by Terri Cheney; HarperCollins; $24.95

In the preface to Manic, the author warns readers they’re about to embark on a literary experience that “mirrors the disease” — bipolar disorder. “That’s why I’ve chosen to tell my life story episodically, rather than in any chronological order,” she writes. The memoir illuminates heart-breaking suicide attempts, along with equally unpleasant manic episodes, periods of mixed states, hypomania and hospitalizations. The book, though, is laced with humor, and ultimately the narrator is saved by a combination of facing some hard-hitting truths, medication and her writing. My tears didn’t fall until I read the acknowledgements and realized it has taken an army of caring individuals to help bring the protagonist to a place of balance and her story to light.

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