"When we die, our bodies die, but our ideas, personality, and qualities are present in the lives and hearts of the people who bonded with us..."

Born in Cuba, the author came to America at age 15, sponsored by his father. From ages 17 through 19, Alvarez experienced various stresses, some normal and others more extreme. The typical teenage desires for a married life were accompanied by rejections that made him anxious. On top of that, there were troubles in helping his mother come to America and in adjusting to his father's new wife and family in the U.S. When Alvarez was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, he experienced difficulties while in both countries. Eventually, he was able to identify his own need for hospitalization and for help resolving imbalances due to changed medications. During his thirties, the author became engaged to and married a Columbian bride. The couple became happy parents of a daughter.

This 220-page autobiographical work is in two sections. The first records the author's insightful and religious experiences and conclusions. While growing up, Alvarez faithfully captured his spiritual thoughts on paper and used those notes as the basis to write the beginning of this book. His entries illustrate the attempts of a young person to make sense of the complicated world his elders accept as normal. Alvarez's insights are presented in short, well crafted, and polished paragraphs. In addition, the author includes some of his poetry.

The second section is an abbreviated memoir beginning with the author's troubled teen years. Alvarez hopes that adding his life story may benefit readers who have limited information about mental health issues, especially dealing with a bipolar disorder diagnosis. Readers will also be glad to learn of his eventual happy marriage and fatherhood, demonstrating that people with bipolar disorder can live a normal life.

Return to USR Home