As Much as I Care to Remember is the story of mental illness over multiple decades. Through the years, Liddy surfs atop her chronic disease, her misfiring sensory neurons fuel adventures that show readers that they are not alone and encourage families to seek early diagnosis and support. Liddy is a high-flying, whimsical creature, living inside the pages, letting the reader know that no one is normal. While Liddy’s adventures are primarily intended for the reader who is struggling with mental illness to know that they are not alone, she also explains the disease and encourages their families to seek an early diagnosis and support.
Raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Emily graduated from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina and obtained her Masters in Journalism and Public Policy at American University in Washington, DC.
She moved to New York City to help others through communications projects and in turn she learned about the power of patient advocacy.
She served as the Scientific Communications Director of the National Kidney Foundation in New York City from 2006 – 2014; and as a Communication Specialist at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund.
The unifying thread to Howell’s career in patient advocacy is her experience generating awareness for public health issues by developing and disseminating health messaging locally and globally.
Emily currently works in healthcare and lives in Beaufort, SC, with her husband.
Emily B. Howell’s candid And honest memoir intertwined with fictional storytelling is an important work that would benefit any family member, neighbor, classmate, or friend who is ready to understand in new ways the bipolar mind. Her work is sensitive, heartfelt, while being couched in a creativity that makes this an easy read to a sometimes difficult subject. The love that went into this work sweeps through every page!
Outstanding and heartfelt and enlightening look at a difficult subject. This innovative fictionalization shares in a unique way facts and data just can’t. You’ll feel involved and informed in an emotionally candid way. You can hear it or you can live it. You will do both in this insightful look into real life emotion. You will learn and you will care. Great five star job!
E. B. Howell’s As Much as I Care to Remember is a frank portrayal of living with bipolar disorder. Howell’s honest dedication to raising awareness about bipolar disorder delivers an empathetic and authentic narrative about Liddy, a woman battling the world around her and the multiple narratives spun by her episodes of mania.
As Much as I Care to Remember immediately establishes itself as raw and set on rebelling against the portrait of bipolar disorder purported by mainstream media and popular culture (an issue Liddy addresses in the final chapter, citing it as the reason behind sharing her experience with the reader). Thus, despite being fictitious, Howell constructs Liddy’s experience as lived experiences. Perhaps the greatest compliment I can give this novel is the way it reads as a non-fiction memoir.
Subsequently, even when Liddy reaches extreme highs created by the mania associated with bipolar disorder, none of the episodes or small glimpses into Liddy’s psyche are gratuitous. Nor does Howell romanticise Liddy’s experience as we live it alongside her. This is because Howell captures the vulnerable responses of both Liddy and the family and friends around her. Liddy is a woman with a disorder she tries to manage every single day, but first and foremost she is a woman with a career and a husband. Similarly, her mother Hazel is the pharmacist, wife to Liddy’s father Jimmy (with whom the story begins as Jimmy also lives with bipolar disorder) and a mother, before she is the mother trying to cope with Liddy’s episodes.
This is where Howell��s authenticity derives from. It derives from her ability to balance bipolar disorder being central to Liddy’s narrative but also being inconsequential at times. Liddy is not defined by her disorder and never should be - something she struggles with during her third episode.
Howell’s structural craft is also admirable. Never once, although the timeline is not completely linear, did the novel feel haphazard or roughly pieced together. Howell has superbly written a story as if Liddy were there, right beside you, telling you. Consequently, her childhood memories are not revealed all at once, she goes on tangents and she refers to all three of her episodes even though we learn the most about her third one.
Liddy’s is a life lived and still to be lived. The end is not the end; Liddy does not deny the possibility of a fourth episode, in fact she knows it is on the horizon, but her honesty leaves the reader with hope Liddy will be okay. Howell dispels any preconceptions a reader might have about bipolar disorder to tell an incredibly human story which one may assume is alien to them when, in truth, it is not.
A page turner, start to finish with an amazing view into the bipolar mind. This speaks to me as a close friend, and relative to those with this diagnosis. I would imagine that others with bipolar could take comfort from this book that they are not alone in their experiences and there is light even in the darkest, scariest moments. There are many lessons: advocacy, patience, and science are all important keys to successfully managing whether you are a patient yourself or a close friend. Truly appreciate the author’s expressive story telling that shines light into mental illness. Highly recommend.
Required reading for parents and families dealing with a loved one living with mental illness. An honest, unapologetic, and compelling story of a bright, creative, and charming young woman coming to terms with her bipolar disorder. Written in beautiful gritty detail, E.B. Howell transports the reader into Liddy’s mind and enables us to understand her as a whole person and not a diagnosis. I was enthralled by the family dynamics and rooting for Liddy from beginning to end!
Wish I could give this book 6 stars! It speaks to so many familiar themes, and the author does so in a completely unique form of narration. I'm not bipolar, but I think we can all agree that one person's "situation" is relatable when it causes harm or frustration among family members. Take this journey with Emily. While the ride is bumpy in parts, the destination is worth it!
This book is incredibly informative and eye opening, in addition to being well-written and completely engaging. I am so thankful that Howell so bravely and fully shared her accounts so that I can have a better understanding of bi-polar. If everyone read this book our conversations about mental health would be more empathetic and productive. Please read this book!!