Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Sharp: A Memoir by David Fitzpatrick
HarperCollins, 8/21/2012
Advanced Reading Copy, 368 pages
ISBN-13: 9780062064028 


Sharp is the story of a young man who began his life with a loving family and great promise for the future. But in his early twenties, David Fitzpatrick became so consumed by mental illness it sent him into a frenzy of cutting himself with razor blades. In this shocking and often moving book, he vividly describes the rush this act gave him, the fleeting euphoric high that seemed to fill the spaces in the rest of his life. It started a difficult battle from which he would later emerge triumphant and spiritually renewed.
Fitzpatrick's youth seemed ideal. He was athletic, handsome, and intelligent. However, he lived in fear of an older brother who taunted and belittled him; and in college, his roommates teased and humiliated him, further damaging what sense of self-esteem he still carried with him. As he shares these experiences, Fitzpatrick also recounts the lessons learned from the broken people he encountered during his journey—knowledge that led to his own emotional resurrection.
Sharp also demonstrates the awakening of a writer's instinctive voice. With prose that is tough and gritty, profound and insightful, Fitzpatrick takes us inside his head while he manically cuts himself, but these episodes are presented with a dignity and insight that has never been seen before. His writing also possesses a lightness of touch that brings humor to a subject that doesn't naturally provide it.
Above all else, Sharp is a tale of hope, a soul-baring quest of a lost man who returns to himself, overcomes his demons, and reclaims his life. It is destined to become a classic memoir.

My Thoughts:
Sharp: A Memoir by David Fitzpatrick is not an easy book to read. Oh, Fitzpatrick is extremely articulate and the memoir is definitely well written, but the raw emotions he shares with candor and honesty makes this one tough book to read. It is truly about going to hell and back - if hell is a mental state.

After college mental illness gripped author David Fitzpatrick's life and began almost two decades of torment. He began cutting at age twenty-three after breaking up with a girlfriend. Before this, however, he endured years of bullying, first at the hands of his older brother and later by his college roommates. He accepted the abuse with a stoicism that defied logic.

Once his low self esteem combined with depression his psychosis was obvious when it resulted in extreme self-injury; this lead to years in the psychiatric wings of hospitals and extensive therapy, including drugs and shock treatments. He freely shares his experiences and all the raw emotions he was feeling, including the thoughts he was dwelling on when his psychosis overtook rational thought.

In some ways I felt like this memoir was almost too open and honest. Some of his sexual experiences weren't necessary to share in much detail. I was also concerned in several places that his descriptions could potentially be a trigger for those inclined to self-harm.
While the details of his illness and therapy over the years are disturbing and difficult to read, the real story is that, in the end, Fitzpatrick is liberated from his path of destruction and regains his life.

Highly Recommended - but not for the faint hearted.

David Fitzpatrick was born in Dearborn, Michigan, grew up in Connecticut, graduated from Skidmore College, and earned his MFA degree from Fairfield University in 2011. He works part-time at an auto dealership and is married to a graphic designer and fellow writer, Amy Holmes. His works have been published by The New Haven Review, Barely South Review, and Fiction Weekly. He lives in Middletown, Connecticut.
Disclosure: I received an advanced reading copy of this book from the publisher and TLC for review purposes. 
David's Tour Stops:

Tuesday, August 21st: Our Little Bit of Wonderful
Thursday, August 23rd: Sara’s Organized Choas
Monday, August 27th: StephTheBookworm
Tuesday, Augut 28th: she treads softly
Wednesday, August 29th: Twisting the Lens
Thursday, August 30th: Paperspines
Tuesday, September 4th: Tiffany’s Bookshelf
Wednesday, September 5th: Between the Covers
Thursday, September 6th: In the Next Room
Friday, September 14th: Good Girl Gone Redneck

1 comment:

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

Definitely not for the faint-of-heart, but definitely worth reading!

Thanks for being on the tour. I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.