Cover image for We heard the angels of madness : one family's struggle with manic depression
We heard the angels of madness : one family's struggle with manic depression
Berger, Diane, 1942-
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Publication Information:
New York : Morrow, 1991.
Physical Description:
308 pages ; 25 cm
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RC516 .B44 1991 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Mark's odyssey, written by his mother and his aunt in collaboration with Mark himself, begins intensely, with a microwave oven shattering the plate glass window of a delicatessen; Mark's subsequent arrest is brutally punctuated by a police pistol shoved into his mouth. This well-written book presents both a personal diatribe on manic depression and a wealth of information about the disease itself, its chapters alternating between clinical analysis of mental illness, the highs and lows of various treatments and therapy available, and a personal chronology of the effect of Mark's mental illness on his family and himself, with a kaleidoscope of Mark's visitations by the "angels" scattered throughout. From a mother's description of her once "normal" son as the "gorilla at the dinner party," to their difficult and expensive reconciliation with Mark's disease, this story squelches the stigma of madness with rare sensitivity and insight. ~--Ivy Burrowes

Publisher's Weekly Review

Diane Berger, whose son Mark was first afflicted with manic depression in college, offers a moving account of her family's efforts to understand and cope with his illness. Alternating chapters written by her sister Lisa ( Cashing In ) deliver valuable information on the multiple symptoms--hearing voices, hallucinations, violence and mood swings, among them--and treatment of this many-faceted, little-understood mental illness caused by ``a tangle of heredity, biology and environment.'' Victims often are mistaken for drug addicts. The sisters recall the ordeal of coping with the patient and with their own feelings of alienation and guilt; some of Mark's ravings and inner colloquies also are reproduced. Advice includes suggestions on how to choose institutions and medical professionals. Although incurable, manic depression may be kept at bay by medication and self-monitoring. Author tour. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

The ``angels of madness'' are the voices that Mark Berger, a manic depressive, heard during his manic episodes. They also represent the emotional upheaval his family experienced when they learned of his illness. Mark's mother Diane and her sister Lisa alternate their personal story with care-giving advice and specifics about the disease (e.g., drugs, professional help, hospitals, halfway houses, and suicide). Their one weakness is a failure to clearly define manic depression, which may cause readers to confuse it with other related disorders. Nonetheless, the Bergers have made vital information on manic depression accessible to the layperson, thereby filling an important gap in mental health literature. The appendixes list ongoing studies, support groups, and organizations across the country. (Index not seen.) Recommended for popular psychology collections.-- Elizabeth De Marco, Onondaga Cty . P.L. , N.Y. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.