Sunday, December 30, 2012

Book Review: "Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See" by Juliann Garey

Juliann Garey's first novel really packs a wallop.

Greyson Todd is a studio executive in Los Angeles. As an agent, his clients have won multiple Oscars, made millions of dollars, and have been the toast of the entertainment industry. Greyson and his wife, Ellen, who met as teenagers, have a young daughter, Willa, and when he is able to break away from the demands of work, Greyson enjoys spending time with his daughter.

The thing is, Greyson also suffers from bipolar disorder, which has made him almost manically dedicated and driven on behalf of his clients, but leaves him to unpredictably deal with the highest highs and the lowest lows, and keep them hidden from those he represents and others in the industry. It is incredibly debilitating and although Ellen supports him through these periods, the strain is becoming increasingly more difficult.

And one night, Greyson has had it. He leaves Ellen and Willa and allows his illness to take control, and travels the world—visiting Rome, Israel, Chile, Uganda, and Thailand—assuming different identities and living different lives until his illness catches up with him again. Each time, he experiences some terrific joys and connecting with people, mostly women, and then the lows begin crushing him again, in many different ways.

Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See is a gripping, poignant, and tremendously compelling book about one man's struggle with mental illness and how it affects those around him. The book shifts between Greyson's current condition, getting ECT treatments in a New York hospital, to his travels all over the world, his relationships with Ellen and Willa, and his childhood, when he watched his father deal with the same illness that is affecting him and how his long-suffering mother handled it.

Juliann Garey is a tremendously talented writer and she hooks you into Greyson's story almost immediately. Her storytelling ability is powerful, as she makes you care for Greyson even as he is doing things you may find horrifying or disturbing. While a book about mental illness would allow an author to create one-dimensional characters and rely on stereotypes, Garey brings a fresh perspective to a somewhat familiar story.

Mental illness is a serious problem that is often misunderstood. Juliann Garey helps you see the man behind the illness, and how it affects his daily life as well as the lives of those with whom he comes into contact. This is really a terrific book.

No comments:

Post a Comment