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Hello to All That: A Memoir of War, Zoloft, and Peaceby John Falk
"Hello to All That has the dry wit of many a depressive, and it is always vivid and absorbing. Falk alternates chapters on his experiences in Bosnia and chapters on the history of his depression, so that the psychological circumstances of his departure are not fully understood until the book's end. This (along with the carefully re-crafted dialogue) gives it the build of a novel, and like a lot of novels, Falk's book begins with despair and ends in marriage. It is a brave look back at a few of the many variations of hell." Anna Godbersen, Esquire (read the entire Esquire review)
Synopses & Reviews
His own chemistry was his worst enemy and it took John Falk to some very strange places — from Garden City to sniper-infested Tuzla during the most dangerous days of the Bosnian bloodbath. But through it all, in the face of chronic depression, he kept reaching out for the life he'd been deprived. And this is his story — crazed, comic, poignant, suspenseful, hopeful.
Falk was an average Long Island kid, until depression hit and he became a teenage boy in a bubble, ashamed and trapped behind an impenetrable chemical wall. Sort of surviving on "chin-up, get tough" tips from his big, boisterous family (and self-concocted attempted-cures), Falk tried to hide his disease. Or fight. Still, he was forced to withdraw from the world and its pleasures, which be could no longer feel. By 24, he was alone in his parents' attic, living on books by war correspondents — their adventues his only escape until he found a blue pill called Zoloft. When, secretly, he upped his dosage (a lot!), his world sped up — particularly after he shot out of the attic and shocked his stunned family by setting out on a mission to make his name as a war correspondent among the rag-tag crew of stringers and thrill-seekers gathered in Sarajevo to cover one of the most dangerous conflicts in recent memory.
Falk's journey is never predictable. Despite its outrageous moments, this moving memoir, set against the background of war, is a story of a disease, a family's loyalty, and a real man's battle to connect, cure himself and finally, finally live.
"Afflicted with chronic depression from childhood, Falk thought his troubles were over when he discovered Zoloft at age 25. But it wasn't until he chose the hazardous career of war journalism in Bosnia in the early 1990s that he escaped his 'pointless' life. In this raucous, zany memoir, the author explains how he chose that profession after reading books of extraordinary lives and deciding adventure would restore him to life. Courting chaos and death in a place where sanity matters little would, he thought, do the trick. War reporters were 'free agents who answered to no one and lived each day like it was their last.' Falk intercuts wild, amusing scenes of his troubled 1980s Long Island youth with the uncontrolled mayhem of Sarajevo, where his instincts as a reporter often failed him and got him into tricky situations (e.g., being mistaken for a spy). However, while maniacally juggling his meds and daily NBC radio stories, he experienced the futility of war and matured as a man and a journalist. Falk's wise, comical testament ends on a joyous note of a marriage and a Details magazine article that morphed into a Peabody Award — winning HBO movie, Shot Through the Heart, making his story an unlikely personal triumph over depression. Agent, Stuart Krichevsky. (Jan. 4)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"A thoroughly engaging memoir, sometimes hilarious and sometimes horrifying, as Falk recalls episodes in a brutal war and one man's personal struggle to reconnect with life." Vanessa Bush, Booklist
"Hello To All That is a brilliant, moving, hillarious, and altogether completely original memoir that will undoubtably go down as an instant classic. John Falk has somehow written a book about war and the even more terrifying darkness within him that manages to be both poigant and irresistably funny." Sebastian Junger, author of The Perfect Storm
An off-the-wall, heartbreaking, and often hilarious memoir of a correspondent reporting from the front lines while also battling his lifelong nemesis-chronic depression
His own chemistry was his worst enemy, and it took John Falk to some very strange places-from Garden City, Long Island, to sniper-infested Sarajevo during the Bosnian bloodbath. But through it all, in the face of chronic depression, he kept reaching out for the life he'd always wanted. Hello to All That is his story-crazed, comic, poignant, suspenseful, hopeful.
Falk was an average Long Island kid, until depression left him ashamed and trapped behind an impenetrable chemical wall. Barely surviving on "chin-up" tips from his big, loyal, boisterous family, Falk tried to fight his disease-or hide it. But by twenty-four, he was alone, living on books by war correspondents, their adventures his only escape. Then he found a blue pill called Zoloft and set out on a mission to make his own name as a correspondent during one of the most dangerous conflicts in recent memory. Falk's journey has never been predictable, and neither is his moving, outrageous, and sometimes frightening memoir.
Here is the riveting tale of a man's lifelong battle-the struggle to defeat his greatest enemy and to connect, cure himself, and finally live.
His own chemistry was his worst enemy, and it took John Falk to some very strange places--from Garden City, Long Island, to sniper-infested Sarajevo during the Bosnian bloodbath. But through it all, in the face of chronic depression, Falk kept reaching out for the life he'd always wanted. Hello to All That is his story--crazed, comic, poignant, suspenseful, and hopeful.
About the Author
Among psychologists today, John Falk is known as patient X and the story of his recovery from chronic depression is used to inspire hope in other patients. He is also a law school graduate and freelance journalist who survived the rough and tumble of reporting from the front in Sarajevo. An article he wrote for Details magazine, entitled "Shot Through the Heart," became an HBO movie and won a Peabody Award for Best Cable Movie of the Year. He lives in Hillsdale, New York.
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