He Wanted the Moon: The Madness and Medical Genius of Dr. Perry Baird, and His Daughter’s Quest to Know Him. By Mimi Baird, with Eve Claxton. Crown. 272 pages.
The book is autobiography, biography, science, history and literature all in one, as instructive as any textbook and utterly impossible to put down.
from NYTimes review by Abigail Zuger, M.D.
If you’ve read William Styron’s small masterpiece Darkness Visible, you’ve ‘heard’ from a wonderful writer what “madness” is and what it feels like.
If you’ve read Kay Redfield Jamison’s An Unquiet Mind, you know, from both a personal and a scientific perspective, what it is to experience bipolar disease today (manic depression).
Now comes a just released book, He Wanted the Moon, to add to those two wonderful insights into what it is like to experience mental illness. Or in the case of this book, what it was like to experience bipolar disease before we understood it or had any treatment for it.
This one has many of the strengths of the two previous books, and more. I indeed agree with the review quoted above that it is “autobiography, biography, science, history and literature all in one, as instructive as any textbook and utterly impossible to put down.” And, I would add, it is told in such a manner that you haven’t read anything quite like it before.
At least I haven’t.
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