Angelhead: My Brother's Descent into Madness

By Greg Bottoms

A taut, strong memoir of insanity, Angelhead records the violent, drug-addled descent of the author's brother, Michael, into schizophrenia. starting with Michael's first psychotic break—seeing God in his suburban bed room window whereas excessive on LSD—Greg Bottoms recounts, in gripping, dramatic prose, the unusual disappearances, suicide makes an attempt, and the surprising crime that land Michael within the psychiatric wing of a greatest protection legal. a piece of nonfiction with the shape and imagery of a singular, Angelhead permits the reader to witness not just the fragmenting of a brain, yet of a relatives as well.

"A tour-de-force memoir. . . . Bottoms writes like a poet, he writes like he's on fire."—Esquire, e-book of the yr, 2000

"Angelhead is an excellent, albeit inconceivably unhappy e-book. the truth that Bottoms survived the ordeal is extraordinary. however the undeniable fact that he may well write approximately it with such pathos and perception is not anything under extraordinary."—Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"Greg Bottoms has supplied a biographical novel approximately his brother that could be as shut as so much people will ever get to figuring out what it really is to be actually mad. Angelhead is a narrative approximately as terrifying because the sickness it describes."—Psychology Today

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Drew and 3 different former pals, who spoke on their names no longer be used, recalled Bottoms as a vibrant, playful younger boy who wrestled at the similar early life crew, the Hampton Cubs, as _______’s more youthful brother and swam on the local pool. Drew acknowledged Bottoms used to journey three-wheel all-terrain automobiles with him and his teenagers at the dust paths that hooked up Hampton Terrace with the Powhatan Park subdivisions. The physique was once stumbled on close to the positioning of the Powhatan freeway road extension.

And so they all stood up and walked away, so simple as that, criminals on probation, with my brother in tow like a abducted child. They lived close to the mall. At their position, they smoked sturdy dope, indica, thaistick, sinsemilla. They used a tumbler bong with a cranium decal on it. They became on Public Enemy, the bass beat, the sampled screech. They ate popcorn, watched Hitchcock’s The Birds on TBS and the 1st half below Siege on video. They slow-motioned violence, chugged beers in a few type of ingesting video game Michael didn’t really get—having to do with the crunch of bones and punches thrown.

It’s been nineteen years. I take into accout my father and mother there now, as though conjured from air or basic desire, status on the threshold of Michael’s room. Glass scattered in every single place, shining like quartz. My father hesitated. He wasn’t a lot greater than Michael, 5 toes 8 inches, one hundred sixty kilos. And Michael used to be swinging, the LSD pumping panic via his blood. My father knew. He wasn’t shocked. He knew concerning the medicinal drugs and the heavy steel and the undesirable associates and the skipping tuition. Michael used to be an issue child.

It used to be magnificent and scary, the simplest and worst feeling. I’ve spent my lifestyles, ranging from this second in my brother’s room, straight away doubting and believing, fearing and embracing God—or no less than the concept of God in me, the potential of God, as George Steiner wrote, in a few destiny annoying made extra of affection than of hate. So i am an atheist and a real believer. I price cause and desire for transcendence. I worth the 4 unusual, repetitive Gospels up to any books I’ve learn, yet I can’t think attending a church now, hearing easy aphorisms and affirmations, having turn into acutely suspect of all proclamations.

Get out, I acknowledged. i admire you, he stated. Get out. a couple of weeks after this incident, a local child, strolling during the woods in the back of our residence, came upon all 3 snakes lifeless. Michael had smashed their heads with a wide rock on which he had written the observe god with a marker pen. the child, named Bart, and anything of an area tattletale and nuisance and an avid Eagle Scout, got here to our door on a Saturday morning to inform us what he had discovered, realizing, after seeing Michael in our yard, that the lifeless snakes have been his.

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