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Los Angeles Review of Books: A Recipe for Coping in Trump's America

MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS have something they want to tell us off the clock. The president is dangerous, and likely mentally unfit for office. That’s the hard truth of the essay collection The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.

But there’s good news: Americans can make biscuits. At least, that’s what you might deduce if you pick up another anti-Trump compilation, Julia Turshen’s Feed the Resistance: Recipes + Ideas for Getting Involved, with essays and recipes for grassroots organizers to feed a crowd or take on a march.

Both collections are riding a wave of anti-Trump momentum, a mixed blessing . . .


Two New Anthologies Look Beyond Body Positivity and Sexism

After the #MeToo movement brought long-silenced experiences of women to the forefront, the national lens has been laser-focused on bodies and power. But what stories—and which voices—are left out of our current national discussion? Two new moving and important small-press anthologies seek to broaden the conversation.

In the anthology My Body, My Words: A Collection of Bodies (Big Table Publishing), Amye Archer and Loren Kleinman gathered contributors to share stories around body image. The book’s website cites statistics that motivate the editors: “20 million women and 10 million men will suffer from a ‘clinically significant’ eating disorder in their lifetime,” adding that 40–60% of girls worry about their weight before age six. Archer and Kleinman praise “an explosion of books” on the body, and indeed, My Body, My Words joins a growing genre. Its goal is to bring together many, varied voices in one place, and to expand the “body positivity” discussion beyond just weight loss, to include things like disability, aging, gender identity, and sexual preference . . . 

ELECTRIC LITERATURE: A New Memoir Offers a New Look at how America Fails the Mentally Ill

Zack McDermott’s debut memoir, Gorilla and the Bird, chronicles a psychotic break that disrupted his 20s and brought him face-to-face with the realities of mental health, incarceration, and opportunity in the United States. At 26, McDermott represented clients for New York’s Legal Aid Society by day, but spent nights and weekends on his budding career in comedy, doing stand-up and writing a TV pilot. Not realizing exhaustion and insomnia were triggers, he left his Lower East Side apartment one morning in the grip of a psychotic break. Convinced he was part of an elaborate Truman Show-like audition for his breakout television role, McDermott thought everyone from the soccer team he briefly joined in Tompkins Square Park to the police at the Bedford Avenue L train stop who escorted him to the hospital were in on it. He spent years after his first manic episode grappling with his bipolar diagnosis and taking antipsychotics while representing often mentally ill clients in court . . .