Gorilla and the Bird: A Memoir of Madness and a Mother’s Love by Zack McDermott (Review by Erin Woodward)
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I have a tremendous amount of love for this book. I read it in three days. It was that kind of book. And beyond that, it’s very much my kind of book. Memoir is my favorite genre.
Zack McDermott is a 27-year-old public defender living in Brooklyn. This is his story. His upbringing in Wichita Kansas was less than ideal, so much so that if he’d ended up as a meth addict it would have been none too surprising. But his mother, kindly known as “The Bird” had other plans for her beloved son. Zack was always smart, really smart but mental health isn’t choosy when it comes to its victims and intelligence doesn’t help guard against the darkening at the door.
Zack establishes very early on that he’s bi-polar and after a psychotic break that lands him in a mental institution he realizes he needs to come to terms with this diagnosis and rise above the disease if it’s not to define him.
It’s a comprehensive, remarkable look at mental illness and the lengths we go to encourage sanity.
With several accolades already, I hope this book will further help demystify mental illness and irradicate the stigma surrounding it.