Friday, November 6, 2009

Hurry Down Sunshine by Michael Greenberg

This is the story of the summer of 1996 NYC, Greenwich Village. A father witnesses his 15 year old daughter experience a psychic break and allows her to be admitted to a psychiatric ward.

He tells his story of his daughters first descent into and out of madness as it unfolds over the summer. He also weaves in the story of his brother's break with reality and how the brother lives his life in the city, another victim of mental illness.

This is an enjoyable story but almost barely a peak into the kind of anxiety and stress that mental illness can cause in a family. It felt like Greenberg was just skimming the surface. Perhaps the time frame made it feel like a "what I did over the summer" essay as opposed to an exploration of mental illness in a patient so young.

As a memoir, it was enjoyable but given that we learn later that his daughter, Sally, experiences several more psychic breaks throughout her life, you begin to wonder why he told this tale as a simple summer story. It felt almost breezy. Maybe that's okay...

No comments: