More Than the Madness by John Kaniecki, published by Dreaming Big Publications, Reviewed by Ally
ABOUT THE BOOK
This book gives readers a glimpse into the life of someone living with bipolar disorder. It’s not a clinical book filled with facts and figures, but a book of humanity.
Spanning childhood to early adult, through stories of abuse, being bullied, experimentation with drugs and alcohol, inpatient stays on psych wards, a night in jail, his college days in the fraternity, hitchhiking across America, and his time in a third world country, John gives the reader a personal and up-close look into his life as a manic depressive. The stories are sad, shocking, and at times funny as he shares his antics while at his most manic and delusional.
Throughout his journey, John also struggles with his faith in God. More than the Madness is a testament of one man’s journey to grow closer to God while gaining a better understanding of himself.
John wrote his story to help educate others on mental illness and remove some of the stigma associated with it. It is his hope that readers will get to know the person behind the diagnosis; take away the labels and meet someone's son, friend, and husband. See that there is More Than the Madness.
4 out of 5 stars
In his introduction, Kaniecki informs the reader that this is not a book filled with scientific data or specific explanations. He explains that it’s focused on the human side of bipolar disorder, that it’s about getting inside his head so we can all understand his experiences better. And he follows through on that promise.
Starting out in the very hospital where he was diagnosed and advancing through a variety of different settings and stories, Kaniecki bares his soul on the page. He takes the audience inside of that hospital with him; he shows us around his childhood haunts. Expertly, he speaks of seemingly unrelated moments, and then weaves them into the overarching story of his battle with mental illness.
It’s an incredibly interesting read, simultaneously portraying one man’s life story and his battle with bipolar disorder. It’s also an important one; in few other places can you find a book so informative and honest about mental illness. Throughout the novel, Kaniecki stresses acceptance and implies that ignorance is its greatest enemy. The best way to combat ignorance is through knowledge and understanding, which resonates in his novel.
More Than the Madness is a read that I would highly recommend to anyone. It’s an important book that bravely and critically combats the stigma associated with mental illness with a hardy helping of heart.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for writing a review. I am not obligated to give a positive review, and all thoughts are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John Kaniecki is an author and poet. His works has been published in over eighty outlets. He was born in Brooklyn, New York and grew up in Pompton Plains, New Jersey. He attended Steven's Institute of Technology for two years before dropping out. At that time John became a Christian and a member of the Church of Christ. Also John began to seriously suffer from bipolar disorder. This mental illness would adversely affect John. As such the topic is dealt with in his writing. In particular in his book of memoirs "More Than The Madness". Also the experience is poetically explored in the book "Murmurings Of A Mad Man". John's shining achievement is his poetry book "Poet To The Poor,Poems Of Hope For The Bottom One Percent." This book deals with historical figures and events along with people from John's own life. True to John's poetic philosophy the book is written with poems that deliver a clear message. Rhyming and rhythm are prominent. John's book "Sunset Shadows" is a book of classically written sonnets dealing with dying and death in a spiritual and wholesome way. "A Day's Weather" completes John's present poetry collection which is a depiction of his days as a neophyte poet. This early work is a wholesome and quaint collection.
John has a science fiction anthology called Words of the Future. This book is interesting, unique and exciting. John presently has two horror books out, "Scarecrow, Scarecrow" and "Satan's Siren". These two books are part of a series following the main character Anne McFry.
John presently lives in Montclair with his wife Sylvia. John is a volunteer minister at the Church of Christ at Chancellor Avenue which is located in the south ward of Newark New Jersey. John is also a full time caregiver for his wife. Expect more exciting stuff from John soon.