My Fluorescent God: A Memoir

My Fluorescent God–Joe Guppy from joeguppy on Vimeo.

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My Fluorescent God (Booktrope Editions, Oct 10, 2014) is now available on,,,, and at the Kindle, Nook, iBooks stores and at selected independent bookstores.

My Fluorescent God is as Kirkus Reviews “Best Book of 2015”  and was a 2015 Pacific Northwest Book Award finalist.

Beautifully written, honest, enlightening, hope-giving and valuable—essential for anyone interested in or struggling with mental health issues.”
–Kirkus starred review

From the back cover of My Fluorescent God:

Joe Guppy’s life derailed in 1979. The 23-year-old was dealing with a bad breakup and existential angst, but it was a few stomach pills he took in Mexico that pushed him over the edge into paranoid psychosis… and straight into the mental ward of Seattle’s Providence Hospital or, as he perceived it, Hell. In the ensuing six months, he battled his real-life demons, jumped out a second-story window, and encountered God in a fluorescent light fixture. In this raw, often wryly comic memoir, Guppy invites readers into his haunted, 23-year-old head… and the experience is electrifying. Recreated from journal entries and the notes of mental-health professionals, the story of the author’s struggle to rebuild his sanity is a gripping spiritual and psychological adventure.

From the Introduction to My Fluorescent God:

The taped-up cardboard box marked “Crazy Period” moved around with me for almost 30 years. I shoved it into closets in the bachelor pads of my mid-twenties and the apartment my wife and I shared as newlyweds. The box gathered dust for four years in Los Angeles and then in our two Seattle houses. I finally unsealed it after we downsized to a condo in 2007.

Inside were archives from my six months as a 23-year-old mental health patient in 1979: the daily psychiatric notes from my time in the hospital, my journals, my mother’s journal, letters from friends, a copper rubbing of an owl from art therapy group, my grandmother’s wooden rosary, plus old cassette tapes of interviews with my psychiatrist, psychiatric nurse, fellow patients, and the security guard who stopped me on the way to killing myself.

This book has three parts. The first two are my first-person narrative of the events of 1979. The third part features dialogues in which I discuss the case from my current-day perspective as a psychotherapist with my clinical colleagues, 30 years later.


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