Opening Page: ME AND HER: a Memoir of Madness

Photo:David Castillo Dominici

Photo:David Castillo Dominici

SQUEE! I’ve just finished amping ME AND HER : A Memoir of Madness to the MAX … My struggle and victory over Bipolar Disorder. Hope you LOVE the revised version.

‘After parents at my school harass me to breaking point, my personality and moods begin to change.’

A year ago, my cyber friend, Bi-Polar Girl suggested I post the first page from ME AND HER : A Memoir of Madness on her website, I asked myself … Could I really be Brave Enough?

I sucked in a deep breath and snapped my eyes tight, pleading for guidance.
Could I really divulge my opening page for the world to read?
Self-doubt  overwhelmed me …

Again I ask in 2011, Will everyone understand my anguish and my mania ?

So here’s the  BRAND NEW opening to ME AND HER : A Memoir of Madness … Please let me know what you think.

In May 2005, my mad half, ‘Her’ was born …

Hot water flowed over me, soothing my skin, washing my anguish and tears down the drain. After a week tucked up at the motel, should I return home to Steve and the kids? To teaching? I quivered … No, I can never return to that horrid school. Never.
I heaved a loud sigh.

Without warning, the shower screen shook, reverberating from thuds against the bathroom window. I dropped the soap, bumping the tap. The stream became icy as I stood there shivering. I spun the handle around and turned off the water. Muffled shouts came from outside. Then someone pummeled hard on the front door of my motel room.

‘Samantha, you all right?’

Samantha? That’s not my name!

My hands shook, beads of sweat forming on my forehead. ‘I’m naked. I’m getting out of the shower. Wait. Wait till I’m dressed!’

I grabbed a towel, drying my body as fast as I could. The chipped steamed-up mirror reflected a glimpse of myself, hair dripping over my face ─ skin  the colour of milk.
Why is someone banging on my door? I didn’t do anything.

‘Open the door now! Samantha Howard, you’ve got three minutes to let us in!’

I gulped. But that’s my fake name. The name I registered at the reception counter.
My heart hammered fast, the surging adrenaline pumping through my veins.

What will I do now?

Karen Tyrrell 2011 © Me and Her: a Memoir of Madness

What did you think of my Opening page ?

Is the first page strong enough to peek your interest?

Do you want to read more?

PS. Original post has been edited. KT.

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106 comments to Opening Page: ME AND HER: a Memoir of Madness

  • Josie

    yes you have done an EXCELLENT job at hooking us, line & sinker! I defs wanna read on…well done, Karen. Gripping, compelling & suspenseful! I wanna read more…

  • Thanks Rebecca. I really appreciate your positive feedback and kind support. You’re giving me hope!

  • Hi Josie, I really appreciate you dropping by with your very supportive comment. You’re telling me exactly what I need to hear. Yay! I have an audience for this book. 🙂

  • Angela V. Kane

    Yes!! I do want to read more. You’ve done a good job! Congratulations!
    You’re a much braver person than I am! You are inspiring 🙂

  • What a lovely surprise! Thanks Angela, for dropping to read my opening page.
    Before I put up a personal page from my memoir, I have to psyche myself up … its for the “greater good”
    And Later, I’m always glad I did … Karen 🙂

  • Karen! This is fantastic! I was totally hooked – and I was devastated when it ended so quickly. This is one of the strongest hooks I’ve ever read – it was instant. I know this is real; I know this is your pain and your anguish – but my goodness, what a wealth of material for other works in your future. Good luck and I sincerely hope you find a publisher fast. If the rest is as good as this – then you’re set. Congratulations both on your bravery and your talent. xxx

  • Thanks Kaz, for your very enthusiastic review of my opening page. You’ve inspired me. Think I’ll quote your “review” in a few VIP places. I’m hoping your comment will generate further interest and support 🙂

  • I am hooked! Karen, I felt like I was right there in that shower cubicle. You go girl!

  • Thanks Angela, for always being there to support me. I really appreciate you saying … “I am Hooked”.. Karen 🙂

  • Hi Karen
    Nice hook

    would suck me in.
    Good luck with it.

  • Yes I want to read more! And soon! Great opening, Karen. And I am cheering your bravery for putting it out there. You are inspiring.

  • Thanks Alison,
    Glad you’re “sucked in” too. I’m making an announcement here on Wednesday. Please stay tuned … Karen 🙂

  • Thanks so much Trudie, I’ve been talking about my past mental illness and my recovery for 2 years now.
    But when it comes to putting up a piece of your “life” for the world to see here, I’m always angsty at first. Thanks for your support, makes it so much easier … Karen 🙂

  • Gripping opening and very brave of you, Karen

  • Joel Monteith

    Great introduction!! I am wanting to read more now. I admire your courage to post this on the internet. Good luck with the rest of your memoirs 🙂

  • Thanks Dale for your fabulous support. Glad you found my opening page “gripping”. I’m getter braver with the awesome support I’m getting:)

  • Hi Joel, Lovely to meet you here. Tomorrow I’ll be making an announcement here and a few days later I’ll be posting Page 2. Please stay tuned … Karen 🙂

  • Tab

    I think anyone who attempts a memoir is brave. Writing of course is about wearing your insides on your outside, and never more so than in memoir. So well done for even putting pen to paper.
    From a purely mechanical perspective there are a few things about this page that I would change. I spotted quite a few cliches ‘white as paper’ or commonly used terns of phrase such as ‘heart pounded. Many sentences also started with I or The, just something to watch for in a memoir.
    Also keep an eye out for adjectives. They weaken the spine of all good writing.
    Your first sentence is excellent, but I wouldn’t follow it up with the next two. It reads like you are telling us what your going to tell us. I’d simply get on with the bones of your story.
    Obviously these are my opinions. Every writer must decide for him/herself what is right. These are some of what I have gleaned from the agent and authors who feedback on my own work.
    All the best, Karen.
    PS- The agent Noah Lukeman writes a very good book called ‘The First Five pages’ Turned my writing around.

  • Thank you so much Tab for your generous suggestions. I really appreciated your feedback. I made five immediate changes and the others I’ll work on. Funny only yesterday I was considering deleting the second sentence of the intro. You’re right, sounds better without it. How’s your memoir going? I wish you every success with it … Karen 🙂

  • Definitely peeked my interest…gotta know more. Karen you are building my courage to work on my website to show my novel off. Writing is a need I’ve found within me, to be heard is a necessity to ease pain, don’t you think?

  • Hi Carol, Thanks for commenting twice in one day. I’ll be posting Page 2 soon so please stay tuned.
    Yes I agree that writing is one of the best ways to heal. Good luck with your website and your journey 🙂

  • I’m hooked, Karen.

    Strong start. And very brave of you. Good luck for “Me and her” and its publication.

    Best wishes,

  • Thanks Chris for saying you’re “hooked” after page 1. Thanks so much for your good luck wishes for Me and Her. Exactly what I need 🙂

  • I am hooked and I have to read the rest. Good on you and the best of luck.

  • […] On Monday I launched my NEW dramatic opening page to ME AND HER. Thanks so much for your comments and overwhelming response, begging ‘I want more’. […]

  • Thanks Paula for your awesome support over the last two days. I’ve just announced my new campaign to get ME AND HER published. What do you think? Please Check out

  • Graham Clements

    As all have said, a first page that really hooks you in, particularly when she mentions using a false name, you immediately want to know why?

  • Thanks Graham,
    I like the way I’ve hooked you in. The part about me using a false name is totally true. Truth stranger than fiction.

  • Definitely piqued my interest, Karen! I want to know who’s banging at the door and why. I want to know why the fake name and what happened at the school. Great hook. Great opening page.

  • Thanks Jo for dropping by. So glad I piqued your interest. Please stay tuned … tomorrow I’m posting page 2.

  • […] RADF Showcase    Opening Page: ME AND HER: a Memoir of Madness […]

  • Karen, someone willing to put their life up for critique is certainly in for the journey of their life, but you have put on the public agenda the needed conversation about mental health. Thank you. Interest piqued… ready for more!

  • Thanks Bruce for supporting my memoir and understanding the importance of ‘True Life’ mental health histories. Fabulous meeting you yesterday 🙂

  • Well done, Karen. Can just imagine your terror! Keep going with your writing, won’t you. 🙂

  • Thanks Sheryl,
    Glad you can empathize with my “character” in the opening pages.
    I’m very determined to develop each of my stories and novels to their full potential.

  • Ben

    Hey Karen i want to help a friend with her bipolar she means everything to me and i just dont know how i can help her, she means everything to me

  • Hi Ben,
    I send out a mental health news letter with positive strategies. Please let me know and I can send it to you for your friend … Karen 🙂

  • Hello – I’m very interested in reading your story of challenging disability – is there somewhere where full copies can be viewed?

    thank you!

  • Hi Elysium, Thanks for your interest in my memoir. Really appreciate you dropping by. My memoir is receiving much interest from Publishers. Hope it will be published very soon. Please check out page 2 …

  • Ben

    that would be nice to have a news letter Karen please do send me one my email is many thanks

  • Hi Ben,
    I’ve sent you 4 compressed newsletters. How did you find them were they helpful?

  • Ben

    just read them now i will pass them to my friend thank you so much Karen, do you have the first 3 news letters? if so could u please send them and any more u have i would love to read i cant thank you enough 🙂

  • Hi Ben, so glad the newsletters were helpful. I’ll send you some more newsletters soon. Take care x

  • Ben

    thank you so very much im off to see my friend in the morning to drop her ur news letters off for her to read through thank you again and am looking forward to more news letters 🙂 xx

  • Wow Karen – quite a grabber! thanks for connecting on twitter. I hope we meet someday in “book tour land” – and I wish you lots of luck in getting it published. My memoir took five years from first-draft completion to publishing contract – but seeing the results so far from readers has made it so worth the wait.

  • Thanks Randye for dropping by with your good luck wishes. Glad I’ve “grabbed” you with my opening page. Hope to chat again here and in twitterland.

  • […] unstoppable momentum. My opening pages receiving hundreds of encouraging comments and likes. Urgent requests to read my full manuscript are still coming in. Plus positive reviews. Letters of […]

  • Shani

    Hi you requested me to comment on your blog at PlanBig….

    I think your opening page is mind blowing. You have really set the scene and story quite well.You have started and introduced who what where why and why realy well, that is something very important you have succeed on!! To win over a interested reader you must make it interesting and you have done exaclty that! I look forward to reading more of this fantastic story! Well done Karen, you are a talented writer 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Thanks Shani, for honoring your pledge over at PlanBig. I’m so glad you “loved” Page One. I hope you’ll want to read page 2 as well … Please check out
    Please stay tuned for more announcements 🙂

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