How do you critique a book about a mother's torment of raising a manic depressive child?
If you've never experienced living with or being close to a severely mentally ill person, you should read this book just to get a glimpse of what the families of 6% of the population in the United States deal with on a daily basis...
The book starts pleasantly enough, with an introduction to the circumstances surrounding Nick's birth, to Steel's marriage to John Traina and her subsequent life in Pacific Heights. It was during this time of personal fulfillment and astounding professional success that Steel began to genuinely recognize that Nick was ill--though no one would believe her.
For those who don't know, for many years it was relatively unheard of to diagnose a child as bipolar or manic depressive, though Nick was. Such obstacles left Steel with few options, as Nick went from angel to devil to a place of crushing depression that eventually took his life.
As time progresses I found myself captivated as Steel articulately portrayed the trials and tribulations regarding her late son's illness, though no one else seemed to think of him as anything other than "spoiled" or "amusing". As Nick's depression and erratic behavior began to escalate, the long battle to accurately diagnose him and attain appropriate treatment began. It's hard to imagine what would have happened if Nick's mother had not been Danielle Steel with all her money and available resources.
Also intertwined within Steel's heart-warming narrative are hysterical tales of Nick's hi-jinks and budding music career with then-band Link 80, whose music you can still find on i-Tunes. For a brief while I almost forgot the inevitable ending, and hoped that Nick would conquer his demons and flourish just like his mother before him. Unfortunately, as we all know, that never had the chance to happen.
Nick passed away of a heroin overdose, leaving his friends, family and especially his mother completely shattered. I applaud Steel's strength in refusing to let his passing not have a greater purpose, that being to educate the world that mental illness is not only prevalent, but nondiscriminatory in those it takes hold of. Modern science is there to help (regardless of what Tom Cruise says)and Nick's memory lives on for those who knew him, and those who never did, but wish they had the opportunity.
In sum, this book is HIGHLY recommended-- this coming from a man who never once picked up one piece of Steel's fiction. I may not buy her many novels that always reach the the best-seller lists, but if there is ever any future material about Nick's Bright Light, I will certainly be reading!
It seems Steele wrote this book more to keep his beloved son's memory alive than anything else. At times, while reading this book I felt a bit mentally drained. Despite the depressing story of Nick's life, I learned a great deal about what it means to cope with a loved one afflicted with a serious mental illness such as bipolar disorder. This is a sad, frustrating, hopeless, at times hopeful and happy story filled with personal sacrifice. It's an emotional roller coaster much like Nick's short life filled with the best and worst experiences.
This book tells the story of a mother advocating for her son, a child suffering from mental illness, the life they all lead and the pain of his death.
My son is bipolar. I am thankful he was dx at an early age. I ache as I read what this famiily and child went through. It is a tough read, but one I feel is VERY important for every parent of a mentally ill child.
Excellent book. My oldest son was recently diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and it helped me understand what some others go through with this horrific disease. I am lucky that my son was diagnosed at such an early age and is now doing great!!
This was a heart-breaking memoir about a son lost to the mental illness of bipolar disorder. It has only been in recent years that manic-depression has been recognized as a disorder that does effect children. The author and her supportive family and friends struggled for years to find help for her son. Even when the best of care from the mental health community became available, the lure of suicide was always a struggle. Nick lost that struggle, but left behind a legacy of amazing writing, music, and love.
Rebekah Z. reviewed His Bright Light : The Story of Nick Traina on
Helpful Score: 1
I grew up as a fan of the punk band Link80. This is a great story of the life and death of one of the members of the band, Nick Traina, who also just happens to be the son of famous author Danielle Steel.
This was a very good book. It had me crying most of the time that I was reading it. Danielle Steel is a very brave woman for writing this book you can tell by reading it that it was breaking her heart to do it. It was very well written though I loved it!
I always knew Danielle Steel had written this book, but I never had much interest in reading it. I'm glad I did. It gave me a lot of insight into her as a person, as a mother, and not just as an author. Very fascinating story about her life, the men in her life and her children. She had a long road with her son Nick, who pretty much from birth displayed abnormal tendencies. It took her many,many years until they finally put a diagnosis of manic depressive to him,and started treating him.
Although this is a touching story and to have a child die has got to be a nightmare experience for a parent, I feel this book was nothing more than a cleansing of the soul for "d.s". Perhaps I overlooked the part where she as the mother takes responsibility for the overlooked clues of a very, very serious problem; too much blame put on others while there is too much emphasis on "her" life, her career and her needs that seemed to come first. I know from firsthand experience the difficulties of dealing with depression - it's not easy but to many incidents were left unaddressed......just my opinion.
Due to the personal subject of the book I did not feel it was one of Danielle Steel's best books. The subject kept going back to his earlier life & then discussing his illness. Personally I like a book that goes from beginning to end. I will excuse her due to the fact that I also lost a son & don't know if I could sit down & write about it.
Excellent book, a very emotional memoir about the life and struggles of her son Nick's battle with manic depression. Sad and emotional but a very good book for anyone trying to understand the illness in young people especially.
This book is unlike any other Danielle Steele novel you will ever read. It is the true story of her son Nick and his battle with manic depression and drug addiction. At that time many people, even doctors didn't know how to deal with the ups and downs of a person suffering from Bi Polar disorder. There is so much compassion, love, sadness and even regret in every word she writes about her Nick.It's like being on a roller coaster ride of emotions never knowing whether they may have found help with this treatment or not. Danielle gives you a very detailed and vivid account of the struggles her family, friends, and doctors went through to try and save Nick.Sometimes she tends to give to much detail and it does take away from who the story is truly about, but At times it is almost to painful to read. You can feel her heart breaking along with your own each time a new treatment fails. Yet at the same time she will have you laughing at the good times when he's playing with his band or just how funny and impulsive Nick could be . She does an excellent job in describing Nick's personality and illness. even adding his own poetry to the book to help you better understand what a beautiful, creative, but disturbed mind he had. By the end of the book I felt like I knew him and was by his side through the entire journey.
Even after knowing how Nick's life ends, there are so many times in the book that I find myself applauding him for his triumphs and rooting for him to continue to make progress. Although like most of us who suffer from this illness he always resorts back to self medicating.
I recommend this book to anyone suffering or has a family member suffering from mental illness. This book helped me and my family understand more about my own illness than any doctor ever could. At one point she says she hopes that someone can use what they have learned through Nick's journey and save a life with it. I personally know that her hope has been fullfilled. It saved mine.