“In this mesmeric, dire memoir of his agonizing journey through hell and back, Fitzpatrick takes extraordinary care in re-creating the cerebral maelstrom that brought on the first breakdown…” —Publishers Weekly
“There’s nothing tentative in the author’s intense avalanche of grim histrionics; he writes with a personal urgency initially tapped by author Wally Lamb, who encouraged him to commit his experiences to paper. Fitzpatrick slam-dunks readers into the grim, murky bowels of his psychotic ordeal, yet provides a promising coda for himself and those jonesing for a ‘normal’ life.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Readers will be haunted by these accounts but gratified by the author’s hard-fought détente with the demons that drove him to carve into his own skin.”—Library Journal
“Fitzpatrick writes about mental illness with the unsparing intensity of Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton but also with the hard-won self-knowledge of William Styron, Kay Jamison, and other chroniclers of disease, recovery, and management… SHARP is a must read, remarkably told.” —Wally Lamb
“What makes this memoir so riveting and so unforgettable isn’t the myriad of horrors that its narrator inflicts upon himself. It’s the razor-sharp humor and abiding wisdom and depth of humanity with which its author graces the reader. SHARP cuts deep into your heart.”—Michael White, author of Beautiful Assassin and Soul Catcher
About The Book
David Fitzpatrick cut himself for the first time when he was 22-years-old. He describes that first experience with a razorblade as a sensuous and exhilarating endorphin rush—a bloody, addictive high he would be chasing for the majority of the next two decades of his life. In SHARP Fitzpatrick intimately chronicles his harrowing struggle with anxiety and Bipolar II disorder, covering everything from early signs of struggle at Skidmore College, to multiple stints at in-patient hospitals and group homes in the years to come.
Haunted by a long family history of depression and mental health issues, in many ways, it seemed Fitzpatrick was destined for a path that would challenge and test him with the most ominous of obstacles. As co-ed at Skidmore, he was a promising young writer balancing schoolwork with a bountiful social life and weekend trips to the cape with his girlfriend. But he was keeping a terrible secret: his roommates were tormenting him, mercilessly dumping milk, orange juice, and other everyday liquids over his head at dorm parties and get-togethers. What started out as a harmless joke performed in the name of good fun, turned into a nightly ritual, one that made Fitzpatrick shudder with dread and a constant panic, emotions he hid from his so-called friends with stoic defiance.
Dealing with menacing college roommates wasn’t David’s only brush with darkness and bullying growing up. Fitzpatrick’s older brother had bullied him consistently during his formative years, and at 17, he had an unsettling encounter with a strange man in his 50s watching him play basketball outside on a summer evening. These troubling incidences, coupled with a family tree speckled with depression and mental illness, eventually took a toll on Fitzpatrick, leading to overwhelming feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and a relentless urge to self-harm.
SHARP is a raw, compelling narrative of self-examination and determination to understand the mental forces competing to prevent Fitzpatrick from leading a normal life. But at its heart, this memoir is a tale of hope, a soul-baring quest of a lost man who returns to himself and reclaims his life. With support from the right doctors, his family, and constant writing as a form of therapy, Fitzpatrick lifts himself out from under and is able to make the leap away from institutional living. Soon, he meets Amy through an online dating service, and in the fall of 2011, the two marry in a joyous ceremony. With encouragement from long-time friend and mentor, author Wally Lamb, Fitzpatrick eventually channels his talents earning an MFA from Fairfield University. SHARP is the story of Fitzpatrick’s healing—with resonant humor and strikingly honest prose, it tells a universal and moving story about spiritual reinvigoration, lessons learned, and the power of self-acceptance and forgiveness.
About The Author
DAVID FITZPATRICK is now recovered and happily married. Fitzpatrick was born in Dearborn, Michigan, grew up in Connecticut, graduated from Skidmore College, and earned his MFA degree from Fairfield University in 2011. He works part-time at an auto dealership and is married to a graphic designer and fellow writer, Amy Holmes. The New Haven Review, Barely South Review, and the now-defunct Fiction Weekly have published his works. He is currently at work on a novel and lives in Middletown, Connecticut. SHARP is Fitzpatrick’s debut publication.