A Really Good Day
When a small vial arrives in her mailbox from 'Lewis Carroll,' Ayelet Waldman is at a low point. Her mood storms have become intolerably severe; she has tried nearly every medication possible; her husband and children are suffering with her. So she opens the vial, places two drops on her tongue, and joins the ranks of an underground but increasingly vocal group of scientists and civilians successfully using therapeutic microdoses of LSD. As Waldman charts her experience over the course of a month - bursts of productivity, sleepless nights, a newfound sense of equanimity - she also explores the history and mythology of LSD, the cutting-edge research into the drug, and the byzantine policies that control it. Drawing on her experience as a federal public defender, and as the mother of teenagers, and her research into the therapeutic value of psychedelics, Waldman has produced a book that is eye-opening, often hilarious, and utterly enthralling.
It's a simple, delightful premise: a journal of microdosing. Then Waldman brings so much to the project that it turns into something else, something far more beguiling ... The result is constantly entertaining, slyly educational, and surprisingly moving ... I don't know another writer like her." William Finnegan, author of Pulitzer Prize-winning Barbarian Days Ignoring decades of drug war propaganda, Ayelet Waldman bravely chose to take back her psyche using forbidden medicine. The result is this candid and fearless mental travelogue. Funny, wise, surprising, and all too human, this book about peering through the veil of self may just - if you dare to let it - drive you sane Walter Kirn, author of Up in the Air and Blood Will Out Crisp, hilarious, and weirdly optimistic, Ayelet Waldman breaks from the convention of mental health memoir the way an acid head breaks from reality. At its core this is a deeply romantic story about the redemptive power of marriage, surprising and easy to celebrate. Jenni Konner, showrunner and executive producer of Girls, co-founder of Lenny Letter Ayelet Waldman is fearless, which is our good fortune and sometimes hers. That boldness led to her fruitful adventures in mind-altering substances recounted here. Subtly mind-altering; this is a book about sub-hallucinatory microdoses of LSD but also about marriage and family life, insomnia, addiction, her past as a defense attorney, our insane drug laws, moods and dispositions and afflictions, and a lot of other stuff braided into an informative, amusing, nonchalantly incendiary narrative. You could call this book her war on the war on drugs, but it's so much more, and so much more funny. Rebecca Solnit, author of A Field Guide to Getting Lost Novelist and essayist Waldman (Bad Mother) - mother of four, married to another high-profile writer (Michael Chabon) - worked as a federal public defender and taught at prestigious law schools. After struggling with mood swings and bouts of depression, Waldman becomes a 'self-study psychedelic researcher,' taking small doses of LSD on repeating three-day cycles and discovers plenty to exonerate the illicit substance ... A highly engaging combination of research and self-discovery, laced with some endearingly honest comic moments. She is exactly the sort of sensible, middle-aged, switched-on, spontaneous woman whom any reader would enjoy taking a trip with Publisher's Weekly, starred review In this raw, honest, and ultimately hopeful journey, Waldman takes us deep into the forest of her mind and moods. The success of her story with microdosing reminds the medical and legal communities how much still remains to be understand about the brain. Dr. David Eagleman, neuroscientist, author, creator of the PBS series The Brain A hilarious, intriguing, and thoroughly persuasive account of how a middle-aged mother of four, a writer and lawyer terrified of drugs, found life-changing serenity by microdosing with LSD. It seems that LSD can not only make walls breathe and worlds become one, but turn grouchy, yelling people into happy, reasonable ones. Ayelet Waldman's terrific book holds out hope to the mood-afflicted everywhere that there is a solution to their misery without the side-effects of anti-depressants - a solution that doesn't produce mystical revelations but just a really good day. LSD is illegal, but fortunately this book isn't, and it has much the same effect. Larissa MacFarquhar, author of Strangers Drowning
AYELET WALDMAN is the author of 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. She was a federal public defender and taught a course on the legal implications of the War on Drugs at the UC Berkeley law school. She lives in Berkeley, California, with her husband, Michael Chabon, and their four children.