Bitter Medicine

In 1976, Ben Martini was diagnosed with schizophrenia. A decade later, his brother Olivier was told he had the same disease. For the past thirty years the Martini family has struggled to comprehend and cope with a devastating illness, frustrated by a health care system lacking in resources and empathy, the imperfect science of medication, and the strain of mental illness on familial relationships.

Throughout it all, Olivier, an accomplished visual artist, drew. His sketches, comic strips, and portraits document his experience with, and capture the essence of, this all too frequently misunderstood disease. In Bitter Medicine, Olivier’s poignant graphic narrative runs alongside and communicates with a written account of the past three decades by his younger brother, award-winning author and playwright Clem Martini. The result is a layered family memoir that faces head-on the stigma attached to mental illness.

Shot through with wry humour and unapologetic in its politics, Bitter Medicine is the story of the Martini family, a polemical and poetic portrait of illness, and a vital and timely call for action.

AUTHOR

Clem Martini

Clem Martini is an award-winning playwright, novelist, and screenwriter with over thirty plays and nine books of fiction and non-fiction to his credit, including Bitter Medicine: A Graphic Memoir of Mental Illness, winner of the Calgary Book Award, and his most recent anthology of plays, Martini With A Twist. He has served on the boards of numerous writing organizations including the Alberta Playwrights Network, the Playwrights Guild of Canada, and the Canadian Creative Writers and Writing Programs. His texts on playwriting, The Blunt Playwright and The Greek Playwright, are used in universities and colleges across the country. He is currently a professor in the School of Creative and Performing Arts at the University of Calgary.

AUTHOR

Olivier Martini

Olivier Martini is a former student of the Alberta College of Art and Design who lives and works in Calgary. He generates visual artwork in a variety of forms. His sketches, paintings, and prints have been displayed at the Marion McGrath Gallery, published in Alberta Views magazine, and were included as part of the Canadian Mental Health’s Copernicus Project.

Reviews

“This is a rare and powerful book. It gives the meaning of love without talking of love. It is both heartbreaking and truly victorious. It tells us clearly that mental illness is a dimension of ‘normal’ the way that shadow is a dimension of light. And we should walk with our shadows.” ? Dragan Todorovic, author of The Book of Revenge


Awards

  • Wilfred Eggleston Award for Non-Fiction 2011, Short-listed
  • City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize 2011, Winner
  • Alberta Trade Non-Fiction Book of the Year 2011, Winner
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    Details

    Dimensions:

    264 Pages
    6.00in * 10.00in * .68in
    480.00gr
    1.05lb

    Published:

    March 15, 2010

    Publisher:

    Freehand Books

    ISBN:

    9781551119281

    Language:

    eng

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