Hyper: A Personal History of ADHD

Timothy Denevi. Simon & Schuster, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4767-0257-5
In this searching memoir, Denevi shares his story of growing up in the 1980s as a guinea pig during the medical panic over ADHD. As he points out early in the book, our fascination with ADHD may have reached a new pitch, but the disease was identified in 1902 and remains a problem experts treat as a moral failure as much as a neurological disease. Denevi skillfully weaves historical anecdotes into his personal account, tracing the change from the early theory of “Minimal Brain Damage” to our currently imperfect, if more humane narrative. As an introduction to the history of ADHD, the book is excellent, but the more conflicting findings of contemporary research are dealt with only glancingly. Denevi’s story sometimes reads like a tale of common teenage angst, as youthful struggles with irrational authority figures—such as his cruel third-grade teacher, Ms. Kovalenko—flow into his attempts to adjust to the Darwinian social world of teenagers. The action is rendered adroitly, but for a memoir there is an odd lack of personal reflection. Denevi’s perspective doesn’t illuminate much about thinking or feeling through ADHD, inadvertently mirroring the frustration he found living with this elusive, poorly understood condition. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 06/09/2014
Release date: 09/02/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-1-4767-0258-2
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4767-0259-9
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