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Walks on the Margins: A Story of Bipolar Illness

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4.10  ·  Rating details ·  41 ratings  ·  15 reviews
2014 GOLDEN QUILL AWARD
2014 EVVY BOOK AWARD
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. Bathed in gentle compassion and exuding the most resilient love for her son and family, Kathy’s narrative favors a compelling witness-writing that
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Paperback, 175 pages
Published April 28th 2013 by Monkshood Press
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Ashley Dotson
Jun 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Walks on the Margins is one of the most informative, truthful, and interesting books on mental illness that I've ever read. Told from two perspectives, it lays out the reality of what it is like to have bipolar disorder and how a mental illness can affect a family.

Max's chapters were vibrant and colorful, a little hard to follow at times, but always meaningful and eye-opening. And Kathy's chapters showed how hard it is to watch
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Wishzoom
Dec 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Here's a book of alternating chapters written by a mom and a son documenting their journey through his bi polar diagnosis. Both are wonderful writers. I liked the way their points of view remain distinct. The son's description of his experience is rare and riveting, first rate. The mom shows great humanity and transparency as she struggles to be the best possible parent. Both bring inspiring insight.
Nancy Saltzman
Jun 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
After reading "Walks on the Margins" I have a much better understanding and appreciation for someone diagnosed with bipolar illness. I thought the structure of the book made it extremely compelling - one chapter by Kathy Brandt (mother) and the next by Max Maddox (son). The authors took the reader deeply into their lives and showed the highs and lows of the illness and its affects on their lives. I highly recommend this story of perseverance, love, and triumph.
Misty
Jul 04, 2013 rated it liked it
I have known people with this disease. It is horrible and draining for the patient and entire family and friends. Yet having this out in a book shows to the outside world what happens with this disease. It is not a common disease that everyone understands. There is myths and people become afraid of people with this. Getting this out in the public assists the rest of the world in knowing what this actually is.
Fran
Jun 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Walks On The Margins
Told in two voices: Kathy Brandt and Max Maddox


An artist’s palette contains many colors and within these colors some envision images, pictures and scenes that either comprise events in their lives or what they think should be part of their lives. Manic Depression is defined as: Manic-depression: Alternating moods of abnormal highs (mania) and lows (depression). Called bipolar disorder because of the swings between these opposing poles in mood. A type of depressive disease. N
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Rossa Forbes
Oct 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
When I review memoirs of mental illness, I feel that I should say first where I am coming from and why I like to read these kinds of memoirs. (There really should be a name for this genre.) I am the mother of a son, a little younger than Max Maddox, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia and who is following his own artist's path, with his mother in tow. Like Kathy Brandt and other mothers, I've been working on a memoir, too. The focus of mine is finding out how best to help my son, learning about ...more
Angela
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
I had high hopes for this book as the reviews I read were quite positive. However, I found Max's writing style too esoteric. I enjoyed the chapters written by Kathy much more. I was disappointed that the book did not really explain Max's journey to healing. How did he manage to graduate from college, marry, and become successful despite his bipolar illness. The book mostly bounced from one psychotic episode to another. There were large gaps missing in the story line. You do gain a greater apprec ...more
Laura Marchildon
May 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
“Walks On The Margins” A Story of Bipolar Illness, by Kathy Brandt and Max Maddox

Are you looking for hope? Well there IS a happy ending.

What immediately captured my attention about “Walks On the Margins” A Story of Bipolar Illness, was this was a two perspective story and this made me curious to read it.

“Walks On the Margins” is an in-depth look from two perspectives; one being from Max, who was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, and the other from Kathy, his mom, watching the horrific changes
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Kathy Brandt
Apr 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
"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 ...more
Polly
Aug 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
An amazing look into bipolar illness, from inside (Max) and outside, trying to help (Kathy). Max's descriptions of the mania in particular are lyric and compelling. My only quibble is that Kathy keeps looking for hope in the stories of others, and yet there's no real sense in this story of how Max got to the point that he could write his part. Several years skip by, and he's suddenly able to function again. Still, it's clear that our mental health system is badly broken, and many other Maxes hav ...more
Judy
Jul 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read this book because someone in the Grinnell College community recommended it (one of the authors, Max, was a Grinnell College student when he was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder.).The book, told in alternating voices by Max and his mom, gives a horrifying glimpse into the struggles people with the disorder and their families face. In particular, it's a scathing indictment of our system of delivering mental health care.
Siri
May 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone.
Excellent insight into a family's life with mental illness. Perspective from a mother and from the son who is living with bi-polar. If you would like to get a grip on trying to understand depression and mental illness first-hand, this is good start in a "walk in their shoes" sort of way.
Jeanne Nisbeth
May 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
A good picture of what it is like to live with someone affected by manic- depressive disorder
Stormy
Jul 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Please read this book.
Sharon
Aug 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A very emotional story. As a mother, I couldn't imagine how heartbreaking it must have been to see a child experience so much pain. The sections by Max were insightful and lyrical.
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The Life of a Boo...: Sharon G's TBRs for 2015 15 52 Jan 06, 2015 04:36AM  
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Kathy is the author of Walks on the Margins: A Story of Bipolar Illness, co-authored with her son, Max Maddox. It was a finalist for the Iowa Review Award in Non-Fiction. She also writes the Hannah Sampson Underwater Investigation series.

After her son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1999, Kathy became a vocal advocate for those with mental illness and their families. She has served is on th
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