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Friday, November 20, 2009

Hurry Down Sunshine, by Michael Greenberg

The one question that "Hurry Down Sunshine" indirectly aims to answer is how do humans lose their sanity; where does reason go when madness comes? It is a painfully personal memoir of a father and his daughter's descend into madness. As most memoirs, "Hurry Down Sunshine" is episodic in nature, but whereas in other memoirs I have read this literary device is used to break the monotony of the narrative, Michael Greenberg's mastery renders the episodic style poetic, lyrical and beautifully woven into a story so painful you might want to pack a box of tissues. I mean this in a very positive way. As an instructor at an all-girls preparatory academy, I have seen my share of teenage girls issues--from heartbreaks to sports disappointments to issues of self-esteem and self-view, my last ten years as an all-girls academy instructor has taught me a great deal. Nothing, however, could have prepared me to read this touching and amazing book.

Michael Greenberg's book is as beautiful as it is powerful--a must read for both parents and young teenagers. Think the best and most powerful writing by Kay Redfield Jamison and render it ten times more personal and agonizing in its powerful message. This is a volume that encompasses a difficult topic and a narrative so personal both Greenberg and his daughter Sally come across as good friends--friends one wants to accompany on their journey into an unknown future. One might find one's self praying for both father and daughter. One of the most powerful passages comes early in the book when Greenberg picks up a piece of paper Sally had written one of her many poems in.
"And when everything should be quiet
your fire fights to burn a river of sleep.
Why should the great breath of hell kiss
what you see, my love?"
Again, this makes me think of all of those pieces of paper I some times pick from the floor at the Academy. Most are simply notes from one girl to another, badly written and full of misspellings. But there are times when I come across a jotted line, a broken phrase, a deep thought put down on paper in the middle of a boring class session and I begin to wonder how many of my students are not much different from Sally, how many of them may be crying out for help in some personal frequency not even their parents can decipher. Ten years ago, when I began my labor of love at the Academy, the book to read was "Reviving Ophelia." Today, I have to recommend--without reservation--"Hurry Down Sunshine." It is a must read for parents, students and teachers. The power, passion and revealing emotions in this book will no doubt enlighten anyone who reads it and takes it to heart.

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At 9:18 PM, Blogger Kate S. said...

I had been curious about this book and now your post has convinced me that I must read it! Thanks for the recommendation.

At 2:35 AM, Blogger Simona Ardelean said...

as soon as I will find it I will read it. your style is that of a fisherman...and I am ready to be caught in reading.


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