Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Book Review: Sharp by David Fitzpatrick

I've discussed my own depression on the blog before, and it's obviously a topic that means something to me personally.  I was particularly interested to see this memoir from David Fitzpatrick that chronicles his depression, self-mutilation, and resulting years spent in mental hospitals.  It's not as common to hear men describe themselves as self-injuring and it's much less common in an adult male.  Given his experiences, which lasted into his thirties, I knew he would have a unique take on depression and cutting.

This came with an endorsement from Wally Lamb, who is a hit or miss author for me.  Similarly, Fitzpatrick's writing had its highs and lows.  Overall, I wasn't just hugely impressed with the quality of the writing.  Fitzpatrick writes like you'd expect the stereotypical MFA to write.  It came across as trying too hard and forced.  There were wonderful moments, but the heavy-handed literary-ness of it turned me off.

Entertainment Value
Who wants to say they were entertained by the story of someone else's devastation and heartbreak?  Kind of hard to rave about how fascinating you found it, but in this case it is true.  Fitzpatrick has a really unique take on the issue of depression, cutting, and hospitalization because of his age and gender.   It's a great look at the disease and stigma of mental illness from a very original point of view.  To me, that made the book worth reading.

I think if you are interested in the topics of depression and mental illness as told through personal experience, you should give this a try if only to read Fitzpatrick's unique story. The writing could have been less forced in places, but I don't think it takes away from the value of the story.  It's also a good read for fans of grittier memoirs.

Thank you to TLC for providing me with a copy to review.  Click here to see a list of all the blogs participating in this tour.


  1. You're right that we don't often hear this kind of story for adult men. I'm sure it is an issue, so maybe this book will help bring more attention to it.

    Thanks for being on the tour.

  2. Almost everyone who's read this book has said it's hard to say they "enjoyed" this book, but they did enjoy the book. Interesting juxtaposition.

    As Heather said, thanks for being on the tour!