The Dark Side of Innocence: Growing Up Bipolar

by

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Author: Terri Cheney

Title: The Dark Side of Innocence: Growing Up Bipolar

Genre: Nonfiction

Publication Date: March 1st, 2011

Number of Pages: 288 pages

Geographical Setting: Los Angeles, CA

Time Period: Late 1960’s – 1970’s

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: Terri Cheney chronicles her life as a young girl struggling with bipolar disorder while growing up in a suburban Los Angeles home in this engaging memoir.  She eloquently retells stories about her childhood and teen years, pulling the reader in with a sense of urgency through every incident.  Throughout the book, she is hiding a secret that she herself is too young to understand, even though on the outside she was a smart and successful student, beloved by her father.  Candid and straight-forward, Cheney doesn’t hide anything that happened to her as a child, nor does she make excuses for why she did those things, other than the fact that a force inside of her, whom she named as the “Black Beast”, drove her into this destructive, manic lifestyle.

Subject Headings: Bipolar Disorder, Childhood, Dysfunctional Families, Self-Discovery, Sexual Experimentation, Spirituality and Religion, Writing, Suburban Life

Appeal terms: Intense, dramatic, ominous, sexual, volatile, urgent, hostile, bittersweet, angst-ridden, complex, uneasy, evocative, candid, character-centered, morbid, bleak, angry

3 terms that best describes this book: Disturbing, intensely dramatic, emotional

Similar Authors and Works:

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Welcome to the Jungle: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Bipolar but Were Too Freaked Out to Ask by Hilary Smith

A funny and insightful book that dives deep into a difficult issue with humor only someone who has been there can truly write about.

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir by Kay Redfield Jamison

A psychiatrist opens up about her life struggles with depression, varying from her personal stories to scientific knowledge about the disease that both distraught and thrilled her.

Where Are the Cocoa Puffs? A Family’s Journey Through Bipolar Disorder by Karen Winters Schwartz

The teenage daughter of a psychiatrist is bipolar, and every member of the family is affected by her behavior, though they handle it in different ways.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Impulse by Ellen Hopkins

Written in free verse, this is the story of three psychologically troubled teens connecting after they are committed to a mental health facility after suicide attempts.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Largely seen as autobiographical, this is a fictional work about a young female writer in the 1950’s whose talent was overshadowed by her constant struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts.

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Joanne Greenberg

A young teenage girl struggling with schizophrenia has to fight for a way to live sanely and escape the torments of her fantasies.

Name: Lian Sze

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