Why I Chase Comedians and Other Bipolar Tales is written with self-observational humour and a comical self-deprecating irony. Frankie Owens takes the reader inside the turbulent mind of someone afflicted by hypermania. He deals with the extremities of the bipolar condition — highs, lows, in-betweens — allowing readers to understand its overwhelming nature.
Written in the style of his acclaimed Little Book of Prison, this new work follows a relapse when the author (founder of the Read and Grow Society and by now a respected, law-abiding exponent of Criminology and Literacy) found himself back in prison following a manic episode.
The book shows how he struggled with booming ideas, breathtaking feats of imagination, coming down to Earth and dealing with the wreckage. It contrasts the out-and-out ability of this well-respected expert in criminology and literacy with bizarre behaviour as he serves time a second time around and rebuilds his life once more. Why I Chase Comedians is a rare journey into the bipolar mind which ‘opens-up’ on mental health. A raw, challenging, humorous account.
‘This great, accessible book takes us on a journey revealing the reality of being bipolar, and its interfaces with incarceration’– Dr Paul Norman, University of Portsmouth.
‘Frankie Owens is an excellent person to give insight into the turmoil associated with mental illness. Never have I had a stranger call as his GP than when he was found raging in a boating pond on the South Coast of England without much clothing on (which he mentions in Chapter 2), so from there things could only get worse. As always Frankie turns these episodes to good use and is always looking at ways of helping other sufferers and families caught in the network of mental illness.’– Dr Colin Turner GP.
‘Frankie Owens never fails to deliver a no-punches-pulled account of mental health and his time spent at Her Majesty’s pleasure. Students soak up his stories, told with characteristic raw honesty and humour.’– Dr Tim Turner, Assistant Professor, School of Psychological, Social and Behavioural Sciences, Coventry University.
‘Our students were captivated by his experiences and his passion for Read and Grow, the community literacy programme that he started.’– Martina Feilzer, Professor Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Bangor.
About the author
Frankie Owens III is a prison/mental health/bipolar survivor. After becoming an advisor/lecturer to criminologists and reform groups, in 2020 he hit the headlines due to a hyper-manic episode (described in the book). He is the author of The Little Book of Prison (2012) (a finalist for the People’s Book Prize) and has written for the Guardian and Huffington Post. He is the founder of the Read and Grow Society that teaches disadvantaged people to read and develop their literacy skills.