Saturday, January 14, 2017

Ayelet Waldman's "A Really Good Day"

Ayelet Waldman is the author of A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life, the novels Love and Treasure, Red Hook Road, Love and Other Impossible Pursuits, and Daughter's Keeper, as well as of the essay collection Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace and the Mommy-Track Mystery series.

Waldman applied the “Page 99 Test” to A Really Good Day and reported the following:
I was doubtful when I tried Ford Madox Ford’s Page 99 Test on A Really Good Day. The book is a hybrid—part journal, part history, part memoir. Each of the thirty chapters covers a day in a month-long experiment microdosing with LSD as a treatment for depression, and each is different. On some days I write about my family history of mental illness, on others I write about the history of drug prohibition. Some days are descriptions of family crises, others are funny screeds. How could any one page adequately exemplify this varied whole? And yet, as is invariably the case when I flip to page 99 of a book, there it was. A near perfect synecdoche.

Page 99 of A Really Good Day is part of a larger chapter dispelling myths about drugs. When I began this experiment, though I’d worked in drug policy reform and taught a seminar on the legal and social implications of the war on drugs at UC Berkeley’s law school, I believed, like so many, that drugs like methamphetamine, which I discuss on page 99, were uniquely deadly. I was stunned to discover that methamphetamine is virtually identical to Adderall, a drug prescribed to one of my own children to treat his ADHD.

I see A Really Good Day as part of a larger conversation about mental illness and its effect on marriage and family, and about the medications we use to treat mental illness, both legally and illegally.
Learn more about the author and her work at Ayelet Waldman's website.

The Page 69 Test: Love and Treasure.

The Page 69 Test: Love and Other Impossible Pursuits.

--Marshal Zeringue