streets and locales like the Hungarian Café way uptown near 102nd Street. I felt a total empathy with him and that deepened the experience of reading the book.