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Manic: A Memoir

3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,719 Ratings  ·  573 Reviews
"I didn't tell anyone that I was going to Santa Fe to kill myself."

On the outside, Terri Cheney was a highly successful, attractive Beverly Hills entertainment lawyer. But behind her seemingly flawless façade lay a dangerous secret—for the better part of her life Cheney had been battling debilitating bipolar disorder and concealing a pharmacy's worth of prescriptions meant
Hardcover, 245 pages
Published February 5th 2008 by William Morrow & Company (first published 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Aug 24, 2011 rachel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 2011, true-story
To be clear: there are bipolar rich people and there are bipolar pretty people and there are bipolar pretty, rich people, and all of their experiences are as valid and worthy of attention as people from humbler backgrounds who, by no fault of anything except nature and human vapidness, fade while said pretty, rich people glow.

Cheney knows this glow really well and knows she has it. In fact, half of this book seems to be about how pretty and well-off Terri Cheney is. That grates on me. It doesn'
Feb 24, 2008 Loripdx rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Loripdx by: Anne
I asked my local library to order this book so I could read it. Boy, what an eye-opener! I sat down on my couch with this book last night...and 3 hours later, I was done with it.

Amazing. I was practically out of breath, fatigued, all by this woman's words describing her life. I can't even begin to imagine living in her skin.


Read this if you are not faint of heart. It ain't pretty. But it sure is real.
Sep 07, 2011 Nelly rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
OK, I got to chapter 14 out of 17. I just could NOT bring myself to finish this dreck of a book. How much more can I hear about the beautiful, pretty, petite, redheaded, virtually hairless, wonderful, redheaded, rich, refined, redheaded, educated, fantabulous, heroic, redheaded, amazing, terrific, redheaded, wealthy, sympathetic, redheaded Terri Chenney? This wasn't an account of her illness, this was an account of all the nice stuff she has and how pretty she is and how all that, still - to her ...more
Jul 17, 2008 Ruby rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: rich white people and their friends
Shelves: memoir
There's nothing wrong with the writing in this memoir. It's not astounding, but it's clear and compelling. The description of bipolar disorder seems accurate (to one who is not afflicted, but has known many who are), and it's told in an interesting way -- episodically, which is in keeping with the subject matter.

What's wrong is the protagonist. Should I be allowed to judge the person behind the memoir? That the Universe should save me from such judgment.

I brought the book back to the library, so
Aug 01, 2009 Michelle rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2009
2.5 stars. Memoir about a bipolar woman. Although she states from the beginning the reason the book is told in non-linear fashion, and though this format does indeed give a deeper context to her disease, I found it off-putting. I guess I must like my memoirs linear or something. I just found her really, really hard to like because we're just dropped into a manic episode with no background, etc. The book felt like an endless loop of her telling us she's a redhead, a super duper successful lawyer, ...more
Oct 11, 2008 David rated it liked it
It feels too personal writing a review of such a revealing autobiographical book, as though criticizing any aspect of the writing would amount to criticizing the life of a person who has obviously suffered a great deal from mental illness, which would not at all be my intent. I would guess, though, that the author would want it reviewed straight, with no sense of affirmative action or what have you, so here goes.

What I loved about this book is the vividness of description. She doesn't just say "
May 12, 2009 Hannah rated it it was ok
At its best Manic offers insight, albeit through salacious voyeurism, into mental illness. My main issue with this book though is that I simply did not like the writer. By constantly referring to her own beauty, sexiness, successful education and career, well-to-do family (led by "daddy"), she completely turned me off. The moment she compared her plight to that of Rodney King was it for me.
Dec 28, 2011 Melissa rated it really liked it
I'm not manic, nor have I ever been manic. But I could relate to a lot of what was in the book because she talks about the depression side of manic depression a great deal, and I have experience with that. We both have people in our lives who tell us that our medications (mood stabilizers, antidepressants, etc.) are addictive (they are not) and we should stop taking all that stuff and just pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. We both know how impossible that is. Adn I am frankly amazed that none ...more
Aug 11, 2009 Juliette rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoirs
I would give this 2 1/2 stars, if I could. It seems like a trashy beach novel, which seems strange to say, since it's supposed to be a memoir about the struggle of living with bipolar disorder (manic depression).
Terri Cheney seems to want the reader to know that she is beautiful. Her red hair is amazing. Her skin is perfectly alabaster. She is really sad about not being able to gain weight and be larger than a size zero. She owns clothing and shoes by Chanel, drove a Porsche, loves MAC sheer plu
Majo's Library.
I really enjoyed this, but I don't think I would recommend this read to a lot of audiences. This is because some of it is a little un-nerving for those who believe in the "stigma" of bipolar and do not fully understand these experiences. Readers should educate themselves with bipolar and learn about the offensive myths that society has come to believe full hearted-ly about people suffering with mental illnesses.
Mar 04, 2008 Laura rated it it was amazing
This was a really interesting book that gave excellent insight on a patient suffering from manic-depression. It's a quick read, and you'll find yourself thinking about it long after you finish the book. Also, if you are wondering what may go on in Britney Spears' mind, this is a great book for you! :)
Jun 16, 2015 Ally rated it it was amazing
For someone who has not suffered from mental illness and only ever had to grapple with mild seasonal depression, books like Manic almost seem like fiction to me. I am morbidly interested in the experiences of people grappling with mental illness, mostly because I want to try and understand them.

A few years ago, my best friends sister attempted suicide. Thankfully, she was found and stopped in time, but the ramifications have continued to this day. This is one of the first books I've read on mani
Mar 22, 2012 Jodi rated it it was amazing
MANIC: A MEMOIR provides excellent insight into the events in the life of an adult with bipolar disorder (aka manic-depressive disease). Cheney highlights key markers along the progression of her mental illness as an adult. Touching on events that occurred prior to her diagnosis, as well as some that occurred after, Cheney takes us on a retrospective journey through these events from the perspective of her internal process of recognizing specific thought patterns, physical sensations, moods, and ...more
Kathy Hiester
May 18, 2011 Kathy Hiester rated it really liked it
Terri Cheney details her fight with manic depression through a sequence of non-chronological chapters. She makes it clear at the beginning that this book reflects her life as she has experienced it. It does, on the other hand, result in some doubling-up in the chapters that maybe a part of the mania itself. For example, in quite a few chapters, Cheney describes how sharp each sense develops into during manic episode. The descriptions are the same from chapter to chapter although the circumstance ...more
Jul 07, 2015 Camilla rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
I’ve never had manic depression or ’bipolar’ in my life in any way – until my favorite character from a TV show got diagnosed with it – cut to next scene - and here I am reading a ”my life with bipolar” book.

So to the people who say TV shows don’t teach our kids anything; I guess you’re wrong? ;)

I wouldn’t say I now know everything about bipolar after reading this book, definitely not, but it’s written by a woman who lives with the diagnosis, so it definitely gives you an insight into her world,
Apr 28, 2010 Holly rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
I learned of this book while watching a PBS station and Barry Kibrick was thoroughly reviewing Manic with its author, Terri Cheney. He is a great reviewer. I thought it would be an interesting book. I just finished it and it truly is an amazing account of Cheney's life as a manic depressive. Each chapter is an "event" in her life, wherein she describes in vivid detail her feelings and thoughts about what is occuring in her body and mind during that time. I found it fascinating. It's not a long b ...more
Alexis Dutko
May 19, 2015 Alexis Dutko rated it really liked it
This book was incredibly well written, which made it so easy to pick up and not put down. For people with an open and judge less mind this is an authentic look into the life of a highly dysfunctional bipolar woman. However, let's remember that there are degree to this type of mental illness and this author is that most dysfunctional end of that. There are individuals who learn to live with bipolar in a way that it does not dictate their lives to the extent it has hers.
One last word on the book,
Stephanie (Stepping out of the Page)
This was a decent book though it was not as compelling as I had expected - perhaps due to the lack of chronology. It was quite matter-of-fact and not as emotional as I had thought it would be considering the subject matter. It did however give a good insight to living life with bipolar disorder and it was interesting to read about manic experiences alongside depressive episodes. The main reason I enjoyed this book was because it was different - facing up to mania.
Feb 25, 2010 Jeannie rated it it was amazing
This was a roller-coaster ride of a book. I really liked the way she wrote it out of sequence due to her not recalling when her episodes happened or in what order, that's quite unusual but it worked. This really opened my eyes to bi-polar disorder and the turmoil involved, I had no idea how bad it could be. My heart truly goes out to her and to anyone battling with this disorder.
Aug 04, 2013 Morgan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have never read a book on manic-depression that described what it is like through the ups and downs of the disease so perfectly. I would recommend this book to anyone who is bi-polar or knows someone who is. For me, it made me feel that I am not alone in what I go through. The actions/feelings that I just can't help sometimes are "normal", if there were such a thing.
Apr 29, 2008 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who knows me
Recommended to Jennifer by: Lesley
This book is amazing. It really puts you in the shoes of a bi-polar person rather then just reading about the illness. If you know anyone who is Bi-polar, this is a must read. While I am certainly not a severe as this woman, it does give you a very good idea of what this illness is like.
Ann Wilkens
Feb 04, 2008 Ann Wilkens rated it really liked it
I feel paranoid for even putting this up (because someone might make the wrong assumption about me) but I LOVE books about mental illness and mental institutions.
May 07, 2016 Suzanne rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016-books-read
This book should really have 3.5 stars. I decided to read it because I know people who have been diagnosed as manic-depressive and I wanted to get a better idea of what they are feeling. This book does that. You have to read each chapter as if it is a short story because the chapters really don't build on each other but as the author says that is a little bit like what it is to be manic-depressive. The one thing I wish that the book would have told us was how to be with people with this disorder ...more
Angela Graves
Jul 12, 2014 Angela Graves rated it it was amazing
This was the best memoir about bipolar that I've read so far. I loved Kay Jamison's, An Unquiet Mind, but these two books are of very different types. Jamison's book came with a lot more clinical knowledge mixed in with her personal story. Manic was a series of vignettes about different manic or depressed times that had major impact on her life. At first I thought that I would have preferred them to be chronological, but by the end I realized that this random structure did not detract and also g ...more
Mar 28, 2010 Pat rated it really liked it
Terri Cheney's memoir of her life long battle with bipolar disease is a must read for family members or friends of loved ones who battle this vicious illness. She gives a clear and painful voice to mental illness. Cheney went to Vassar; got her law degree and became an entertainment lawyer in Los Angeles; all while battling depression and mania.

Her brutal honesty of her manic times and the months of dealing with the "dark beast" is heartbreaking. Bringing mental illness out into the open is the
Jul 04, 2011 Lisa rated it liked it
I don't like the term "bipolar." Even though I am, I much prefer "manic depressive" because I think it describes the condition more accurately. Bipolar makes me think of Bicoastal--part of the year I reside at the North Pole while during the harsh winter I head to the South Pole. So I like that Teri Cheney titled her book MANIC. She left out the DEPRESSIVE because what's the allure of that?

This isn't the first memoir I've read by a manic depressive--mental illness makes for good stories. The thi
Jennifer K
Manic a memoir by Terri Cheney This particular book just flew by for me. As a diagnosed Manic Depressive, it was extraordinarily interesting to me to see how the illness manifests itself in another person with the same diagnosis. For me, it was interesting because I have not had a truly "manic" episode in years. Her whole experience is with euphoric hypomania that inevitably becomes true and terrifying manic behavior. She writes very honestly about her suicide attempts, her hospitalizations, her behavior when manic, and the ...more
Oct 05, 2014 Pirzha-Loves-Reading rated it it was amazing

I started to read this book for two reasons

First was because I read a book by Katy Evans (real) where the hero is bipolar, and I just wanted to know more about it and how much of the book was real

Second was for my psychiatry course, I saw bipolar patients everyday, and I just had to understand them better...

OMG... This book was so hard to read, it talks about the author of the book who struggles with manic-depressive disorder (bipolar), she has written about a different episode of eith
Jenny Karraker
Apr 17, 2013 Jenny Karraker rated it really liked it
This was certainly a disturbing book to read. Having several friends and family members with milder forms of bipolar than this woman exhibited, it helped me understand more clearly how the physiological affects the emotional and behavioral components of our actions. The author stated that she could physically feel the change coming on, as evidenced by the raising of the hairs on the back of her neck. Also her descriptions of her almost manic stage, that magical stage when she can be so alluring ...more
Jul 07, 2011 Michael rated it liked it
Manic by Terri Cheney put me in an awkward position. As someone who has loved ones who have had to battle illness throughout their lives im particularly symathetic to people in their position. But with Terri i found it alot harder than what i should of. I dont know why but i found it very hard to empathize with her. Not because of alot of her behaviour that i know was a result of the manic depression but the side of i seen as just snobbish and unlikeable.

The book itself has many harrowing bits s
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The Equity Book G...: Manic: A Memoir 1 15 Jul 02, 2012 03:50PM  
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After graduating Vassar College with honors, Ms. Cheney attended UCLA School of Law. After years of secretly struggling with manic depression, Ms. Cheney decided to leave the law and devote her advocacy skills toward a cause that is closer to her heart: writing about her illness, and encouraging the mentally ill to tell their own stories.

--from the author's website
More about Terri Cheney...

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“Stories don't always have to end happily.. Sometimes it's just enough that they end.” 47 likes
“[ ] manic sex isn't really intercourse. It's dicourse, just another way to ease the insatiable need for contact and communication. In place of words, I simply spoke with my skin.” 38 likes
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