Walks on the Margins: A Story of Bipolar Illness

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9780989141406: Walks on the Margins: A Story of Bipolar Illness


In Walks on the Margins, Kathy offers a valiant and unapologetic struggle of a mother trying to find a semblance of her son as they are both wrapped in the turmoil of bipolar disorder. Exuding the most resilient love for her son and family, Kathy's narrative about living with bipolar shows how it feels to be in the circle of those intimately affected by mental illness and in a world beset by institutional failure.

Max's attentive gaze depicts reality through the lens of the artist he is yet to become, unearthing poetry, rhymes and a broad palette of colors in the most sordid of places. With a callous, ruthless self-scrutiny, he retells both his manic and depressive episodes. At times unnerving, the fierce honesty of his prose is ameliorated by humor and a highly visual writing style reminiscent of the vanguard novellas. Max conveys a playful and unsettling beauty that he scratches off the seemly dim surface of day-to-day life.

It's the whiz kid and his vexed mother. His emotional unrest and her unhindered kindness. Mother and son weave their narratives into a single powerful story about surviving bipolar disorder.

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About the Author:

Kathy Brandt published four novels and taught writing at the University of Colorado. She received the 2012 National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Member of the Year Award for her "courage, leadership, and service on behalf of all people living with mental illness." She was on the Board of Directors of NAMI in Colorado Springs for six years and served as President.  She is the NAMI liaison to the Mental Health Court in Colorado Springs. She has a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Rhetoric and lives in the mountains of Colorado.

Max Maddox has a BA in philosophy from Grinnell College and an MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, where he was nominated for the Joan Mitchell Award and received the Fellowship Trust Award. He has exhibited his work at The Slought Foundation, The Print Center of Philadelphia, and the Ellen Powell Tiberino Memorial Museum and other galleries. He lives in Denver where he teaches and continues to pursue his career in art.


"Walks on the Margins, told with brutal honesty, great skill and sweeping passages of lyric beauty, is nothing short of a landmark in the literature of mental illness."
 - Kathryn Eastburn, KRCC Public Radio

"Novelist Kathy Brandt and her son, Max, take readers on a terrifying journey through our nation's broken, overwhelmed, underfunded, and frustrating mental health care system. Walks On The Margins will make you angry. It will make you cry. It will also inspire you! Ultimately, it is testament to the unconditional love of a parent and a son's determination to overcome a serious mental illness. Writing in tandem, they have not only told their personal story, but have told the story of thousands of other American families who are everyday heroes."
- Pete Earley, journalist & bestselling author

"A heart-breaking, heart-warming story. Do you want to know what it's like for a family to confront mental illness? Read this book. It's the real deal."
 - Michael J. Fitzpatrick, Executive Director, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

A  tale told in tandem by a mother and son fighting the devastation of bipolar disorder together. Their two perspectives are a refreshing and meaningful contribution to the landscape of mental health memoirs."
- Taylor Poor,  NAMI.org

"This is a tense, ultimately hopeful view of a truly misunderstood condition."
- C.E. Alexander, The Kindle Book Review

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