The Kevin Show
An Olympic Athlete’s Battle with Mental Illness
by Mary Pilon
Pub Date 06 Mar 2018
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From the NYT bestselling author of The Monopolists, the "fascinating" (People) story of Olympian Kevin Hall and the syndrome that makes him believe he stars in a television show of his life.
Meet Kevin Hall, brother, son, husband, father, and Olympic sailor. Kevin has an Ivy League degree, a winning smile, and throughout his adult life, he has been engaged in an ongoing battle with a person that doesn’t exist to anyone but him: The Director. In the tradition of Kay Redfield Jamison’s An Unquiet Mind, journalist and NYT bestselling author Mary Pilon’s The Kevin Show reveals the many-sided struggle--of Kevin, his family, and the medical profession--to understand and treat a psychiatric disorder whose euphoric highs and creative ties to pop culture have become inextricable from Kevin’s experience of himself.
Kevin suffers from what doctors are beginning to call Truman Show delusion, a form of bipolar disorder named for the 1998 movie The Truman Show, in which the main character realizes he is the star of a reality TV show. When the Director commands Kevin to do things, the results often lead to handcuffs, hospitalization, or both. Kevin has ripped TV cables out of walls, stripped naked in public, climbed trees shouting lines from Shakespeare, stood on the ledges of buildings--once he nearly drove a car into Boston Harbor. His girlfriend, now wife, was in the passenger seat.
Interweaving Kevin’s perspective--including excerpts from his journals and sketches--with police reports, medical records, and interviews with those who were present at key moments in his life, The Kevin Show is a bracing, suspenseful, and eye-opening view of the role that mental health plays in a seemingly ordinary life.