When I started reading this autobiography by artist/author, Carlton Davis, I thought it would be a gruelling read. It’s not nice reading about people with severe mental illness and self-destructive tendencies, right? Actually, Davis has such a great grip on life, the universe and everything that he expresses the reality of schizophrenia with more wit than anyone I have ever encountered in print. The story is in his own words a roller-coaster and the device of narrative is to have an ongoing conversation with his alter-ego, Carlotta the tranny. Both are engaging, by the way and there’s something very Henry Milleresque in the structure of the story, particularly in the boots-and-all sex trawling scenes, drug use and other gritty encounters. Davis is indeed a writer of note, has a beautiful, strong sense of place and time and the only missing star was due to some repetition in the story that I believe to be unnecessary. Others may find the repeated info clarifying though. It’s not a book you will want to leave unfinished. His story of survival and even of using his condition productively (eventually) is amazing. The man should be dead a hundred times over but has lived through his (understandable) death wish to document his condition in a non-preachy, super-useful way. Bi-Polar Disorder is like Cancer. No two conditions are exactly alike. However, for people who suffer, for their families and workmates, this is a must-read. He is featured in a recent documentary ‘Of Two Minds’ and watching this (as well as reading the book) is illuminating. Long may he live and may happiness bless him so that he has many more years of outstanding creativity.
Oct 14, 12
Read from September 21 to October 09, 2012