Book Review: Haldol and Hyacinths by Melody Moezzi

by Atiya Hasan

Being Iranian and American is like being a child of divorced parents, both of whom have killed a bunch of your siblings on account of their disdain for each other and neither of whom has any interest in any civility, for the sake of their children or anyone else.

In this autobiography of Melody Moezzi’s lifelong struggle with Bipolar disease, Moezzi is neither apologetic nor remorseful. Her matter-of-fact tone and vivid descriptions of her manic and depressive episodes paint a very real and immersive picture of Bipolar disease. As an outsider, it is difficult to understand the ordeal others undergo but Moezzi comfortably depicts her struggle and gives clarity to an illness that is not properly understood by society.

As a medical student, I have many times observed psychiatrists as they mark off a checklist to confirm the diagnosis of a patient and then proceed to prescribe the most hyped medication in the field at the moment. Moezzi’s experiences are a reminder of the importance to mature as a physician and human being to maintain your compassion and understanding when dealing with patients. Unlike other physically manifesting diseases, mental health issues cannot be confirmed by a blood test or exam. They are diagnoses of exclusion and, therefore, require a deeper understanding of the patient.

In this must-read autobiography, disheartening reminders are scattered throughout of society’s perception of those with mental health issues, the lack of resources available to them and the prevalence of ignorance regarding these issues.

melody moezzi

All in all, this is a book of overcoming your shortcomings and excelling at life despite whatever hand has been dealt to you. It is informative and uplifting. The book is every bit “Melody Moezzi, ” whether it is the tid-bits of Iranian politics included in the narrative or the contrast of her life as a first-generation American to her peers and the flourishing Iranian-American community or growing up as a Muslim in the post-9/11 world.

It is the story of a Brown Girl.


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