The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression - Andrew Solomon After slogging through a large chunk of The Noonday Demon, I've come to accept I just can't see it through to the end. This book is lethal: alternately depressing readers, boring readers, and making readers roll their eyes so hard they pop out of their heads.

First: depression on any level, mild or major, brief or chronic, is a painful, crippling ailment. Anyone who pulls themselves up and fights automatically earns a bit of my respect. I know how hard the attack is and how hopeless it can seem.

Too bad Solomon's battle resulted in this book. Self-absorption is a trademark of the genre; I expect that. But self-absorption is different from (and more tolerable than) self-pity, and Solomon's writing is solidly wallowing in self-pity whenever he's talking about himself. (And try be a little grateful, sir, for your good fortune to be born into privilege. Most of us weren't so damned lucky. Even the self-absorbed know when they've been handed a gift.)

A lot of the science, studies, and numbers discussed in The Noonday Demon are extremely outdated. Solomon used the best information he had at the time, but if you want up-to-date information of that sort, look elsewhere.

While there's nothing wrong with exploring alternative medicine, there's quite a bit of pseudo-science bullshit presented here, mixed in with actual facts, jumbled together in a way that could be downright dangerous. Very concerning.

And beyond all of this? So much of The Noonday Demon is dry and downright boring. The few engaging passages are nice, but a reader has to manage to stay awake first, and even then there's a sense that many of his personal anecdotes are told simply to be shocking, very much in the "Look how fucked up I was! Be amazed!" category. Maybe that works for some readers, but I'm not one of them.

I've learned many things from my own battle with major depression, one of which is appreciating the time I have to experience life. That's why I'm putting Solomon's work to the side: life's too short to waste it on finishing books like this.