Title: On Being Insane: In Search of My Missing Pieces
Author: Elliot Gavin Keenan
Page Count: 106
My Rating: 4.5 TURTLES: A really great read, I highly recommend!
*I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review
After being diagnosed with Asperger's Disorder at age seven, Elliot becomes fascinated with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the Bible of American psychiatry) and its enumeration, categorization, and systematization of innate human differences. This specialized knowledge of the DSM's rules and codes comes in handy as Elliot struggles through multiple psychiatric hospitalizations for severe bipolar depression, but his dreams of being a clinical psychologist seem ever further out of reach until a kindly professor and autism scientist termed herein as Dr. Pinball takes notice of his abilities. This is a story of one young man's searching: for sanity, for stability, and for the people who understand. They may be found in unlikely places.
Wow, I cannot believe something this insightful and well-constructed was written by someone my age! Partially due to the classes I took this semester, I have been reading more memoirs than usual and there is something about the somewhat meandering flow of anecdotes and timelines that I really like about the genre and that I think this book does very well. It is also an incredibly honest self-examination, which I have also something it shares with the memoirs that have made the biggest impact on me.
I also think this book is really important because the author is so open about his Aspergers, bipolar depression, and trans identity. There are nowhere near enough stories, especially own voices stories, about people any of these identities, let alone with them intersecting. This memoir is so important for this reason because it is enlightening and informing for people who do not know what it is like to live as a queer person or a person with Aspergers or bipolar depression and could be really empowering and affirming for other people who do have these identities.
I really, highly recommend this book. I do have to disclaim that I work for the company that published it, but I promise I am not overly hyping my opinion because of that. This is a well-written and insightful book (and a quick read, around 100 pages!) I am excited to see what Elliot Keenan will write next!
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