Synopses & Reviews
A finely wrought memoir of mental health, "Detour" takes a genre explored by Susanna Kaysen and Kay Redfield Jamison and propels it in a revelatory and rebellious new direction.
"Detour" is the extraordinary first book by Lizzie Simon, a twenty-three-year-old woman with bipolar disorder. We meet her as she is set to abandon her successful career as a theatrical producer in New York City, with plans to hit the road and find other bipolars like herself -- young, ambitious, opinionated, and truth-seeking. Her goal: to speak with them candidly without judgment, fear, or the slightest trace of anything clinical or jargon-laden. She wants their stories in "their" words.
But after falling in love with her first interviewee, a troubled millionaire, the truth and the path become increasingly difficult to find.
She indeed finds inspiring bipolars. Marissa, a twenty-something African-American adoptee; Jan, a popular rock 'n' roll radio deejay and mother of two; Matt, a quiet college student from the South. Each is resilient, wise, healthy, and hopeful. Yet each harbors stories of mania and depression that defy the limits of human experience and survival.
But if she's achieving what she set out to do, then why does she feel more alien and alone than ever? Part road trip, part love story, part mystery, Simon has created a heartbreaking narrative of her cross-country quest.
With brave humor, Simon writes guilelessly about herself, her past, and her search for "a herd of her own." She explores that shifting gray area where illness and identity intersect and blur, with the eye of an insider and the heart and soul of a survivor. Accessible and unique, "Detour" not only opens an intimate window on the day-to-day condition of living with a mood disorder, it also speaks to our universally human struggle to become whole.
"Inspiring and enjoyable, Detour will change misconceptions about bipolar disorder and is a must-read for anyone who is or who knows someone coping with a mental illness." Booklist
"[Simon] writes from her head in a punchy style that will seem familiar to anyone dealing with bipolar disorder. Her fresh, larger-than-life prose will appeal to all readers, especially younger people suffering with this difficult mental illness. A first effort well done." Library Journal
"Simon's candor and charm leap off the page...She's wise, searching, and she's given herself the admirable goal of laughing about the imperfect, partial reality of everything." Laurie Stone, author of Close to the Bone
"Part road story, part confession, part case history, it all adds up to a remarkable and beautifully written memoir." Jonathan Ames, author of The Extra Man
About the Author
Lizzie Simon grew up in Providence and earned her B.A. from Columbia University. Formerly the creative producer at the Obie Award-winning Flea Theater in the Tribeca section of Manhattan, she is now a freelance writer, producer, and frequent guest speaker. Simon is the recipient of a 1999 grant from the Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health. Visit her Web site at www.lizziesimon.com.