By Lisa Schwarzbaum
Updated March 17, 2020 at 02:40 AM EDT

The Best Awful

B-
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  • Book
genre

At her awfulest, Suzanne Vale — the same Ms. Vale of tears and bons mots from Fisher’s wisecracking-through-rehab 1987 best-seller ”Postcards From the Edge” — stops taking her medication for bipolar disorder. She has a psychotic break, quite different from her usual state of brittle mirth as a Hollywood insider with a daughter by a fellow Hollywood insider who ”forgot to tell her he was gay.” (She’d fit into a Bruce Wagner tale.) Eventually Suzanne is hospitalized. (She’d fit into an Augusten Burroughs tale.) Then she’s released, happy for the mother-and-child reunion with her adored little girl. Fisher’s prose is trademark snappy and free-associative, and, as in ”Postcards,” she gaily courts speculation about the book’s real-life models. But there is something disconcertingly blue and lost beneath the book’s hectic charms, like dark circles of sleeplessness under the eyes of the life of the party.

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The Best Awful

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