Birch Cross Book Review

Mother Nature's Daughter is a thought provoking and thoroughly
engaging novel which by its final page left me breathless. It has
charm, humor, complexity and childlike simplicity all at once. At the
risk of sounding cliched it truly has something for the whole family.
A wide range of multi-layered and beautifully realized characters who
take you on an endlessly surprising journey beginning in 1969. One can
almost smell that era from the page and yet at the same time Mr. Lutz
is very much taking you into another world. A world of sincere magic
realism. Magical yet truthful. Perhaps what impressed me the most is
the unique take on the family dynamic. The relationship between Mother
Nature and her daughter Sorrel was heartbreakingly beautiful. I
imagine every mother and daughter or indeed father and son who reads
this novel would agree with me. An American Myth it may be but it is
also a true reflection of the world we are living in - a true
depiction of the lives of real human beings. I can't recommend the
novel highly enough for all it's twist and turns. To call it a page
turner would be an understatement. It is a must read for all those
seeking new and original writing voices, a must read for all those who
want more magic in their literary lives.

Bipolar Blessing Book Review

In the summer of 1986 at the age of twenty, P.S. Lutz suffered a catastrophic breakdown that landed him in a mental hospital for seven months. It was the end of innocence for a promising young man whose sparkling future had seemed assured, and the beginning of a twenty-five-year relationship with bipolar disorder - a shadowy companion who has walked by his side ever since.

The evolution of this relationship is the subject of Bipolar Blessing, an illuminating memoir that should serve as a beacon of hope for anyone who suffers from this disease or knows someone who does. As far as Lutz is concerned, bipolardom is no curse, but a potentially helpful spiritual guide whose counsel, if listened to, can lead to a symptom-free life of extraordinary fulfillment.

To be sure, the book never shies away from the devastating effects of the disease. Lutz describes without sentimentality the fathomless hells that bipolar disorder has periodically tossed him into and offers an insider's take on the psychology of suicide (an act "as dispassionate as calling to cancel a magazine subscription, foreign as a first kiss, necessary as urination, single-minded as operating a chainsaw."). He details the strain that mental illness has placed upon his relationships, the side effects of medications, the pressure of cultural stereotypes, and many other difficulties that have come with the condition.

But transcending all of this is Lutz's robust, liberated vision of the bipolar life, which he calls "perpetually distilling, a constant fasting of the mind toward ideal mental health, toward the life of a liberated soul." It is a vision that moves far beyond the cautionary attitude of many medical practitioners who idealize "the moodless mind" for bipolars, fearing that feelings of any kind pose a threat to their patients' precarious mental equilibrium. To this tightly bound perspective, Lutz replies boldly: "Where we feel, when we feel, with whom we feel are the critical bipolar stress considerations, not that we feel."

Bipolar Blessing offers a way forward for anyone who wishes to see this condition as something more than a disease. What opens before us in this book is not a pathology, but a noble life path - one that, if properly understood, affords "every chance in the world to meet life head on, to feel our true feelings and live our true lives."