“Couldn’t Look Away” – Book review by Alistair McHarg of “Eye-locks and Other Fearsome Things”

I enthusiastically recommend this book to anyone interested in psychological exploration – from clinicians to self-diagnosticians to concerned family members to lovers of extraordinary tales well told.

Do not imagine that this is a lesson-plan about Bipolar Disorder, or Asperger’s Syndrome, for that matter. On the contrary, we see Ms. Wolfe wrestling with a panoply of symptoms residing on different points of a spectrum – we never know exactly where we are, and neither does Ms. Wolfe. We get first person, real-time intimacy – the raw data, not the spin.

Asperger’s, autism, schizophrenia, paranoia, mania, depression, and challenging questions of gender identity blur back and forth until one is overpowered by the sense of a shape-shifting, ghostly enemy. We witness Ms. Wolfe inaccurately interpreting social cues the way an anthropologist might puzzle over artifacts from an alien civilization.

The writing is austere, elegant, forceful and almost chillingly honest. There is not an ounce of self-pity to be found, or self-aggrandizement. Serious students of these illnesses could hardly find a more useful document because – using meticulous diaries she kept through the years – Ms. Wolfe has made scrupulous accuracy her battle cry.

From very early on I found myself caring about what happened to Ms. Wolfe, wanting to know more. I sensed sweetness, innocence, and vulnerability – and that made me want to protect her. Consequently, the dread I felt as I watched her struggle with her own mind – and the outside world – created the tension of real drama. One would have to be a cold fish indeed to not suffer along with her as she trudges ahead with heroic determination.

Ms. Wolfe has achieved something quite remarkable. She has applied the direct simplicity of science to a human ordeal and, in the process, accomplished what art does, when it is at its very best. She has fearlessly and generously taken us into her world and – in doing so – enriched us all.

Alistair McHarg


 Click on book to purchase.

22 responses

  1. What a real honest look and journey into your life. I commend your courage and desire for truth to help not just you, but others.


    June 18, 2013 at 2:36 AM

    • Thanks, Yisraela. Yes, the idea was to put my story to work for others.


      June 18, 2013 at 9:50 AM

  2. heartfelt sharing


    June 18, 2013 at 2:09 PM

  3. WOW, Ellen–congratulations and best wishes for success with this powerful book. Bravo, for your bravery–God bless you BIG.


    June 18, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    • Thank you, Caddo-Jael, and may God bless you for always being so encouraging!!


      June 18, 2013 at 3:08 PM

      • That’s my job!!


        June 18, 2013 at 5:42 PM

      • One of your many jobs… kudos to you for what you do!


        June 18, 2013 at 6:12 PM

      • Oh and by the way, your picture is SO gorgeous!


        June 18, 2013 at 5:44 PM

      • Aw,thank you, Caddo!


        June 18, 2013 at 6:05 PM

  4. What an amazing life and I commend you for doing with your experiences, something that will help so many feel less isolated and stigmatized. I personally feel like there is nothing quite as powerful as personal testimony when it comes to moving people.

    I’ve just purchased this, and to say I was shocked at how reasonable the price was would be an understatement.

    I just purchased a book from another blogger for $9.95 and I would have paid more for it had he been asking for more, and the same goes for your book.

    Depending on how your sales are going, I don’t think an increase in price would be unreasonable… something a little closer to $10, like $9.99 perhaps?

    Can’t wait to read. Thanks for sharing!

    Miss Lou


    June 18, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    • Dear Miss Lou, Thank you so very much for your encouraging comment and for buying the book!!! I do really hope you like it. It is not as easy read but ends on a note of hope which is why I wrote it. Will reconsider the price. It is my first and only book and Kindle books tend to be cheaper. Well, hope you enjoy reading it. Thanks again for all.
      xx ellen


      June 18, 2013 at 3:08 PM

      • Thanks Ellen, Really I know sometimes with our own works we undersell ourselves because perhaps we are not so sure.

        I will have a read and leave a review, though if you were to increase the price I doubt anyone would deem it unreasonable.

        Blessed to have the opportunity to read your story!

        Miss Lou


        June 18, 2013 at 3:16 PM

      • Appreciate your reading and leaving a review. How kind of you! xx ellen


        June 18, 2013 at 8:15 PM

  5. Love the cover and the review by Alistair is brilliant. Kudos


    June 18, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    • Thank you, Arjun. Alistair is great– have read and reviewed all his books. He is Bipolar, too.


      June 18, 2013 at 6:05 PM

      • I’ve read his “About” and his two sons.
        I’m glad to hear you’ve reviewed his books. I’d like to read them.


        June 18, 2013 at 6:08 PM

      • The reviews are on Amazon. And I have one on my blog under book reviews. As far as I know, he only has a daughter. Will have to check out the about page.


        June 18, 2013 at 6:10 PM

      • I could be mistaken. I’m not officially bi-polar but you never know 🙂
        I’ll catch up with the one on your blog


        June 18, 2013 at 6:13 PM

      • You could be. I wouldn’t be surprised. Lots of poets are. If so, welcome to the club or, as Alistair says, “to the back of the bus.”


        June 18, 2013 at 6:18 PM

      • Did you read his About?


        June 18, 2013 at 6:26 PM

      • Yeah, he just said he is a father but I know he has a daughter from his Bipolar memoir. She saved him from himself.


        June 18, 2013 at 6:38 PM

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