The Dark Side of Innocence by Terri Cheney
Growing Up Bipolar

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“Killing yourself at any age is a seriously tricky business. But when I was seven, the odds felt insurmountable.”

As a young girl, Terri Cheney’s life looked perfect. Her family lived in a lovely house in a tranquil Los Angeles suburb where the geraniums never once failed to bloom. She was pretty and smart, an academic superstar and popular cheerleader whose father doted on her. But starting with her first suicide attempt at age seven, it was clear that her inner world was anything but perfect.

“There’s something wrong with her,” her mother would whisper, her voice quivering on the edge of despair. And indeed there was, although no one had a name for it yet. Hostage to her roller-coaster moods, Terri veered from easy A-pluses to total paralysis, from bouts of obsessive hypersexuality to episodes of alcoholic abandon that nearly cost her her life. Throughout Terri’s chaotic early years, nothing was certain from day to day except this: whatever was so deeply wrong with her must be kept a secret.

Thirty years later, Terri wrote Manic, a harrowing memoir that revealed her adult struggle with bipolar disorder. It became an instant New York Times bestseller and received passionate critical acclaim. But it didn’t tell the whole story. The mystery of Terri’s childhood remained untouched— too troubling, too painful to fathom. The Dark Side of Innocence explores those tumultuous formative years, finally shattering Terri’s well-guarded secret. With vivid intensity, it blends a pitch-perfect childlike voice with keen adult observation. The Dark Side of Innocence provides a heart-rending, groundbreaking insider’s look into the fascinating and frightening world of childhood bipolar disorder, an illness that affects a staggering one million children. This poignant and compelling story of Terri’s journey from disaster and despair to hope and survival will serve as an informative and eye-opening tale for those who would trust a flawless facade.

About Terri Cheney

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Having specialized in intellectual property and entertainment law at several prominent Los Angeles firms, Terri Cheney now devotes her talents to the cause of mental illness. She was named a member of the board of the California Bipolar Foundation and the Community Advisory Board of the UCLA Mood Disorders Research Program. She is also the founder of a weekly support group at UCLA’s Semel Institute. She lives in Los Angeles.
Published March 1, 2011 by Atria Books. 288 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Dark Side of Innocence

Kirkus Reviews

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Cheney (Manic: A Memoir, 2008) writes with brutal honesty about her tumultuous childhood trapped in the clutches of the “Black Beast”—her metaphor for the out-of-control emotional states she now recognizes as early-childhood bipolar disorder.

Mar 01 2011 | Read Full Review of The Dark Side of Innocence: G...

Publishers Weekly

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It wasn't until 1994, when Cheney was 34 years old, that she learned the correct name for what she called the Black Beast, the destructive force that ruled her life.

Jan 31 2011 | Read Full Review of The Dark Side of Innocence: G...

Book Reporter

The years of Cheney's childhood were long before America had begun a conversation about childhood disorders and conditions such as autism and ADHD, much less bipolar disorder.

Mar 28 2011 | Read Full Review of The Dark Side of Innocence: G...

Suite 101

Terri's story gives parents of bipolar children an inside perspective on the depth of moods and feelings their children may experience, and which bipolar adults may recognize.

Nov 26 2012 | Read Full Review of The Dark Side of Innocence: G...

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