Gorilla and The Bird by Zack McDermott
"I looked forward to the Bird's visits, but there were only two hours per day during which she was allowed. Every minute of every visiting opportunity, she was there. Ten minutes early, lined up at the door, ready to go through security -- she was there. She didn't panic, Not in front of me.... She wanted the staff to know I was not the man they saw. "This is not my son," she'd say. "This is my son," and she'd flash photos she'd brought with her of me looking "normal". To humanize me -- to let them know not to discard this one. He is loved. He's coming back. Help him."
EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS BOOK. I do not make that disclaimer often but I stand by it and list Gorilla and the Bird as another one of my Top Reads of 2017. Zack McDermott is a bright, hilarious, kind attorney who works in New York. He also lives with bipolar disorder. This book is a powerful, heartbreaking look into what it is like to live with mental illness and a gorgeous testament to the limitless love and devotion of an incredible mother who never gave up on her son or the children she took in and mentored. Zack was working as a public defender (whose clients were often mentally ill themselves), when he had his first complete psychotic break. He would go on to be hospitalized several more times, becoming painfully aware of when he was losing his grip on reality and slipping in to madness. The candor and authenticity with which he writes regarding his illness was incredibly compelling and his mother's unwavering support of him was one of the most inspiring things I have read in a very long time. Thank you so much to Little Brown and Co. for sending me another 5 star read.