Madness: A Bipolar Life by Marya Hornbacher (Blackstone)

One of the most dramatic clues to a new cycle of the highs and lows of bipolar disorder is the shift in the pace of the sufferer’s internal dialogue, which soon leads to erratic behavior and actions. Narrator Tavia Gilbert uses this shift in pace to construct a framework for her narration of this memoir. It’s a powerful technique for personalizing the experiences of Hornbacher, and the people whose lives are profoundly affected by her illness: rapid-cycling bipolar disorder, the worst form of the condition. During each cycle Gilbert’s initial shifts in pace begin subtly and then intensify as the cycle progresses and ultimately ends, only to begin again. Through this technique, she effectively foreshadows changes, heightens the impact of Hornbacher’s brutal honesty and self-revelation, and provides a glimpse of the dramatic mood shifts characteristic of this disorder. AudioFile