Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “This Fragile Life: A Mother's Story of a Bipolar Son” as Want to Read:
This Fragile Life: A Mother's Story of a Bipolar Son
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

This Fragile Life: A Mother's Story of a Bipolar Son

3.67  ·  Rating Details  ·  58 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Charlotte Pierce-Baker did everything right when raising her son, providing not only emotional support but the best education possible. At age twenty-five, he was pursuing a postgraduate degree and seemingly in control of his life. She never imagined her high-achieving son would wind up handcuffed, dirty, and in jail.

The moving story of an African American family facing
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published June 1st 2012 by Chicago Review Press (first published January 1st 2012)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about This Fragile Life, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about This Fragile Life

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 178)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Dec 29, 2015 Amy rated it really liked it
This book was a quick read for me. I related to many of the things that the parents feared and went through. I recognize that I am only at the beginning of a lifelong journey. I realize I am probably still very very naive. I am ever hopeful that my child will be a success story.

I loved the poetry, written by the author's bipolar son, which was part of her book, because, of course poetry can speak to me and it is often my own way of putting into words my emotions. Her book makes me feel like I s
Jan 17, 2013 Alex rated it it was amazing
A Message of Hope

I cannot possibly describe how helpful this book has been to me! I am so greatful that Charlotte Pierce-Baker and her son Mark found the strength and the courage to describe their difficut journey from diagnosis to day-to-day management of Mark's illness.

I liked author's narrative: calm yet full of empathy. She does not dwell on the horrors of manic depression, nor is she overwhelmed by the loss of the person Mark once was, but she bravely takes this challenge one day at a time
Carol Webster
Mar 10, 2013 Carol Webster rated it liked it
I was drawn into this book from the beginning when the author, Charlotte Pierce-Baker, described her son, Mark, as a bright, precocious and loving child and then describes some gradual changes in his personality starting in high school and getting a little worse until finally after he entered graduate school he was in a full blown manic episode. Then the stunning realization that her son had a mental illness. It really hit home for me and I could relate to the mother's situation and the effect m ...more
Carol Williams
Oct 14, 2014 Carol Williams rated it really liked it
Another helpful read on this journey to learn how to respond.
Apr 16, 2014 Leo rated it it was amazing
very emotional story, I learned a lot about bipolar diploma
Becky Sandham Mathwin
Oct 21, 2012 Becky Sandham Mathwin rated it really liked it
Very good memoir about what it's like to parent an adult child with Bipolar Disorder. "This Fragile Life" is an excellent reminder that mental illness exists in all socioeconomic categories. The Bakers are an upper middle class family (both parents are professors) and their son Mark graduated from University of Pennsylvania prior to becoming significantly symptomatic. "This Fragile Life" depicts their struggles from a mother's perspective. An interesting but very sad book.
Dawn Wells
Sep 21, 2013 Dawn Wells rated it liked it
This book reminded me of a friend who called me in the middle of the night in jail and in need of help. He had his first episode and didnt know what was happening to him. He went through several years of doctors and medications Along with some self medication. Today, 20 years later he is a married father of 4 and still a great friend. We have made some strides in mental health but still need help in acceptance, awareness, and support.
Oct 25, 2013 Jennifer rated it really liked it
This book fill a gap in memoirs relating to mental illness and the family, as the individual who is ill is an African-American man (which is a high-risk group when it comes to encounters with the police and criminal justice system). Though a mother's memoir, it also includes poetry written by her son at different points in his journey. Worth a read!
Apr 09, 2013 Jessica rated it liked it
Shelves: mental-health
A solid book, with strongly referenced information. The author describes the struggles of her ill son and what it is like trying to manage severe bipolar disorder when you actually have the financial resources to obtain decent care.
May 05, 2012 Renaissance rated it it was amazing
Gives one a clear understanding of the limitations parents of adult children with mental illness experience. The author dealt with the stresses on her marriage resulting from their son's illness honestly and gently.
Aug 18, 2012 Cathy rated it it was ok
I am speechless. I had a hard time reading this book. I can say no more. A must read for anyone who knows anyone with bipolar disorder.
Aug 20, 2013 Inara rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. It was shocking to read about a kid who was normal into his twenties and then had mental illness strike.
Jean Brazil
Oct 06, 2012 Jean Brazil rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Very powerful story of a family's journey through life with bipolar disorder and addiction. Well written.
Jan 03, 2013 Ann rated it liked it
sad and sometimes terrifying story. well written and i could relate to parts of it quite well.
Mar 03, 2013 Andrea added it
Fascinating story! I was able to feel the anguish, frustration and pride from the author.
Jun 05, 2013 Alicia rated it did not like it
McKenna rated it it was amazing
Jul 23, 2016
Cheryl marked it as to-read
Jul 10, 2016
Alice Neal
Alice Neal marked it as to-read
Jun 17, 2016
Meihua rated it really liked it
Jun 16, 2016
Constance Levitsky
Constance Levitsky marked it as to-read
Jun 12, 2016
Christa marked it as to-read
May 25, 2016
Serena marked it as to-read
May 24, 2016
Amanda marked it as to-read
Apr 10, 2016
Serena marked it as to-read
Apr 10, 2016
Kolette Nelson
Kolette Nelson marked it as to-read
Apr 06, 2016
Blake Strother
Blake Strother marked it as to-read
Apr 01, 2016
Morgan marked it as to-read
Mar 27, 2016
Jackie marked it as to-read
Mar 24, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Share This Book