Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love, and Manic Depression by David Leite

Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love, and Manic Depression

“A terrific contribution to understanding not only the experience of bipolar illness but the experience of life: warm, funny, poignant, and human.” (Kay Redfield Jamison, author of An Unquiet Mind and Robert Lowell: Setting the River on Fire)The long-awaited, laugh-out-loud memoir from the beloved founder of the James Beard Award-winning website Leite’s Culinaria—a candid,...

Title:Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love, and Manic Depression
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0062414372
Edition Language:English
Number of Pages:384 pages

Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love, and Manic Depression Reviews

  • Yaaresse

    I stumbled upon David Leite during a minor crisis (mine) involving Portuguese sweet bread and my spouse's childhood memory of a sainted great aunt. (Every Azorean family has a sainted great aunt, trust me on this.) D

    I stumbled upon David Leite during a minor crisis (mine) involving Portuguese sweet bread and my spouse's childhood memory of a sainted great aunt. (Every Azorean family has a sainted great aunt, trust me on this.) David's food website was in its infancy, and those well-deserved James Beard awards were in his not-too-distant future. He responded to my probably creepy and definitely frantic email with humor and solid advice. As a fan of the website, I knew his writing could be funny, irreverent, charming, and smart as a whip. With this memoir, he brings all of those traits into writing about family dynamics, cultural identity, self-identity, and mental health. These are complex topics, here approached head-on in a frank and clear voice.

    His descriptions of people, places and sensations are vivid and visceral. You will read this book with your eyes, but you'll vicariously smell, hear and taste what's happening, from the intoxicating ruckus and aroma of a traditional family meal to the disconcerting physical and emotional whiplash that happens when cycling between manic and depressive states.

    I felt the strongest parts of the book were the first third (childhood) and the last quarter. In my opinion, the transitions to and from the middle suffered from abrupt jumps in time and tone. The middle is more focused on what was going on internally with less vivid descriptions of places and people. Perhaps this was intentional? Depression can make the world a much flatter and monotone place. While the vivid writing returns in later chapters, it doesn't quite have the same holographic quality. The payoff to continue reading definitely is there, but it is more subtle and nuanced. I appreciate that there is no Disney-esque ending with everything tied up in the Happily Ever After ribbon here. Instead, the more gentle and realistic closure felt right. More importantly, it felt honest.

    Personally, I could have done without the explicit sexual details, but I admit I have a low TMI threshold and operate on the "if you wouldn't have wanted want me in the room then, spare me the graphics now" principle. I'm not puritanical, merely disinterested.

    is sharp, candid, and engaging. Like all good storytelling, it plucks at the heartstrings as much as it provides laugh-out-loud moments. Modern memoirs often are little more than a bid for attention, the writer's solicitation for social currency; this one bucks the trend by offering more than it takes and having something substantial to share.

    Kudos. Well played.

  • Alice

    In a beautifully written memoir of self-discovery, David Leite takes us on a journey of finding the true balance in his heritage, his sexual orientation, his bi-polar disorder and his deep and abiding love of food. With the anchor of strong family and culture, the author mines the depths of mental illness and the aching journey of diagnosis to find balance and, ultimately, happiness. From the author of the James Beard Award-winning website Leite’s Culinaria, David Leite has given us a feast of a

    In a beautifully written memoir of self-discovery, David Leite takes us on a journey of finding the true balance in his heritage, his sexual orientation, his bi-polar disorder and his deep and abiding love of food. With the anchor of strong family and culture, the author mines the depths of mental illness and the aching journey of diagnosis to find balance and, ultimately, happiness. From the author of the James Beard Award-winning website Leite’s Culinaria, David Leite has given us a feast of a journey to devour in this piercing memoir.

  • Marika

    One of the most funny, touching memoirs that I have read in a very long while. David writes humorously about growing up in a Portuguese household, including their rich history of cooking, family feasts and yes, dysfunction. More importantly, he writes about the first signs of his mental illness and the ways he tried to cope and hide it. He writes in a way where readers will be able to identify with his battle with mental illness, which will demystify mental illness and reduce the guilt/shame tha

    One of the most funny, touching memoirs that I have read in a very long while. David writes humorously about growing up in a Portuguese household, including their rich history of cooking, family feasts and yes, dysfunction. More importantly, he writes about the first signs of his mental illness and the ways he tried to cope and hide it. He writes in a way where readers will be able to identify with his battle with mental illness, which will demystify mental illness and reduce the guilt/shame that those who suffer from it tend to struggle with...and they shouldn't. This is a wonderful mashup of authors David Sedaris and Amy Lawson. A book that will heal and will be wonderful for book clubs.

    I received an advance copy and was not compensated.

  • Sandra Guerfi

    David Leite's touching autobiography takes a look at himself from a small boy growing up to his present life as the creator of the James Beard Award winning website Leite's Culinaria. Leite introduces us to the happy memories and tribulations that have assailed him. His genuine and candid look at what he would later come to realize as a maelstrom of mental illness and the confusion of sexual identity that began to afflict him from a very young age.

    David's family is the perfect example of an imm

    David Leite's touching autobiography takes a look at himself from a small boy growing up to his present life as the creator of the James Beard Award winning website Leite's Culinaria. Leite introduces us to the happy memories and tribulations that have assailed him. His genuine and candid look at what he would later come to realize as a maelstrom of mental illness and the confusion of sexual identity that began to afflict him from a very young age.

    David's family is the perfect example of an immigrants that came to America to begin a better life and were successful. Many would say he had the perfect childhood but that is the whole point of David's story. He was dealing with an illness that he could not even imagine never mind ask for help with and at the same time he began to realize that he felt differently than was considered normal about other boys. The confusion of realizing he was gay in a time when that was considered a moral flaw was hard for him considering he had a mother who he dubbed a bloodhound for Jesus. So even surrounded as he was by loving support from his family, his mental illness and secrets caught him in an undertow of anguish that would follow him for most of his life until being correctly diagnosed helped him fight his inner demons and finding the right person to love helped him conquer his fears.

    David Leite is not saying he's perfect or cured. What you will find in here is the story of a young man who was vulnerable and weak and searched for answers, stumbling from one idea to another until he found it at last. This book is a look at the depths that some have to struggle out of and a hope for those who are lost on their own paths. David is a guiding light to learn to accept who you are and not be afraid to ask for help. This is a book about growing into your own identity no matter what. It is at the very end a book about hope and we could all learn a little something from that.

  • Glenn Dettwiler

    I laughed, I cried, I smiled and I felt the emotional roller coaster of Davids life, love and mental health challenges.. David shares his love of those that provide a foundation to his development both in balance and relationships. From Barry to Paul, from Bridget to Ronnie, from Becca to Alan... David shares the emotional peaks and valleys that helped form his love of life, family and food.

  • Courtney Judy

    The title (and cover) of the book drew my attention first, and of course...the thought of reading a memoir that included food, love and manic depression...how could one say no to that. I enjoyed the background and mini-intro to Portuguese culture that the author provided, and my heart ached for David when he shared all the manic moments he endured his entire life. It was such a relief that he never gave up...not on himself, not on his therapist, not on his dream of getting a degree, and not on h

    The title (and cover) of the book drew my attention first, and of course...the thought of reading a memoir that included food, love and manic depression...how could one say no to that. I enjoyed the background and mini-intro to Portuguese culture that the author provided, and my heart ached for David when he shared all the manic moments he endured his entire life. It was such a relief that he never gave up...not on himself, not on his therapist, not on his dream of getting a degree, and not on his partner in life.

    The only reason I didn't give it four stars, and this could just be because I was reading an Advanced Readers copy, was the small number of photos included in the memoir. All the descriptions the author provided would have gone great with photos. Maybe in the finalized edition they will include those photos, here's hoping.

  • Kitt O'Malley

    As a mental health advocate and bipolar blogger, I've read A LOT of writing by those of us living with mental illness -- with bipolar disorder in particular. What makes Leite's different and enjoyable is his incredible self-deprecating sense of humor. Humor can literally save your life. Don't underestimate it as a coping mechanism. Check out Chapter 33 for the psychiatric interview in which Leite was diagnosed bipolar II. I even published a blog post quoting

    As a mental health advocate and bipolar blogger, I've read A LOT of writing by those of us living with mental illness -- with bipolar disorder in particular. What makes Leite's different and enjoyable is his incredible self-deprecating sense of humor. Humor can literally save your life. Don't underestimate it as a coping mechanism. Check out Chapter 33 for the psychiatric interview in which Leite was diagnosed bipolar II. I even published a blog post quoting it, I was so impressed. Even though I use the term bipolar disorder, I agree with Leite that manic depression is more accurate and descriptive of our experience.

  • Emily Hampton

    I think this is the best book I've read all year. It was especially powerful for me to read how long it took for Leite to get the diagnosis that fit him -- over 30 years. I'm so impressed by his will even as a child to fight for his life, for his brain. It's also a very sweet memoir about love, family, food, and acceptance. A fantastic read.

Top Books is in no way intended to support illegal activity. We uses Search API to find the overview of books over the internet, but we don't host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners, please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them. Read our DMCA Policies and Disclaimer for more details.