When Mimi Baird was a child, one day her father disappeared. Though her mother did an excellent job of keeping routine and quickly remarrying, she kept what had really happened from both Mimi and her sister for years. Mimi’s father, Dr. Perry Baird, suffered from what we today call Bi-Polar disorder. In an age where mental illness was something to be hidden in an asylum, Dr. Baird attempted to describe his feelings and the true torment of enduring inhumane treatments designed to attack the disease.
He Wanted the Moon is written in Dr. Baird’s own words, pulling directly from papers and texts Mimi Baird found when reviewing her father’s notes. While she did work to heavily clean them up and bring logical order to the sometime rambling nature of her father’s narrative, she also includes family photos and written reports from the asylum where Dr. Baird spent much of his time.
Reading Dr. Baird’s words in haunting. Whether it’s his discussions of being wrapped in wet cold blankets for hours, or the heartbreaking realizations of his daughter that her father died due to a complete loss of skills after a frontal lobotomy, the book drips with the fear and frustrations of a time where Bi-Polar disorder was viewed with great fear and very few treatment options.
He Wanted the Moon reminds us that those suffering from mental illness are all around us. It is very fortunate that before his lobotomy, Dr. Baird was able to commit so many of his thoughts and experiences to paper, and in doing so give his daughter a great deal of necessary closure.
He Wanted the Moon is now available from Extra Libris books.