Tuesday December 12: 7:30PM 8:30PM

Buy a copy of Mental, a copy of Gorilla and the Bird, or a $5 gift card at the door or at the Strand's main floor registers to attend this event. This event will take place on the tenth floor of 826 Broadway, accessible via the elevator or the stairs next door to Strand's main entrance.

Please Note: There are 3 ticket options for this event. You can buy a copy of Gorilla and the Bird, a copy of Mental, or a $5 gift card to attend this event. If you are interested in the $5 gift card ticket, simply click the 'Event Admission' button for either book option as the gift cards are available there. The 'Signed Copy, No Admission' option is for those who will not attend the event, but would like to try and get a signed copy of either book.


Join us as two authors share memoirs that trace their time dealing with bipolar disorder and the people who helped them through it all.

Zack McDermott was a typical, passionate young Brooklyn public defender until one day he woke up convinced he was being filmed, Truman Show-style, as part of an audition for a TV pilot. Every person he passed on the street was an actor; everything he saw was part of a synchronized script to help inspire Zack to give a performance of a lifetime. After a manic spree around Manhattan, Zack was arrested on a subway platform and sent to Bellevue Hospital.

This was the start of Zack's fall into psychosis and his desperate, macabre struggle to claw his way back to sanity, an adventure that led him to be tackled by guards in mental wards, streaking through cornfields, receiving secret messages from the TV, and more. It's a journey that will take him across the country, 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'.


When Jaime Lowe was sixteen-years-old she stopped sleeping, stopped eating, and began to hallucinate—demonically cackling Muppets, faces lurking in windows, Michael Jackson delivering messages from the Neverland Underground. She wrote manifestos and math equations in her diary, and drew infographics on her bedroom wall. She ended up hospitalized and diagnosed as bipolar, and was prescribed lithium.

In her memoir Jaime shares her story of episodic madness, as well as the stability she found when taking lithium. She interviews scientists, psychiatrists, and patients to examine how effective lithium really is, where it comes from, and how its side effects can be dangerous for long-term users—including herself, who after twenty years on the medication suffers from severe kidney damage. With unflinching honesty and humor, Jaime allows a clear-eyed view into her life, and an arresting inquiry into one of mankind’s oldest medical mysteries

Join us in Strand's secret 10th floor room as Zack and Jaime share their stories and sign copies of their books. Take the elevator in 826 Broadway to the 10th floor.

This event is presented in partnership with Fountain House.


Zack McDermott has worked as a public defender for the Legal Aid Society of New York. His work has appeared on This American Life, The New York Times, Morning Edition, and Gawker among others. He lives in New York and Los Angeles.

Jaime Lowe is a frequent contributor to the New York Times Magazine. She is also the author of Digging for Dirt: The Life and Death of ODB, a biography of Ol’ Dirty Bastard, a founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan.

Unable to make the event?

Pre-Order A Signed Copy.