Synopses & Reviews
Charlotte Pierce-Baker did everything right when raising her son, providing not only emotional support but the best education possible. At age twenty-five, he was pursuing a postgraduate degree and seemingly in control of his life. She never imagined her high-achieving son would wind up handcuffed, dirty, and in jail.
The moving story of an African American family facing the challenge of bipolar disorder, This Fragile Life provides insight into mental disorders as well as family dynamics. Pierce-Baker traces the evolution of her sons illness and, in looking back, realizes she mistook warning signs for typical child and teen behavior. Hospitalizations, calls in the night, alcohol and drug relapses, pleas for money, and continuous disputes, her sons journey was long, arduous, and almost fatal. This Fragile Life weaves a fascinating story of mental illness, race, family, the drive of African Americans to succeed, and a mothers love for her son.
"Illuminating and brilliant, with poetry and prose, mother and son lay bare the ravages of bipolar disorder and the journey toward growth and understanding. A touching, lyrical memoir." —Jewell Parker Rhodes, award-winning author of Voodoo Dreams and Douglass' Women
"[An] eloquent dialogue of mother and son, poetry and prose, sickness and healing, fury and acceptance, fear and hope, life and death, and, foremost, author and reader." —Cathy N. Davidson, author of Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn
"This Fragile Life is an extraordinary book. . . . compelling, piercing, and informative.” —Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and author of An Unquiet Mind
About the Author
Charlotte Pierce-Baker is a professor of women's studies, gender studies, and English at Vanderbilt University and the author of Surviving the Silence. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.