I should start by saying that I haven’t seen the film, but I’d read some reviews including this one by a shrink, so I began to read assuming it’d be inaccurate and incomplete about bipolar, but fun regardless.
I’m not quite sure why Pat the protagonist refers to the psychiatric hospital as the bad place and his separation from his wife as apart time, when he seems adult-articulate the rest of the time.
Anyway, Pat went manic, fucked shit up and got institutionalised. When he gets out, he wants his wife (Nikki) back. He’s earnest about it, considers himself a changed man – and has huge holes in his memory.
“I believe in happy endings,” I tell him. “And it feels like this movie has gone on for the right amount of time.”
He describes mania as his brain exploding (there’s no depression, only brief and incendiary manic episodes).
My other friends are in music relaxation class, which I do not attend, because smooth jazz makes me angry sometimes.
In fact, Kenny G sends him absolutely batshit.
After I returned to New Jersey, I thought I was safe, because I did not think Kenny G could leave the bad place, which I realize is silly now — because Kenny G is extremely talented and resourceful and a powerful force to be reckoned with.
It’s kind of weird to read, because he has all sorts of sophisticated thought and memory going on, interspersed with a whole bunch of childlike simplicity and a bit of a hello God this is Anna type thing too. Hrmm.
He meets a depressed woman, who offers to help him get back with Nikki, in return for helping her to win a dance contest.
“What is Dance Away Depression?” I hear you asking. Well—it is an annual competition organized by the Philadelphia Psychiatric Association that allows women diagnosed with clinical depression to transform their despair into movement.
That’s the plot and it does its job and there’s a twist or two, but what carries the book is its offbeat humour. Pat’s parents read like those in That 70s Show, tragicomic dysfunction. It’s a sweet tale, not particularly meaningful; I can see how it would make a feelgood movie.