In beautifully crafted prose, Dinner with Doppelgangers is the true story of one woman’s struggle with profound depression and mania, the hallmarks of bipolar disorder. With highs, lows, and hospital visits blurred by medications, the poetic text explores in uncompromising honesty how mental illness can affect family, friends, and self. Wells tackles this complicated issue with a magnetic grace that easily pulls readers along. Fall inside her madness, and catch a powerful glimpse of life with mental illness.
Dinner with Doppelgangers is a brave and important look inside the experience of mental illness from a writer who has been there.
-Susan Neville, author of Sailing the Inland Sea: On Writing, Literature, and Land
Colleen Wells captures the essence of living with bipolar as a young adult
through parenthood….A must read for anyone
experiencing or living with someone who is diagnosed with a mental health
-Alison Leslie, LCSW, Bloomington, Indiana
Readers will not find a molecule of self-pity in Dinner with Dopplegangers. The poetic reflections in this volume demonstrate not only author Colleen Wells’s careful wordsmithing but also her forthright courage. With innocence and honesty, Wells has traveled bravely back into the nightmare of her past to show her readers the light that led her from the darkest place imaginable. In spare and carefully crafted language, she takes that gleam of light and molds it into art that illuminates her salvation. Her book is highly informative about the helplessness a victim of bipolar disorder experiences. At times tragic and at other times funny, this book is ultimately an uplifting read.
-Louella Bryant, author of While In Darkness There Is Light
Colleen Wells has written a scorching and searching memoir. In her fiercely honest writing, she is our guide inside a troubled mind and spirit. It’s a harrowing story of an assault and battery from within that, in Wells’ spare, unrelenting prose, is all too real. You will finish this book affected and greatly moved by Wells’ journey.
-Richard Goodman, author of French Dirt: The Story of a Garden in the South of France
Raw, unabashed, naked fear comes spilling out onto the page in this simply complex memoir of one woman’s descent into manic depression. Colleen Wells doesn’t explain what it’s like to be sucked into the darkness, she takes us there.
Wells’s style is a straightforward, unpainted canvas, yet she fills every inch of the page with color as if there’s a Van Gogh on the tip of her pen. If you want fluff, this isn’t the book for you. As a minimalist wordsmith, she brings the reader full circle into her nightmare.
Her descriptions of living in the hospital will have the reader on bended knee, begging for mercy, as well as embracing the family who wraps their arms around this desperate individual, hugging her when she cannot hug herself. One can only shudder at the responsibility that mental illness visits on children, not to mention the private hell of a husband who can only watch as his partner sinks deeper, nearly out of reach.
This is not just not another account of self-absorption. This is an exposure of the most private nature. The reader will gain insight into an often off-limits subject, and the hope that just as surely as one can lose herself in the abyss, one can also step into the light.
It takes courage to write from the inside out, and to tell the truth with complete abandon. Wells is one such generous author.”
-Sherry McCaulley Palmer, author of Life With Charley: A Memoir of Down Syndrome Adoption
The commonplace takes on the extraordinary in Colleen Wells’ writing. Understated, wry, always candid, her voice weaves loose straws of events, conversations, memories, song titles and other elements of everyday life into a richly woven basket of experience.
Her stories reveal her to be not only a close observer but an astute interpreter of life’s tender details.
-Dianne Aprile, editor of The Book, author of The Eye is Not Enough: On Seeing and Remembering
Dinner with Doppelgangers is an evocative, lyrical journey that traces the harsh realities of mental illness with humor, compassion, and insight. Painful at times, it comes straight from the heart.
-Alyce Miller, Professor of English and Creative Writing at Indiana University