Book Review: His Bright Light – The Story of Nick Traina

Over the past two weeks I have been reading this grappling true-life story of the son of notary author Danielle Steel. While this book has nothing involved with Autism itself, it does deal with some symptoms many on the spectrum, including myself face regularly.

“This is the story of an extraordinary boy with a brilliant mind, a heart of gold, and a tortured soul. It is the story of an illness, a fight to live, and a race against death.

I want to share the story, and the pain, the courage, the love, and what I learned in living through it. I want Nick’s life to be not only a tender memory for us, but a gift to others. . . . I would like to offer people hope and the realities we lived with. I want to make a difference. My hope is that someone will be able to use what we learned, and save a life with it.”–Danielle Steel

From the day he was born, Nick Traina was his mother’s joy. By nineteen, he was dead. This is Danielle Steel’s powerful, personal story of the son she lost and the lessons she learned during his courageous battle against darkness. Sharing tender, painful memories and Nick’s remarkable journals, Steel brings us a haunting duet between a singular young man and the mother who loved him–and a harrowing portrait of a masked killer called manic depression, which afflicts between two and three million Americans.

At once a loving legacy and an unsparing depiction of a devastating illness, Danielle Steel’s tribute to her lost son is a gift of life, hope, healing, and understanding to us all.

Source: His Bright Light: The Story of Nick Traina


Likewise, as I have spent time nearly each day reading this hearwrenching book of a young man that went through so much, it reminds us to be thankful of the advacnces since he completed his suicide over 22 years ago. DS mentions how the manic depression took a toll on so many but yet she let him follow his dreams with the help of tag-team parenting of a once-in-a blue moon counselor she met in a D&A Program.

However, like many youths even to this day, finding that diagnosis as was in Nick was no small feat as it is today. Plus back then, the meds were powerful and he was in recovery which made more cumbersome. Myself, I have been through several diagnoses over the past three decades before landing with Aspergers in 1998. Furthermore, while I thought of having Bipolar (to which I still have to a degree.) I have been also recently diagnosed with Genreralized Anxety Disorder. Nonetheless, it has taken a great deal of time to get to this point in my recovery and I am not done yet.

Lastly in the afterward of the book, DS mentions the advancement of Depakote to treat the symptoms of the illnesses that her son faced. As one who has take Depakote for over 20 years now can honestly say that without it I wouldn’t be nowhere near as successful as I am today without it. Like her son, when he went some time without his medicine, he was very sick and had a wide array of effects as a result. Myself recently, for one reason or another went through one of those rebellious phases and it became realistic that I needed to take my medicine right soon.

So, if you need a good read of someone who has been there and experienced a rough recovery from mental health symptoms, His Bright Light is defenitly a good read!

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