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Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See

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3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  3,835 Ratings  ·  580 Reviews
In her tour-de-force first novel, Juliann Garey takes us inside the restless mind, ravaged heart, and anguished soul of Greyson Todd—a successful Hollywood studio executive who leaves his wife and young daughter for a decade to travel the world, giving free reign to the bipolar disorder he’s been forced to keep hidden for almost 20 years. The novel intricately weaves toget ...more
Hardcover, 289 pages
Published December 26th 2012 by Soho Press (first published 2012)
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(showing 1-30)
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Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
Wow, just wow. This book totally took me by surprise.

I read this book for Net Galley but it was on my radar to read anyway. I am just shocked that this isn't a memoir but a work of fiction. The author did a masterful job of portraying a man struggling with manic-depression.

The style of the book is frenetic and disordered, but in a way that fits perfectly with the main character spinning out of control. The story is about a young, successful man in the film industry who outwardly has everything
...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I gave it about 130 pages, which is nearly half the book, and I couldn't take any more. The narrator's problem appears to be sex addiction rather than bipolar disorder. When I got to the part where he's in Santiago, talking about how armpit hair is sexy because it's like a woman giving him a view of her little pocket-sized vagina, I'd had enough. Not that I was offended by all the sex talk, I was just bored with it.

I'm also not a fan of the pogo-stick school of writing. BOING BOING BOING. Now we
...more
Kathy
Dec 06, 2012 Kathy rated it it was amazing
This was not an easy book to read, but it was thoroughly engrossing. Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See is the story of Greyson Todd. Greyson is in the psych ward of a hospital getting electroconvulsive therapy as he takes us along on his ups and downs (way ups and way downs). Greyson, a bipolar former studio exec recounts his life in scenes scattered in an explosion of thoughts interspersed with his treatments, yet always woven together expertly.

My description may make the story sound less tha
...more
Diane S ☔
Jun 16, 2012 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it
I think this book has a greater impact when someone you know, either a friend or family member has had to deal with a mental illness. Unfortunately I am very familiar with bi-polar illness, so I found this book very real. The structure was unique, the character in the book has 12 ECT treatments, and during each of them we learn a little something more about him. His youth, how he became successful and than basically threw it all away, actually lost it because of his illness and faulty thinking a ...more
Frances
Sep 26, 2016 Frances rated it it was amazing
“Maybe someday it will come to me.”

If anything, this book made me cry. The father-daughter relationship is something very close to my heart. This also tackles mental-illness with rawness and although categorized as fiction, the characters and emotions feel so real—so much that you'd see yourself in one of them.

Also, the ending made my supposed 3.5 stars to 5. This is a very wonderful and 'overlooked' book I highly recommend.
Mary
Jun 13, 2014 Mary rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2015
“Where does it hurt?’ he asks, racing to my bedside.

“I don’t know,” I lie.

Everywhere. All the time.

“What does it feel like?”

“I. Don’t. Know,” I sob, lying again.

In the mornings, it is an endless ocean of bottomless loss. By late afternoon, every cell in my body has a bleeding hangnail. But I don’t say that. I never say that.
Rebecca
Jul 01, 2012 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. I usually don't read books that are about bipolar people/hermaphrodites/pioneers/stowaways/immigrant surgeons, whatever. But sometimes books that need to be marketed as if they are "about" one thing are much better than their marketing. Middlesex was certainly like this, and so is Garey's book. Greyson Todd is not a warm fuzzy character. He's a destructive mess, and it's artful that the story is told in snippets that show he is attempting redemption from the start (electro-shock ...more
Larry Bassett
Dec 02, 2012 Larry Bassett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See showed me how relatively easy I have had it with my personal experience of mental illness. I missed the potentially catastrophic ravages of bipolarity. The fictional bipolar experience of the protagonist leads him to abandon his family and results in a decade long untreated episode followed by hospitalization and treatment by electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in the 1990s. Although there are some minor similarities to my experiences I would have to say that it is ...more
Dorothea
Feb 08, 2015 Dorothea rated it really liked it
“I do not believe in God. I believe in the power of Family. And occasionally, when I’m feeling optimistic, in free will. But blood is a force to be reckoned with. God, for example, can’t give you an excellent head of hair. Your family can. They can also give you cancer. And heart disease. Nothing kills like family.”

Thank God it skipped me. I spent a considerable amount of time in my young adult years worrying that I too would hear voices. My mother’s oldest brother was diagnosed with paranoid sc
...more
Susan Tunis
Dec 28, 2012 Susan Tunis rated it really liked it
“The lie I have been telling for twenty years.”

The lie that Greyson Todd has been telling for twenty years is, "I'm fine." He is not fine. He has bipolar disorder type I, which first presents in his early twenties, shortly after he gets married. These are facts that readers will glean along the way of this non-linear novel, most of which takes place in Greyson's mind in the fleeting moments that comprise twelve 30-second electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) treatments in the present day, New York cir
...more
Gaius Leong
Jan 05, 2013 Gaius Leong rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faves
GOD I can't even start. I can't find where to begin. Ok relax, relax Gaius.
So the first few therapies/episodes of ECT were pure build-ups and I was silly to pass them as slightly typical introductions because I haven't sunk/delved in to the mind of Greyson Todd to that deep a depth yet. But as I read on cautiously readying myself for any blue surprises, I find myself actually taking on the shoes and mind of Greyson whilst he narrates everything he gets a flashback of. I really can't. It's too g
...more
Manitowoc Public Library
Mar 15, 2013 Manitowoc Public Library rated it liked it
Shelves: stacie
It was difficult for me to connect emotionally to this book until the very end. The last section of this book is incredibly powerful and you truly feel the pain and heavy sense of loss that Greyson must feel in having left his wife and daughter over a decade earlier.

I like that things ended positively, but not perfectly.

I also thought the book did a really good job of not only the external but internal stigmas toward mental illness. Especially the idea that it isn't a true problem and that peopl
...more
Natalie E. Ramm
Nov 09, 2012 Natalie E. Ramm rated it it was amazing
Too Bright to Hear has a fairly simple plot and a story that certainly isn’t new to literature. Writers love to talk about mental deterioration, depression, and general insanity. It’s fascinating, and these people with mental health disorders see the world in such a beautiful way, a way that writers constantly strive to show.

Garey’s writing is hauntingly beautiful. She gives us an intimate look into the life of a severely troubled man (in first person POV), whose story seems more real than a mem
...more
Kim
Feb 17, 2017 Kim rated it liked it
3.5 stars. It always makes me sad to read a book about bipolar disorder or depression.
Jason
Jan 17, 2013 Jason rated it it was amazing
"ONCE I WAS MUSIC, NOW I AM JUST NOISE"

Re-read and reassessed. you get a perfect five as my prejudice and initial qualms are sidelined.

So there is this book. you just finished it. it leaves you nervous. you realize in the back of your head that you connect to it; connect to it too much. It buzzes inside you like the bees in Greyson's chest, because, after all you can totally relate.

But you read it quietly, even though it put you on edge.... puts a wedge between you and yourself and the real wor
...more
Beverly
Nov 25, 2012 Beverly rated it really liked it
I was drawn by the book title, colorful cover, and intriguing blurb. Greyson Todd a successful Hollywood movie executive, and the same skills that made his successful are also the same symptoms of being bipolar. After many years of finding his illness, Greyson sneaks off without a word leaving behind his wife and eight-year old daughter traveling the world engaging in risky encounters as tries to fight the demons within his mind. Another whim has him returning to New York, finding momentary with ...more
Tanya Peterson
Jan 24, 2013 Tanya Peterson rated it it was amazing
From the very title, Garey does a superb job of portraying the inner life of a human being living with Bipolar I disorder. For Greyson Todd, life, often, is indeed too bright to hear and too loud to see. In telling Geryson's life story in segmented, choppy bits and pieces (the haphazard, piecemeal nature of this telling itself intentionally and appropriately done), Garey illustrates the conflict and painful confusion between internal and external reality, the maddening over-stimulation, the frig ...more
M
Aug 13, 2013 M rated it liked it
While this book has many flaws, it is also devastating and heart breaking, which is an impressive feat in itself. It is told in snippets as Greyson, a man suffering from bi polar, is treated in a mental institution, his memory flicking back and forth as he is medicated, therapied, and shock treated. The snippets make for a confusing read - the story skips time and events and so is often hard to follow or get lost in - and this is at times rather gimmicky - but the content is still gripping. Thou ...more
Debbie "DJ"
Dec 14, 2012 Debbie "DJ" rated it liked it


I have always been interested in brain disorders, bipolar disease in particular as I know a few people who suffer from this disorder. I never realized how far down this disease can take a person. I kept wishing the book was written by a women, and then I realized it was! The constant sexual thoughts and actions of the character were just plain gross. Really, a woman wrote this? Anyway, the book does show how serious untreated bipolar disease can be.
Diane Yannick
Jan 18, 2015 Diane Yannick rated it it was amazing
OK, so keep in mind I gravitate toward books with main characters who battle mental illness, BUT this one is special. Greyson,the main character, is a successful business executive who just happens to be bipolar. Although his actions were often directed by his disease, there is way more to the storyline than that. With some tweaking, it could have stood alone (disease-less) as the characters were interesting and fleshed out. I wondered how in the world Juliann Garey, the author,could capture Gre ...more
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
Dec 26, 2012 Lori L (She Treads Softly) rated it it was amazing
Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See by Juliann Garey chronicles the tortured life of Greyson Todd. Greyson suffers from bi-polar disorder, a fact he's tried to keep concealed and resisted for years. In the opening he is successful Hollywood studio executive who leaves his wife and daughter. He subsequently spends a decade traveling around the world, his mental health slowly disassembling as his illness progresses unchecked until he ends up in a New York psychiatric hospital.

During the time he is
...more
Larry H
Dec 28, 2012 Larry H rated it it was amazing
Juliann Garey's first novel really packs a wallop.

Greyson Todd is a studio executive in Los Angeles. As an agent, his clients have won multiple Oscars, made millions of dollars, and have been the toast of the entertainment industry. Greyson and his wife, Ellen, who met as teenagers, have a young daughter, Willa, and when he is able to break away from the demands of work, Greyson enjoys spending time with his daughter.

The thing is, Greyson also suffers from bipolar disorder, which has made him al
...more
Eileen
Jan 21, 2013 Eileen rated it it was amazing
I cannot believe this was a first book by this author. Juliann Garey demonstrated a beautiful gift of writing. She picked the perfect character in Greyson, a successful movie executive, who just up and walks away from his family and LA studio career. He wanders the world for 10 years, vacillating between living on the edge and barely living because of the depression. Ultimately, he lands in a pscyh hospital and undergoes 12 electroshock therapy, followed by a mind-numbing medication regimen all ...more
Larraine
Feb 20, 2013 Larraine rated it really liked it
Too Bright To Hear Too Loud To See is the debut novel of Juliann Garey, journalist, screenwriter and editor of "Voices of Bipolar Disorder: The Healing Companion." This impressive debut novel introduces the reader to Grayson Todd, a bright young man with a great future despite a father who drifts from one job to another and whose ups and downs are unpredictable and often violent.

Grayson has to grow up quickly. He is simultaneously finishing his last year in college and his first year in law sch
...more
Barb
Wow. Just. Wow. This audio book was so well done, the story and the reader were incredible. The beginning is full of humor and had me repeatedly laughing out loud. I loved the narrator but his life breaks your heart. The funny stops being funny fairly early on but the story offers such insight into the mind of those suffering with bipolar disorder.

I recently went to a mental health training and we did an exercise where we had to role play a job interview with another person, they were asking yo
...more
Mike Wittmann
Sep 30, 2014 Mike Wittmann rated it liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book. It was fast-paced, although a bit confusing story because it was full of flashbacks. The main character suffers from bi-polar disorder. I started out now liking him but over the course of the book, getting to know his story and experiences, I really felt for him as he clung to his few precious memories. Especially those for his daughter.

The author is able to portray mental illness in an accurate and appropriate, way while still providing the reader with an eng
...more
Bandit
Dec 11, 2015 Bandit rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If we read to get a real glimpse of what's going on inside the minds of others, than this book should come with a warning, because the mind in this story, the mind of Greyson Todd, a studio executive who had it all turned globe trotter turned mental patient, is a strange and scary place. And many kudos to Garey for rendering it so with an unflinching vivid realism. From epic highs to devastating lows, from struggling to hide it to giving up to it, Greyson's bipolar mind is a terrifying rollercoa ...more
Liz
Jan 17, 2013 Liz rated it it was amazing
Such a wonderful book. I love reading books where the author takes you right into the mind of the characters. Juliann Garey does that in Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See.

The reader experiences Garyson's state of mind, his thoughts, his emotions as he sinks into depression or soars ever more manic into his mania. Fascinating; utterly and fully engrossing.

I fully recommend this book to anyone who wants to get into the mind of the characters, who isn't reluctant to experience mental illness pre
...more
Maureen
Nov 15, 2014 Maureen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Stunningly. Brilliant. I am speechless about how great this book is. Thank you to my GR friends who have read it for bringing it to my attention. Simply superb.
Elizabeth
Apr 29, 2013 Elizabeth rated it it was ok
This is a highly-sensationalized fictional account of living with bi-polar. (As if bi-polar disease wasn’t dramatic enough, Juliann Garey manages to make it into a spectacle.) In any case, a bi-polar patient in the midst of electroshock therapy doesn’t make the best narrator. Non-linear plots can be fun, but this book lacked any sort of cohesion. Between the fragmented (and incomplete) narrative and the forced suspension of disbelief required to get through the ending, I walked away feeling more ...more
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Juliann has sold original screenplays and television pilots to Sony Pictures, NBC, CBS, Columbia TriStar Television and Lifetime TV. As a Journalist she has been on staff or contributed to over a dozen publications including Marie Claire, Glamour, More, Redbook, Entertainment Weekly, Elle, NY Magazine, The L.A. Times and The Huffington Post. She has received fellowships in fiction writing at The V ...more
More about Juliann Garey...

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“Not everyone can feel things as deeply as you. Most people, their feelings are ... bland, tasteless. They'll never understand what it's like to read a poem and feel almost like they're flying, or to see a bleeding fish and feel grief that shatters their heart. It's not a weakness, Grey. It's what I love about you most.” 35 likes
“You think you should have an answer to the question, 'What's wrong?' You wish you knew. No one can understand how much you wish you knew. You know you must be horrible to live with, to be around. Because you cannot stand to be you - to be in your own skin.” 17 likes
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