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Madness: A Bipolar Life Audiobook, by Marya Hornbacher Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Marya Hornbacher Narrator: Tavia Gilbert Publisher: HMH Adult Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2019 ISBN: 9780358243991
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (4,472 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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An astonishing dispatch from inside the belly of bipolar disorder, reflecting major new insights

When Marya Hornbacher published her first book, Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia, she did not yet have the piece of shattering knowledge that would finally make sense of the chaos of her life. At age twenty-four, Hornbacher was diagnosed with Type I rapid-cycle bipolar, the most severe form of bipolar disorder.

In Madness, in her trademark wry and utterly self-revealing voice, Hornbacher tells her new story. Through scenes of astonishing visceral and emotional power, she takes us inside her own desperate attempts to counteract violently careening mood swings by self-starvation, substance abuse, numbing sex, and self-mutilation. How Hornbacher fights her way up from a madness that all but destroys her, and what it is like to live in a difficult and sometimes beautiful life and marriage -- where bipolar always beckons -- is at the center of this brave and heart-stopping memoir.

Madness delivers the revelation that Hornbacher is not alone: millions of people in America today are struggling with a variety of disorders that may disguise their bipolar disease. And Hornbacher's fiercely self-aware portrait of her own bipolar as early as age four will powerfully change, too, the current debate on whether bipolar in children actually exists.

Ten years after Kay Redfield Jamison's An Unquiet Mind, this storm of a memoir will revolutionize our understanding of bipolar disorder.

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  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Teresa | 2/15/2014

    " I read this book fairly quickly, at least for me, in order to get through it. I had to be hospitalized for two episodes that I had, but my experience, while some descriptions of things such as feeling like hearing people as though we were underwater were relatable, are nothing as intense and extreme and self-destructive as Hornbacher's. I'm sure this is an accurate picture of her bipolar life, and she shares it completely. It's a terrible disorder, and it was terrible to read about it, but I'm glad she wrote it. There's lots of brain research going on these days, so maybe one of these days a cure will be found. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Terry | 2/12/2014

    " I'm a big fan of "Wasted" so I was interested in reading "Madness" because I think she's a great writer. I think this book is valuable because it is a very honest picture of living with a mental illness. Many memoirs, especially ones that deal with depression and/or eating disorders and/or dysfunctional families, sort of (sometimes accidentally, I'm sure) romanticize mental illness as a component of creativity--you know, that people who are a little unstable are more creative artists or writers, or that artists/writers are a little more sensitive, live a slightly more unhinged life, than "normal" people do, etc. etc. But this book makes it very clear that mental illness is brutal and unrelenting and devastating and many times those with mental illnesses are their own worst enemy. And so forth. This would be a good book to read for any adolescents (real or prolonged!) who are a little too dreamy about the whole tortured-artist thing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Molly | 2/7/2014

    " Loved it. Hated it at first because it was too much like listening to my own thoughts but even louder, and for fun. But she is just a golden writer and story teller and is so easy to follow. Great story. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Beneath | 2/3/2014

    " No thank you. I couldn't even finish it. It's just her style of writing. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Esther | 1/29/2014

    " I read Wasted a few years ago, which was really interesting. This book, dealing with her experiences with bipolar is not as good. Going from the timeframe of the book, most if not all of it was written whilst she was really suffering. She talks in the book for example about not sleeping for 3 days and writing non stop during manic phases (so you mean writing this book presumably?) So some chapters are a bit shapeless and page after page of why/what/help/panic/blargh. The bits where she talks about her wild up happy phase blowing all the money she earned from Wasted sales were interesting. Unfortunately for her, this time I borrowed Madness from the library. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeff | 1/21/2014

    " This is a compelling and authentic account of a talented writer's battle with bipolar I disorder, especially describing the symptoms we sufferers of this disorder live through in confusion with ourselves and with our families and friends. Blessed is the day when one finds the right psychiatrist or psychologist or other mental health professional who identifies this illness and can find the right recipe of medications to help stabilize one's mood swings, be they rapid, drastic, mild, or occur in long periods with deep manic and depressive episodes. Thank God for the psychopharmacology we have today and the mental health professionals that today specialize in identifying, treating, and counseling we that suffer from this disorder, as disastrous to the body but as treatable as diabetes. Ms Hornbacher has done a great service to helping to understand bipolar disorder -- it's ramifications if untreated or if one self medicates with narcotics or fbooze, and the benefits when a sufferer complies with her treatment. Ms Hornbacher, by exploring her story of living with bipolar disorder also demystifies this mental illness. It helps to change the paradigm in how we quantify mental illness. We would not say a person was cancer or was heart disease; similarly, a person is not bipolar, a person suffers from bipolar disorder. What better way to learn about bipolar disorder than through the memoir of a person who struggles with it. It's better than a dry psychology text any day. Ms Hornbacher has made this subject visceral and accessible to us. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stephen | 1/20/2014

    " Marya Hornbacher is well skilled in accounting her personnel journey's. This is a follow up read to an earlier book as well, which has been well appraised. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3beekay3 | 12/8/2013

    " I thought it was awfully depressing having gone through a manic episode myself and coming through it. She was very irresponsible with her meds and ruined her life a bit. But a good read nonetheless. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Allyron | 11/25/2013

    " My sister left Madness for me after her last visit. I finally picked it up this morning and haven't been able to put it down since! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ari | 11/12/2013

    " Slightly interesting, although it was almost stressful at times to read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emma | 5/14/2013

    " The one where the eating disorder girl goes on to talk about her experiences with bipolar disorder. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alex | 4/2/2013

    " A really vivid view of what it's like to live with bipolar disorder...vivid, troubling, and a bit exhausting. (I'm guessing the prose reflects the experience.) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shawna | 2/8/2013

    " Very interesting and educational. It really shows why a person with bipolar disorder behaves the way they do. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth | 9/1/2012

    " Wow. It's pretty much all that I can say about this book. I read the author's first book and thought that things really couldn't have gotten much worse for her, but I have to admit that I was not surprised by her diagnosis. As always, the book was beautifully written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 M | 7/15/2012

    " A brave, intense book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ronnie | 4/8/2012

    " Good book. Helpful real-life look at Bipolar D/O. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathie | 3/15/2012

    " Wow! scary! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Judy | 4/19/2011

    " A look at Bipolar that scared me because she writes to experience what she goes through "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stephanie | 4/12/2011

    " So interesting- I am acquainted with a couple of people who are diagnosed bipolar, and after reading this I think I understand them a little better. And am SO grateful to not have that particular cross to bear. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 cassie | 3/31/2011

    " This was hard to get through, yet I couldn't put it down. The whole time, I was relieved and worried throughout the book. Relieved that I am NOT that bad, worried because at times I knew exactly what she was talking about. It's honest and to the point about all that this disease can entail. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ally | 3/22/2011

    " Thank goodness she wrote this book! In so many ways she has told MY story and I was able to pass this along to people so that they may understand me better. Written with utmost honesty and humor. "

About the Author

Marya Hornbacher is the author of the Pulitzer Prize–nominated national bestseller Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia, a book that remains an intensely read classic, and of the acclaimed novel The Center of Winter. An award-winning journalist, she lectures nationally on eating disorders and lives with her husband in Minneapolis.

About the Narrator

Tavia Gilbert is an acclaimed narrator of more than four hundred full-cast and multivoice audiobooks for virtually every publisher in the industry. Named the 2018 Voice of Choice by Booklist magazine, she is also winner of the prestigious Audie Award for best narration. She has earned numerous Earphones Awards, a Voice Arts Award, and a Listen-Up Award. has named her a Genre-Defining Narrator: Master of Memoir. In addition to voice acting, she is an accomplished producer, singer, and theater actor. She is also a producer, singer, photographer, and a writer, as well as the cofounder of a feminist publishing company, Animal Mineral.