Monday, 24 August 2015

He Wanted the Moon by Mimi Baird with Eve Claxton

Posted by Karole-Anne Christianson

The full title of this Adult Non-fiction book is He Wanted the Moon: The Madness and Medical Genius of Dr. Perry Baird, and His Daughter's Quest to Know Him.

Dr. Perry Baird, a Texas-born, Harvard-trained physician was severely manic-depressive which ultimately destroyed his life and scarred his family.  He kept a detailed memoir of his descent into illness that he had hoped would be published.  Thirty years after his death, his daughter received his manuscript and began piecing together this whole story over the next 20 years.  

At its core is the full text of her father's manuscript layered with the voices of friends, relatives and medical authorities allowing events to be revisited and reframed.  The text of Dr. Baird's manuscript strikes a tone that is in turn charming, funny, then a little off, then delusional.  The book is autobiography, biography, science, history and literature all in one.