TRIUMPH OF SPIRIT IN LOVE, NATURE & ART

Recommended Reading

Review of Eye-locks and Other Fearsome Things: Learning to Love as a Bipolar Aspie

Kitt O’Malley over at Kittomalley.com, so generously reviewed my book on being Bipolar and Aspie and the  fight for sanity and love, in a post on her blog.  Kitt, a psychotherapist and mother and wife,  writes about vital and informative topics pertaining to mental health, ranging from being a Bipolar parent to a relationship with God. She can also be found at @kittomalley on Twitter. A big THANK YOU to Kitt for posting this review.

Kitt O'Malley

Book Cover of "Eye-locks and Other Fearsome Things: Learning to Love as a Bipolar Aspie" Buy and read this book! I did.

I greatly enjoyed reading and highly recommend Ellen Stockdale Wolfe’s autobiographical story of love alongside psychological and neurological growth: Eye-locks and Other Fearsome Things: Learning to Love as a Bipolar Aspie. In her memoir, Ms. Stockdale Wolfe writes of her struggle with Asperger’s and Bipolar Disorder with psychotic features. Her autobiography traces her growth in her ability to love deeply and truly, her mental health history, and how she overcame challenges of her unique Aspie brain (Asperger’s is an autism spectrum disorder). She uses that unique brain as well as her sensitive soul to create beauty, whether it be this memoir, a poem, photograph, or painting. To see more of her stunning work, check her out at StockdaleWolfe.com, her site is appropriately entitled  | TRIUMPH OF SPIRIT IN LOVE, NATURE & ART.

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5 Star Book Review of “Washed Up” by Alistair McHarg

There was no question I was going to buy and read “Washed Up,” by Alistair McHarg, after having read and loved “Invisible Driving” by the same author. Swept away by his memoir of Bipolar Disorder, I was equally disarmed by “Washed Up.” His memoir reads likes fiction, and “Washed Up” is his second work of fiction but it reads with the reality of nonfiction. In recovery himself, McHarg follows the adage to the “T” of “Write what you know!”

The Master of metaphor (and simile) in both books, in “Washed Up” McHarg shows us his talents at characterization. The characters are so real, I felt like they were a circle of friends, feeling for them, and feeling with them, through their individual lives.

Cat, my favorite, a gutsy, young woman who manages to sell sex (and somewhat kinky sex at that) to men, does so without losing respect for herself. Kinky sex pays very well and often is surprisingly asexual. This is the case here and we almost cheer Cat on, sympathizing with her that she has to earn her money this way, though she comes out of it relatively unscathed physically and emotionally. My real fascination with Cat was that she is the first exotic/erotic dancer/stripper I have met in literature or elsewhere and it is a totally intriguing peep into this line of work. I loved reading about what it was like dancing in the club where she performed.

We first meet Cat after the opening chapters in which we are introduced to some of the main characters, Ned, Brent, Andrew and Mickey, at an AA meeting. Cat appears out of nowhere and we wonder what in tarnation she has to do with these guys in AA and their wives whom we meet early on. But we find out soon enough.

The plots are interwoven like the threads of a spider’s web, captivating us with a simple complexity that engrosses. The wives and girlfriends of the AA guys and Cat suggest a theme on the strength of women in the world of “Washed Up.” The men are too preoccupied with recovery to fight the women’s feminine wiles and beguiling ways. An interesting theme by a male author.

Mickey was my other favorite character, epitomizing the virtues of caring within the organization of AA meetings that have helped so many. AA members may be powerless over alcohol but they are powerfully “there” for each other. Although not always. In “Washed Up, we see they are not all saints, when jealousy rears its ugly head within the intricacies of the intertwining relationships and plot shifts.

The ending is powerfully understated and brought a tear to my eyes. We go through thick and thin with these guys and their somehow powerful women and we come to care for their welfare.

Like “Invisible Driving,” “Washed Up” would make a good movie thanks to McHarg’s excellent storytelling abilities and the visual writing that make the scenes appear before our eyes. He uses emotional rhythms and syncopated plot twists to create a seamless sequence of memorable jazz.

(Click http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/ellen-stockdale-wolfe.html  for information on, and to purchase my Bipolar/Asperger’s memoir.)


5 star Book Review for “The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome” by Tony Attwood

A Must-Read for all therapists and special ed teachers!,April 27, 2012

Tony Attwood is the patron saint of “Aspies” and this book holds true to his dedication to, and total understanding of, those of us with Asperger’s Syndrome. His understanding of all aspects of Asperger’s Syndrome is astounding and he is particularly gifted in his understanding of girls with Asperger’s Syndrome. He totally “gets it” when it comes to theory of mind and emotions in Asperger’s Syndrome. Would that all therapists could understand and have the knowledge he has and so clearly presents in this encyclopedic covering of AS. Reading Tony Attwood’s guide brought me to tears– that someone could care so much about those of us with the syndrome and understand us so well. He explained me to me in ways no one else had and eventually brought me to the point of getting officially diagnosed at age 61. “Congratulations, you have Asperger’s syndrome!” says it all. He accepts the syndrome as a different way of thinking and feeling which is presented in a positive light, without making light of the difficulties involved in having AS. He understands that the diagnosis often brings relief, particularly for those of us who fell through the cracks and were never treated, and carried lots of guilt and poor self-image for our “failings.” Can’t recommend this book highly enough for all those who need to understand AS– therapists, parents, teachers and, last but by no means least, for those who have AS.

(Click http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/ellen-stockdale-wolfe.html  for information on, and to purchase my Bipolar/Asperger’s memoir.)


5 star Book Review for “Nobody Nowhere” by Donna Williams

A huge thank you to Donna Williams for this book!, May 16, 2012
I have read this book three times. The first time I grabbed it to read, along with “Somebody Somewhere,” because I had worked with autistic children and was totally fascinated by them. My student teaching supervisor in college had pronounced me autistic at the time but I paid no attention to what he said although I could relate to “Nobody Nowhere,” and loved the book. Donna Williams held me as a captive and admiring audience and I couldn’t get enough of her work.
The second time I reread this book was on a whim, long after suffering a breakdown myself. I was much older and wiser on this second reading and, as I reread her story, I realized that I, too, was on the spectrum, as I had begun to suspect. This book gave me the courage to get diagnosed with Asperger’s at age 61.
The third time I reread this book was as an author of my own experiences of learning to love with Asperger’s and Bipolar Disorder. My admiration for the book withstood all three readings. In fact I am more impressed with her work and her life now more than ever. She is very high-functioning and has given the world of autistics and Aspies a reality that other people can relate to and understand. It is a real contribution to those on the Spectrum and to their families, teachers and therapists. This last reading also brought home how the abuse Donna suffered was appalling and, yet, I totally understood how, as she writes, it actually helped her to overcome many autistic ways. Love is very problematic for Aspies and Auties and sometimes we prefer distance to closeness because closeness is extremely painful for autistics and, to a lesser degree, for Aspies.
I would recommend the sequels to this book: “Somebody Somewhere,” “Like Colour to the Blind,” and “Everyday Heaven.” They make up a set. Donna Williams’ poetry is also very special. Read “Not Just Anything.” She is a brilliant woman and has conquered her pain with courage and intelligence and creativity!
(Click http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/ellen-stockdale-wolfe.html  for information on, and to purchase my Bipolar/Asperger’s memoir.)