Zack McDermott, a 26-year-old Brooklyn public defender, woke up one morning convinced he was being filmed, Truman Show-style, as part of an audition for a TV pilot. This was it – his big dreams were finally coming true. Every passerby was an actor; every car would magically stop for him; everything he saw was a cue from “The Producer” to help inspire the performance of a lifetime. After a manic spree around Manhattan, Zack, who is bipolar, was arrested on a subway platform and admitted to Bellevue Hospital.
So begins the story of Zack’s freefall into psychosis and his desperate, poignant, often darkly funny struggle to claw his way back to sanity, regain his identity, and rebuild some semblance of a stable life. It’s a journey that will take him from New York City back to his Kansas roots and to the one person who might be able to save him, his tough, big-hearted Midwestern mother, nicknamed the Bird, whose fierce and steadfast love is the light in Zack’s dark world.
Written with raw emotional power, humor, and tenderness, The Gorilla and the Bird is a bravely honest account of a young man’s unraveling and the relationship that saves him.
"Glorious...one of the best memoirs I've read in years...a tragicomic gem about family, class, race, justice, and the spectacular weirdness of Wichita. McDermott] can move from barely controlled hilarity to the brink of rage to aching tenderness in a single breath."--Marya Hornbacher, New York Times Book Review