Reviews

Reviews & Comments from Readers

My Story Isn’t Over

***** Rabia Tanveer – Readers’ Favorite
My Story Isn’t Over by Natasha Simon is her autobiography as she recounts her mental illnesses and moves in her life, conquering one thing at a time. Divided into 2 parts, the author shares her stories, her worries and her successes in small chapters that allow the reader to understand what is happening with her and how she is trying her best to excel at everything she does. This is not a self-help book, this is not a book that will give you a magical cure-all, but this is a book that will give courage to people who are suffering from any form of mental illness or any kind of physical condition. The author handles a multitude of illnesses, recounting what they mean to her, how she copes with them, and shares how she fights these things one day at a time.

This feels like a personal note for the reader, a conversation that you have with a friend and feel connected to. I am amazed at how Natasha Simon is resilient enough to get up every morning and fight her anxieties to become the best she can be. The chapters are short, which makes it easier to read and understand. She shares some very valuable lessons with readers, she gives them courage and she makes sure that they want to get to their feet and fight back. The language is simple yet powerful; it is passive yet very positive. You never feel sad while reading this book, you will only feel the urge to do better, become better and make sure that you are proud of you! I loved this book and the very essence of it. Brilliant and very helpful!

5 Star Review

***** Astrid Iustulin – Readers’ Favorite
How can a small punctuation mark like the semicolon be so significant to people who have bipolar disorder? Natasha Simon answers this question in her book My Story Isn’t Over. Here, Simon reveals the effect of bipolar disorder on her life and how important it is to believe that there is something worth living for, even in the darkest moments. Simon recalls both difficult and pleasant experiences with candor. She also lingers on various medical issues she has besides bipolar disorder. Most importantly, she speaks her mind about controversial topics like suicide and its consequences and also offers advice to people who need help.

My Story Isn’t Over is a remarkable book from many points of view. The first aspect I like is Simon’s honesty. She wrote her book with commitment, and the result is a vivid and emotional picture of her thoughts. She also makes you realize how bipolar disorder affects your life, and she is commendable because she can talk about it. Second, I like that she asks many questions and leaves them open. These questions are often difficult to answer, and perhaps there is not an unambiguous answer at all, but they invite reflection. Last, I am grateful for the advice she gives now and then on her pages. I hope that people going through difficult times will find it useful and will benefit from it. My Story Isn’t Over is a book everyone should read. Simon’s appeal to be kind and avoid hurting others is a lesson we need to learn nowadays, one more time.

***** Ankita Shukla – Readers’ Favorite
Natasha Simon is a living and breathing example that life doesn’t end with the diagnosis of mental illness. You can do anything if you just believe in yourself. With an unwavering determination and the help of friends, family, and professionals, Natasha has been contributing so much to society. I would recommend My Story Isn’t Over by Natasha Simon to readers who wish to understand different aspects of mental health and also to those who are having a hard time coping with their own mental health.

***** Jamie Michele – Readers’ Favorite
Over the past 18 months, I have seen photo posts of no less than six acquaintances who have gotten a semicolon as a tattoo, so when My Story Isn’t Over by Natasha Simon crossed my path, I knew I had to pick it up. The author begins this non-fiction guide with an explanation of the semicolon’s significance with relation to mental health issues (as well as addiction, but that’s a different book for another day), then chronicles her own personal journey with Bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, mania, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It also touches on suicide and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder over the course of two comprehensive parts: TheBiPolar Express and Semicolon Ongoing Support. Part memoir and part self-help guide for the layperson, Simon offers up experience and factual data in a straightforward, honest, and wholly relatable way.

I admit that Natasha Simon’s book, My Story Isn’t Over, spoke to me on something of a spiritual level. There’s quite a bit that I couldn’t identify with but recognized as issues others have spoken of, and a great deal that I knew first-hand. I enjoyed Simon’s writing style, which felt like a friend sitting on the couch conversing with me, and the open narrative that talks with its reader as opposed to talking at them. Medical jargon is broken down into understandable terms and Simon’s own stories thread through and give weight to the experiences being conveyed. I would highly recommend this book to those who have or know someone who is living with mental health issues, particularly as they relate to Bipolar disorder.

**** Sarah Cott – Goodreads
Well written and easily relatable even if you don’t have BiPolar.
The chapters are short and manageable for someone like me who has a short attention span. I read the whole book within 24 hours because after each chapter I wanted to know more.
Delicate topics such as suicide and self-harm have trigger warnings.
The book isn’t emotionally exhausting like many other books on this topic can be. It gives good insight into the life of someone who has BiPolar and other health issues.
The book ends on a positive note of hope and resilience.

**** Tiffany Ferrell – Readers’ Favorite
I really enjoyed My Story Isn’t Over. The writing is witty and flows easily, which catches readers’ attention and keeps them motivated. It also gives us both good and bad moments in her life which are very relatable, especially to a person who suffers from bipolar themselves. I find it a great read for someone who has a loved one or knows someone that suffers from mental illness and Natasha Simon literally walks you through her struggle as if you are in her shoes. Most books on mental illness are facts and what you find in the Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders. It’s hard to understand and get how a bipolar person truly feels through medical texts and books of the sort. My Story Isn’t Over goes above and beyond and really gives you a first-hand account of living with the illness.

**** Benjamin Ookami – Readers’ Favorite
In My Story Isn’t Over, Natasha Simon starts off with a slightly seriocomical introduction which states when a semicolon is used and she draws an interesting comparison by stating what it means in the realm of suicide awareness and mental health. The author gives readers useful advice as she takes them on a journey through her career as a counselor, which comes in handy for readers who lack the support and knowledge to keep going in the face of suicide, mental illness, addictions, and a wide range of medical conditions. She struggled with mental and physical conditions at a young age. Her life’s mission became to save as many lives as she could.

In Simon’s previous books, titled The Bi-Polar Express and Panic Stations along The Bi-Polar Express, the subject she focused on a lot was bullying, but not suicide. In My Story Isn’t Over, the reader enjoys a well-formatted book divided into two parts: the first is based on the author’s younger years before she got her counseling diploma. The second part is where we see her work and grow into loving herself. I found Natasha Simon’s book to be helpful for people who might suspect that they are struggling with a variety of mental illnesses. Therefore, if they want to learn how to cope with one, maintain a happy family and enjoy a wonderful career, I see this witty and practiced author’s work as the answer.

Sue D
Thoroughly useful, funny, brave, brilliant, honest. Natasha speaks so clearly with lived experience. The first of its kind, I can’t remember reading anything like it in the mental health section. I read it in one day.

Kerin
I already borrowed your book and read it in only two sittings. ….. Dude! Respect! Hat’s off to you for being so honest and balls out and honest. I know I don’t have it in me. Impressed at your ability to start and continue such an important conversation.

Panic Stations along The Bi-Polar Express

***** Sarah – Goodreads
An incredibly honest, raw and heartbreaking account of what it is like to live with bipolar disorder. The first half is written by Natasha and the second half by her mum, Ela which allows you to understand both sides of what it is like living with Bipolar.
I loved reading the book.
Thank you Natasha and Ela.

***** Alex H – Google Play
I just wanted to read more! Easy to read, I felt I was being taken along for the ride. This is real life. The ups and downs, the revelations. The actually never giving up. Still fighting. Still living despite the odds. The quirks. The odd quirk! It’s riveting. It’s inspirational. And I can’t wait for the next chapter.

 

The Bi-Polar Express

***** Ankita Shukla – Readers’ Favorite
The interactive style of writing of both the authors is extremely entertaining. From the first chapter to the end, I became a part of the world of Ela and Natasha. I connected with both of them on so many levels. Although the subject of the book is quite emotional, the book is far from it. The authors have ensured that the book doesn’t become a dark universe, where readers would only see the darkness. They have kept the mood light and introduced many light-hearted events as well. I learned a lot about bipolar disorder and have developed more empathy towards its patients and their families. I would recommend this book to readers who wish to know more about mental problems or who have, in any way, been in contact with its patients. Also, readers who are intrigued by well-written memoirs should give this book a try. I loved everything about the book.
5 Star Review
Click this link to read the full review: https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/the-bi-polar-express

***** Alex H – Google Play
An honest, warts and all account of mental illness. Heartbreaking, funny, but incredibly hopeful.

***** Jack Magnus – Readers’ Favorite
Ela Simon and Natasha Simon’s non-fiction memoir, The Bi-Polar Express, is a beautifully written and candid look at Bi-Polar disorder and the havoc the disease, when undiagnosed, can wreak upon the lives of the sufferer and their loved ones. Ela’s story is inspiring. Her writing is a joy to read, and her deep affection for her daughter shines out in every anecdote and story. As I followed her accounts of Natasha’s experiences in school, I could feel Ela’s frustration with a system that just wasn’t sufficiently knowledgeable to handle students with special needs. Her story also helped me get a fuller understanding of this disorder and appreciate the challenges faced each day by those persons who do have Bi-Polar disorder. After reading Ela’s account, I was thrilled to hear Natasha’s story first-hand. She and her mother each have distinctive and different writing styles, and it was intriguing to hear some of the same accounts through their different eyes. I loved reading Natasha’s insights into, and descriptions of, the other patients at the clinic. Her ability to read people and understand what makes them tick is a rare gift indeed. I’m wondering if she’s considering writing fiction and would love to meet the characters she creates. This talented mother-daughter team’s book is most highly recommended.

***** Gisela Dixon – Readers’ Favorite
The Bi-Polar Express by Ela Simon and Natasha Simon is an autobiography written by the mother-daughter duo of Ela and Natasha Simon. The story is told from the point of view of the mother in the first half and of the daughter in the second half. I hope a book like this goes a long way toward removing the stigma that still exists in society today towards mental illnesses and disorders. This is a good read that is both enjoyable as well as educational.

***** Patricia Reding – Readers’ Favorite
The Bi-Polar Express is one family’s journey, but is one in which we should all have an interest as, like it or not, it touches all of our lives in one way or another.

***** Mamta Madhavan – Readers’ Favorite
The story captures the difficulties, angst, and struggles faced by both mother and daughter. The story is sad and compelling and the author is vocal about the ordeals she experienced while handling her daughter. There is no mincing of words as she goes through her story of pain and struggles. She also captures her daughter’s story from her point of view and gives readers a view of what Natasha, her daughter, was going through. Both the emotions and expressions of the mother and daughter have been woven in nicely. The book throws light on the bipolar mind and the author shares links to websites which give valuable information for sufferers and carers. It is a story that is real and relatable and many families will be able to connect well with the author’s story.

I too have bipolar and I read your insightful and witty book in one sitting- it’s Mum’s turn now!
Serena

I received the book yesterday afternoon about 3 o’clock and began reading it in my office right away, I missed my gym session and hastily prepared a dinner for my husband so I could maximise my ‘reading time’. As of this morning I am 3/4’S through the book and will finish it tonight.
DS
Mindframe National Media Initiative

I read your book with tears in my eyes, laughter, some joy, much sadness but mostly hope.
Ana

Dear Ela and Natasha,
I’m just enquiring about the sequel to your first book, and wonder if it is available yet?
My sister-in-law in South Africa was recently diagnosed with Bipolar 1, and I sent her a copy of your first book, which she has read and reread. She said she cried for 3 days after reading your book, because she said it was like reading her own story, and she couldn’t believe that other people were out there who understood what it was like to live the life that she has lead.
She is really keen to read the sequel to your book.

CH

I am crying, laughing and can’t stop reading. The book is Amazing.
Barbara

Mum finished reading your book – she said she couldn’t put it down! I’ve just started reading it too. We thought your warning that the book contains “traces of nuts” was pretty funny!!
Maxine

Dear Ela,
I just finished the book! I really enjoyed it! It was so honestly written and I learnt so much! Before I even finished the book, some things Natasha said helped me give advice to another person. I look forward to the next one!
Fel

I just had to get into your book straight away and honestly I could not put it down. I woke in the night and read more…
S & D (Perth)

25/03/07
Dear Ela!
I just wanted to say that I stayed up very late one night not too long ago reading your book, and am amazed! Amazed by what you have been going thru, and amazed by your ability to still function, and with a smile on your face most of the time! Amazed at your couage and honesty in writing the book and going public with so much personal stuff. You’re amazing! I admire your strength and perseverance and determination to stand by Natasha and catch her when she falls off the rollercoaster. I think she couldn’t have wished for a better mum! So hang in there!
Yours,
I. G (USA)
5/5/07
Reading this again. Very moving.

The book is fantastic. You deserve big success. Congratulations.
N. B.

To whom it may concern
I am sending this email as I would like to be able to get in contact with Ela Simon, my daughter has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, after reading this book, the similarities with my daughter is almost the same, my daughter was only diagnosis last year, before that I just thought she was crazy…
Liz

Riveting!
Morris


I am delighted to recommend this warm, heart felt and easily readable book by Ela and Natasha Simon.  It is a rare privilege to be let into the heartbreaks and joys experienced by this courageous mother and her daughter as they cope with and triumph over Natasha’s bipolar affective disorder.

Text books and learned journal articles about bipolar affective disorder provide students of psychiatry the fundamental building blocks to diagnose and treat the different aspects of bipolar affective disorder.  However, there are very few emotionally honest and clear pieces of writing that fill in the gaps that text books always have.  “The Bi-Polar Express” is a book that I will be recommending to mental health clinicians and students so that they get  a sense of the day-to-day and lifetime experiences of people who suffer from bipolar disorder and the impact on their families.

This book is divided into two inter-related but separate view points called “Ela’s ride” and “Natasha’s ride” which is a very clever way to express the different viewpoints of the mother (Ela) and the daughter (Natasha).  In clinical psychiatry, the different issues and viewpoints experienced within a family are sometimes neglected or poorly understood.  This book underlines the imperative that all clinicians have to attempt to see the problems from different perspectives.  I am very thankful to Ela and Natasha Simon for writing this funny, sad story and I hope other readers will enrich their understanding of the experience of bipolar illness through this fantastic book.

The “life and death rollercoaster of mania and depression” ride has a happy ending.  It would appear that both Ela and Natasha and other members of the Simon family have triumphed, not only over the illness but are living life with gusto and exhilaration – far more than if they had opted to go on a sedate merry-go-round ride instead of the rollercoaster!

PROFESSOR JAYASHRI KULKARNI
MBBS MPM FRANZCP PhD
DIRECTOR, ALFRED PSYCHIATRY RESEARCH CENTRE


Bipolar disorder is truly a roller coaster condition, sometimes coming on in adolescence or adulthood but occasionally appearing in childhood with a range of protean symptoms that can lead to quite incorrect diagnoses.  People with that condition can effectively lose large segments of their life, while pluralistic treatment strategies can generally bring the condition under control.  The Simons take us into the world of bipolar disorder – with Ela describing the progression of the roller coaster condition in her daughter, while Natasha provides her own bright, whimsical and percipient insights about her recent experiences.  Both authors write vividly and without reserve, with raw experience writ large.  The reader can only wonder how each kept up the pace, one with a condition that was often out of control, and the other trying to preempt disaster and collateral damage as she sought help for her daughter.  An inspiring book!

Gordon Parker,
MB BS (Syd), MD (UNSW), PhD, DSc, FRANZCP,
Scientia Professor
School of Psychiatry
University of New South Wales

Executive Director
Black Dog Institute
Prince of Wales Hospital