*** Gorilla and the Bird by Zack McDermott

The author of Gorilla and the Bird: A Memoir of Madness and a Mother’s Love is a public defender who routinely helps defendants with mental illness navigate the legal system — until he has a psychotic break and ends up in a locked mental yard, from which his mother, the Bird of the title, manages to extract him and helps him manage his illness, the complicated health options for bipolar disorders, and the sometime funny, sometimes tragic mishaps along the way to recovery. Because the author of this memoir is the patient himself, he makes it clear that, except in his worst moments, he understands quite clearly what is happening to him, even when he can’t control his behavior, which makes the story that much more poignant.

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