Review: A Really Good Day by Ayelet Waldman

A Really Good Day by Ayelet WaldmanAyelet Waldman has spent many years and dollars in search of a good day. She is smart, successful – a bestselling author and a former federal public defender — and suffers from a mood disorder. She is not depressed to incapacitation, or in need of hospitalization, but she is far from happy. She is easily irritated, prone to dark moods or anxiety, and productive in bursts. And after years of therapy, supplements, medication, and meditation, she stumbled upon a controversial approach to managing her moods – microdosing LSD.

In “A Really Good Day,” Waldman walks the reader through her month-long experiment with LSD. She takes a microdose –  1/10th of a dose a person hoping for hallucinations would take. One day on, two days off, and she faithfully records her condition each day: mood, any conflict, sleep, pain, work etc.

Her daily experiments frame a larger, nicely researched, discussion on drug policy, psychiatry, the increase in opiate addiction, the history of LSD, and the law, which, she notes, she is breaking. The more personal story of her – her relationship with her mother, her children, her husband (writer Michael Chabon whom she describes as her “easy-going and cheerful” foil), the ups and downs of their marriage – is touching.

Waldman has an easy way of writing. She is no stranger to controversy (as in her previous book “The Bad Mother”) and she doesn’t temper her opinions here, which is refreshing.  “A Really Good Day” is an eye-opening confessional and a thoughtful meditation on mercurial moods and one possible pathway to relief. In other words, a Really Good Book.

Published January 24, 2017
Knopf

An advance galley of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest opinion.