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Detour: My Bipolar Road Trip in 4-D

3.42  ·  Rating Details ·  582 Ratings  ·  76 Reviews
A finely wrought memoir of mental health, Detour takes a genre explored by Susanna Kaysen and Kay Redfield Jamison and propels it in a revelatory and rebellious new direction.
Detour is the extraordinary first book by Lizzie Simon, a twenty-three-year-old woman with bipolar disorder. We meet her as she is set to abandon her successful career as a theatrical producer in New
ebook, 224 pages
Published November 21st 2002 by Atria Books (first published 2002)
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Jun 01, 2008 Sarah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: well, no one.
There are a lot of memoirs about bipolar out there and if you are looking for a really good one, this book is not it. Some of the aspects of bipolar were oversimplified a little too much in my opinion. "Madness" by Marya Hornbacher is an excellent read about bipolar as is "An Unquiet Mind" by Kay Redfield Jamison. There are also two well-written, realistic accounts of bipolar written by Patty Duke. I would recommend those before "Detour."
Kitty Jay
This book is almost shockingly bad. It began with Simon’s story. Everyone who has been diagnosed with a serious mental disorder has a “story”. That moment when they first realized something was wrong, the moment when the doctor told them, “This is what’s happening,” and the subsequent relief, judgment, and struggles that come after. My own came when I was in college, only a few years older than Simon herself was when her story unfolded. Simon’s story, however, began to irk me. She runs through a ...more
Nov 08, 2010 Sarah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I don’t feel like this is so much a journey into what it’s like to suffer with a mental illness as what it is to be a privileged, self absorbed individual commercializing their mental illness. Her measure of “success” is extremely narrow minded, revolving primarily around making her feel better about her life. She classifies herself as being able to live a “successful” life, but it’s a life that goes from being obsessed with work to completely blowing everything off to go on some inane road trip ...more
Nov 17, 2013 Darcie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I could've read this in one sitting, but I had to sleep. So I did it in two. SO good. I love any first-person accounts of what it is like to live with a mental illness. I've read a lot of negative reviews of this book because the author (a young woman with bipolar) goes in search of successful people who have transcended their diagnosis, and according to these critics, that makes her pretentious. Do these "critics" wish to hear just another tragedy of a bipolar person ending up a chronic mental ...more
Mar 04, 2017 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lizzie Simon was diagnosed as bipolar when she was 17 years old. After a few years of fits and starts, she found herself wondering what it's like to live successfully with bipolar disorder: "I have this idea," she writes, "I want to find other bipolar people like me and interview them....I want to show that people survive this illness and live full lives. I want to figure out what worked in people who are success cases, and shift people's focus away from all the media attention on destructive an ...more
I can't say I liked it all that much, but it is a successful woman in her 20s with Bipolar writing about her first horrible experience of mania, her job success while in treatment with Lithium, and her bits of self-discovery as she takes a road trip looking for other successful on-their-meds 20-somethings. She brings the journals she has kept since she was a child on the road trip with her, and sees signs of the illness at a very young age. The book is likely full of triggers for people with Bip ...more
Aug 11, 2009 Sarah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The concept was good but she wasn't the right person for the job and she failed at it. The author is very judgemental and does not seem to appreciate the fact that "success" is measured in different ways. For most people with BP just getting up in the morning and functioning is a success story. She was only interested in people who do "extraordinary things" as she put it.

It also seems that she wasn't completely in touch with her own issues while writing the book. She was extremely disfunctional
Nov 10, 2008 Nancy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who is bipolar or is a bipolar supporter
Recommended to Nancy by: Internet
This lady has taken the bull by the horns, and faced and dealt with a chronic lifetime illness with imagination and compassion. One of the best books I have read about bipolar illness. She has used interviews with other people who suffer from the same thing to give a wide perspective of this problem, and the different ways people have of dealing with it. In this way, she also learns how to cope with her own illness, as well as a deeper understanding of the human side to a textbook illness that c ...more
Apr 26, 2009 Carol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author's willingness to reveal both herself and her illness makes
this a brave book. I recently took a class focused on writing memoir
and this book was a type of memoir we studied. After that, twenty-year
olds wrote about their illnesses, illnesses of family members, death
and other challenges. These undergrad students followed the lead of Lizzie Simon and became willing to take greater risks in writing. The
ability to put transcripts on e-mail expedites sharing.
Nov 10, 2008 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very honest account of life with bipolar when it takes one by surprise. Proactive about seeking support and understanding from other young people with the same struggle Lizzie is lead to embark on a meaningful tour. The experiences of which she wholeheartedly and compassionately shares with her readers in hopes that it will help someone else. What a beautiful book; what a gift to the world of bipolar!
Jul 25, 2007 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobiography
This book surprised me & wasn't a bad read. The best part was I learned things about "why" I became manic when I was put on an anti-depressant. You'd think a psychiatrist would've told me that since I'd been seeing one for over 5 years, but none did.
This book may be as enlightening for others as well.
Nov 10, 2008 Margaret rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just what I was looking for -- someone writing about bipolar success stories and what it takes to be healthy with bipolar. After reading so much gloom and doom this book soothed me with honesty and humor.
Sammy Nickalls
Sep 03, 2014 Sammy Nickalls rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was awfully written, but helpful for research.
As a memoir of self-discovery and mental illness, Detour is a stand-out in the genre, better by far than Marya Hornbacher's maddening and self-indulgent Madness.

As for the author's stated goal, which is splashed across the back cover, she failed. To present Detour as one woman's journey to present a cross-section of other individual struggles with bipolar and a search for commonality across the U.S. would be a wretched disservice to the book. (In fairness to the author, about 3/4 of the way thro
Oct 24, 2016 Kathy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: haveread
Maria asked me to read this book on bipolar disorder. It seemed like an honest look into a serious illness.
Mar 07, 2010 Hollowspine rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Berendt in his review comments on Simon's "ingenious inquiry" into manic depression. This 'inquiry' consists of less than 1/3 of the writing in the book. In truth what this book consists of is Lizzie Simon's ode to herself.

The interviews that Simon does to undertake her inquiry into the lives of the Bipolar famous are terrible. She questions the answers that her interviewees give her. When her interviewee does not give her the answer she is looking for she will try over and over again to get the
Apr 15, 2012 Alice rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, non-fiction
An interesting enough premise: Simon, a young bipolar woman in her 20s takes a roadtrip to find and interview other bipolar people. The catch is that Simon is only interested in interviewing bipolar people who are as "successful" as she is. This condescending goal in mind, Simon proceeds to fall in love with the most unstable of her interviewees, overshare about her sex life (a common problem amongst white female writers, see Eat, Pray, Love), and brag about how high-functioning she is, while of ...more
May 19, 2010 Suzie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Lizzie Simon's Detour helped me to understand the challenges associated with being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. In her book, she travels across the United States interviewing young, successful bipolar people in order to debunk the stigmas associated with mental illness.

One aspect that I did not like about the book was how she portrayed different mental illness associations and the people who go to them in an often negative light. This might be because she was only 23 when she wrote the book,
Sep 23, 2015 Julia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
I read this part as part of ongoing research. I didn't expect to enjoy it nearly as much as I did. Seven years after being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, the author takes a road trip to interview "young and successful" people who have Bipolar Disorder. At the time she did this, little information was available about the experience of BPD, and she wanted to put something encouraging out there, to let people know a diagnosis of BPD didn't have to mean a lifetime of basket weaving.

The author was
Apr 23, 2012 Melissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memoir
This was the best, most affirming book for those diagnosed with bipolar disorder that I have read yet. Wonderful book, all about linking up with others who have been through what you have been through, and letting you know that you are not alone. This book was less of "People with bipolar are.... Bipolar is ...etc etc." (Diagnostic, scientific things by "experts".) It was more of "This was what I was doing at the time, this is how I felt." (by the first person author). There is so much to identi ...more
Jen Appell
This book was part of my writing course; I don't think I would have picked it up had I not been forced to. The writing itself was rather poor, and the author was a judgmental bitch. It was set up in a way that was quick and easy, though. The idea of the story is that she has bipolar and decides to travel the country interviewing other bipolar people. However, it gets rather confusing because the interviews aren't really central to the story. The ending wraps it up nicely, explaining why, but for ...more
Feb 12, 2008 HRH rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people with bipolar and people who would like to learn about bipolar
The book tells the autobiographical story of Lizzie Simon, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when she was 17. At age 24, after completely college at Columbia and running a successful theatre, Lizzie decided to go on a road trip to learn about other young, successful bipolar people.

This book is good even for readers who don't have any connection with the disorder because it's really interesting generally. I was fascinated hearing about the psychotic breaks everyone had which lead to their d
Stacy Cook
As a person with Bipolar Disorder who has been going through more than you can think of in the last 6 mos.and through many, many more changes to fix my situation, I can say out of all the books I have ever read, something in part five of the discussion with her dad was the most touching to me. And it just got better after that. It was like someone had written down everything I try to explain to those close to me and in hersit made sense, seemed clearer.

The book will definitely find a greater und
Dec 07, 2011 Estie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
This book describes a road trip the author took to find and interview other successful adults living with bipolar disorder. The idea behind the book is a good one, and the book might actually have been good if the author had done a better job of researching and writing it. Instead, the reader is confronted with the authors' half baked journal entries written while she was trying to pursue her 'project'. Some semblance of a story emerges from these writings but I wouldn't even consider it a good ...more
I've been on a memoir kick lately, specifically those that deal with mental illness as this month marks a year since I had my first (and hopefully last) "spell" (as my grandmother calls it). I don't know if it speaks more about me or the book that the only thing that I seem to be concerned with since finishing is not absorbing what I read as I usually would, but instead I immediately opened Google to figure out who Nick (?), Gary (Dana Giacchetto) and Joe (Jay Moloney) are. I think it's because ...more
Nov 22, 2007 Amber rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was reminded of this book becuase it was under my bedside table in my parents home. I remember reading it shortly after I was diagnosed with bi-polar. My experience was a little different and I was mildly disturbed by her point of view in certain instances, but it helped me gain alot of insight about myself. I felt less alone and odd because this chick went through it to. I think it is definitely worth picking up..especially if you've experienced or know someone who has experienced an unexpect ...more
Feb 23, 2014 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
This is probably one of the best memoirs about bipolar disorder that I've read recently. I think that had a lot to do with the writing style and the way the author presented her struggles with the illness, but also because she didn't just talk about her own experiences with being bipolar. She interviewed a bunch of young, successful, functional bipolar people, and it was interesting to see where their experiences overlapped and where they diverged. The ebook is riddled with weird formatting erro ...more
She writes about being bipolar and her search to find and interview young successful people like herself who are bipolar. I don't know much about this condition so "Detour" made me aware of some interesting points such as some people are misdiagnosed as ADHD when they are actually bipolar, and those who improve with medication often wonder how much of their personality is the condition and how much is the drugs?
May 02, 2008 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all those with an interest in disability and mental illness
A firsthand account of a young girl's trip through bipolar disorder and her chose to combat it by telling other people's stories with the same condition..Her strength and struggle is inspiring and enlightening, all the same..Her story discounts the sometimes social belief that a mental illness means no measure of stability. Her account proves that one's diagnosis can open doors and inspire unseen strength.
Jan 22, 2014 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written description of bipolar disorder by a bipolar author. Bipolar is highly stigmatized disease in the media. All of the stereo-types I've seen of bipolar in TV and movies is inaccurate and wrong. It's used by uninformed authors as a plot device in police procedurals.

This is an excellent book if you want a truer account of what it's like to have bipolar disorder. I have a degree in Psychology.

Warning: explicit language.
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