email page    print page

All Topic Reviews
A Mood ApartA Sadly Troubled HistoryActive Treatment of DepressionAdolescent DepressionAdult Bipolar DisordersAgainst DepressionAgents in My BrainAmerican ManiaAmerican MelancholyAn Unquiet MindArtificial HappinessBeating the BluesBefore ProzacBeyond BlueBiological UnhappinessBipolar DisorderBipolar Disorder DemystifiedBipolar Disorder in Childhood and Early AdolescenceBipolar DisordersBipolar ExpeditionsBlaming the BrainBoy InterruptedBritain on the CouchCalm EnergyCase Studies in DepressionChange Your ThinkingChronic DepressionComprehending SuicideConquering Postpartum DepressionConquering the Beast WithinCry Depression, Celebrate RecoveryDamageDepressionDepressionDepression 101Depression and GlobalizationDepression and NarrativeDepression Doesn't Always Have to Be DepressingDepression FalloutDepression in ContextDepression Is a ChoiceDepression SourcebookDepression, Emotion and the SelfDepression, the Mood DiseaseDepression-Free for LifeDetourDiagnostic Issues in Depression and Generalized Anxiety DisorderDown Came the RainDowning Street BluesDysthymia and the Spectrum of Chronic DepressionsEight Stories UpElectroboyElectroshockEssential Psychopharmacology of Depression and Bipolar DisorderExperiences of DepressionFacing BipolarFast GirlFatal AttachmentsGetting Your Life BackGod HeadHandbook of DepressionHandbook of DepressionHello to All ThatHelping Students Overcome Depression and AnxietyHow Everyone Became DepressedHow I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill MeHurry Down SunshineI am Not Sick I Don't Need Help!Journeys with the Black DogLeaving YouLet Them Eat ProzacLife InterruptedLifeForce Yoga to Beat the Blues--Level 1LifeForce Yoga to Beat the Blues: Level 2Lifting DepressionLifting the WeightLincoln's MelancholyLiving Without Depression and Manic DepressionLong ShotLucy Sullivan Is Getting MarriedMadnessMaking Sense of SuicideMalignant SadnessManiaManicManic DepressionManufacturing DepressionMelancholiaMindfulness for Urban Depression: Tools for Relief from Stressful City LivingMindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for DepressionMood GenesMoody Minds DistemperedMy DepressionNatural Healing for DepressionNew Hope for Children and Teens with Bipolar DisorderNew Hope For People With Bipolar DisorderNew Hope for People with DepressionNight Falls FastNovember of the SoulOn DepressionOn the Edge of DarknessOne in ThirteenOrdinarily WellOut of the BlueOutsmarting DepressionOvercoming DepressionPerfect ChaosPotatoes Not ProzacProzac and the New AntidepressantsProzac BacklashProzac HighwayProzac NationProzac NationPsychotic DepressionPuppy Chow Is Better Than ProzacQuiet Your Mind & Get to SleepRaising a Moody ChildReasons to Stay AliveScattershotSelf-CoachingSightlinesSilencing the Self Across CulturesSilent GriefSongs from the Black ChairSongs Without WordsSpeaking of SadnessSpontaneous HappinessStudent DepressionSubordination and DefeatSuicidal Behavior in Children and AdolescentsSuicideSunbathing in the RainSurvival Strategies for Parenting Children with Bipolar DisorderSurviving Manic DepressionSwing LowSylvia Plath ReadsTalking Back to ProzacTaming Your Inner BratThe Aesthetics of DisengagementThe American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Mood DisordersThe Anatomy of MelancholyThe Anti-Depressant Fact BookThe Antidepressant EraThe Antidepressant SolutionThe Antidepressant Survival ProgramThe BeastThe Bell JarThe Best AwfulThe Bipolar ChildThe Bipolar Disorder Survival GuideThe Blue Day BookThe Breakthrough Depression SolutionThe Clinical Science of Suicide PreventionThe CorrectionsThe Cruelty of DepressionThe Depressed ChildThe Depression CureThe Depression WorkbookThe Devil WithinThe Emotional RevolutionThe Family SilverThe Feeling Good HandbookThe Forgotten MournersThe Loss of SadnessThe Memory of LightThe Mindful Way through DepressionThe Mood CureThe Myth of Depression as DiseaseThe Naked Bird WatcherThe Nature of MelancholyThe Noonday DemonThe Pits and the PendulumThe Postpartum EffectThe Secret Strength of DepressionThe Van Gogh BluesThe Van Gogh BluesThe Weariness of the SelfThe Years of Silence are PastThirteen Reasons WhyThis Close to HappyTo Walk on EggshellsTreatment for Chronic DepressionUndercurrentsUnderstanding DepressionUnderstanding DepressionUndoing DepressionUnhappy TeenagersUnholy GhostUnstuckViniyoga Therapy for DepressionWhat Goes UpWhat the Birds SeeWhat Works for Bipolar KidsWhen a Parent is DepressedWhen Nothing Matters AnymoreWhen Someone You Love Is DepressedWhen Words Are Not EnoughWhen Your Body Gets the BluesWhere the Roots Reach for WaterWhy Are You So Sad?Why People Die by SuicideWill's ChoiceWriting Through the DarknessYou Are Not AloneZelda

Related Topics
Hurry Down SunshineReview - Hurry Down Sunshine
A Memoir
by Michael Greenberg
Other Press, 2008
Review by Christian Perring
Oct 21st 2008 (Volume 12, Issue 43)

Sally Greenberg has bipolar disorder.  Hurry Down Sunshine is her father's account of her first manic and psychotic episode when she was 15 in the summer of 1996.  Michael Greenberg is a writer of fiction and essays, living in Manhattan with Sally and his second wife Pat.  The bulk of the book covers a short period -- a few weeks in the psychiatric ward -- with a briefer account of Sally's return to a functional state over the following months, when she was able to return to the fall semester of high school. 

Michael Greenberg is a writer, and this memoir powerfully evokes his chaotic feelings as his daughter breaks down.  She starts acting erratically, staying up all night, but at first he doesn't pay much attention, since it is the summer vacation.  But when she becomes aggressive and out of control, he starts to realize that he needs to do something.  Once he takes her to the emergency room, she is on the path of psychiatrists, diagnoses and medications.  They go through with the hospitalization even though they have no health insurance, and so they have to pay for everything themselves.  Greenberg never says how much it all cost or how he paid for it. 

The days following Sally's hospitalization are frantic.  At first, Michael and Pat are not allowed to visit.  He phones his first wife Robin to tell her what has happened, and she can't believe that Sally is really mentally ill; she argues that their daughter is going through a spiritual experience, not a psychotic episode.  When they are allowed to visit, Sally is on heavy medication, and says, "They stole my words."  As readers, we get a vivid sense of the dilemmas and confusion Michael goes through.  He has to work out who to trust, how to communicate with doctors, nurses, and the rest of his family, and how to plan for the future.  When he speaks to his son, who is out of the country, he does not mention that Sally is in hospital, and then regrets the omission.  He talks to the families of other people in the ward, and has to work out what to say when they tell him that Sally should stay away from their relative. 

While there have been many memoirs about what it is like to be on a psychiatric ward, there are fewer on what it is like to have a family member go through a hospitalization and then come home.  Greenberg goes through a great deal of strain, and at one point when he is arguing with Pat, they hit each other.  She hides in the bathroom and he starts breaking down the door, forgetting how frightening this must be for Sally.  But they get through it all, and Sally's condition starts to improve.  The book ends on a hopeful note, although it is clear that Sally will probably have to contend with her mental illness for the rest of her life.  Much of Greenberg's memoir is about how the family learns to adjust to Sally's changed status.  One of their worries is whether she will end up like Michael's brother Steve, who has been on antipsychotic medication most of his life, and lives on his own, with no real friends, and depends on his family for everything.  Michael's mother assures him that Sally is very different from Steve; it's an awkward moment for the reader, because it feels like Steve has been written off.  But that would be unfair, because Michael does what he can to help his brother, and of course he hopes that Sally can have a rewarding way to earn money, and also can have close friends, lovers and maybe a long term relationship. 

Hurry Down Sunshine is a gripping account of Greenberg's experience, bringing attention to the texture of events that brings them alive.  His writing is simple and direct.  Greenberg doesn't spend much time theorizing about what happens, but he does bring some perspective through the experience of other writers.  He writes about Robert Lowell's experience of madness and his reactions to medication, and, especially moving, the agony of James Joyce in his relationship with his daughter Lucia, who had a serious mental illness.  There is no suggestion that Greenberg is grandiosely comparing himself with these well known writers; rather, we get the sense that these are important figures for him, and by understanding what they went through, he is better able to work out how to make sense of what he is going through.  Of course, neither Lowell nor Joyce can serve as role models, since Lowell ended up committing suicide and Joyce's attempts to help his daughter were largely unsuccessful.  Their stories provide a sense of pathos in the book, showing the magnitude of the problem that Greenberg is facing.  This is a wonderful book, and will be of great interest to anyone who has a family member with a serious mental illness.

© 2008 Christian Perring


Christian Perring, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Dowling College, New York.


Welcome to Metapsychology. We feature over 8200 in-depth reviews of a wide range of books and DVDs written by our reviewers from many backgrounds and perspectives. We update our front page weekly and add more than twenty new reviews each month. Our editor is Christian Perring, PhD. To contact him, use one of the forms available here.

Metapsychology Online reviewers normally receive gratis review copies of the items they review.
Metapsychology Online receives a commission from for purchases through this site, which helps us send review copies to reviewers. Please support us by making your purchases through our Amazon links. We thank you for your support!

Join our e-mail list!: Metapsychology New Review Announcements: Sent out monthly, these announcements list our recent reviews. To subscribe, click here.

Interested in becoming a book reviewer for Metapsychology? To apply, write to our editor.

Metapsychology Online Reviews

Promote your Page too

Metapsychology Online Reviews
ISSN 1931-5716