... [an] engrossing, necessary book ... this is not an empirical study. Rather, it is intimate testimony from someone who has lived through an illness long shrouded in silence, shame and sin. Antrim speaks with the moral authority of the survivor ... Antrim’s inventive, circular prose style reflects his sense of warped time: Hours bend, fragment, compress, extend. The narrative catapults forward, then backward—a kind of chronological whiplash that dislocates us in time and place ... Just when we start to put the pieces of Antrim’s life together, he wrenches us away from the relief of comprehension. The medium is the message: Suicide, as Antrim understands it, is a continuum of emotional pain ... One hopes this brief, courageous book will bring us closer to the 'paradigm shift' Antrim seeks—a reckoning that could bring about better funding for mental health research, more affordable psychiatric beds and less societal stigma.
Brief and devastating ... One Friday in April evokes, as vividly as any book since William Styron’s Darkness Visible, the ongoing present tenseness — or present tension — of suicide, which Antrim describes as a condition in and of itself ... We know he has survived, of course, but the terms of this survival remain conditional, even so many years after the fact. It’s a deft and unexpected approach, diffusing narrative tension in favor of a more inchoate set of anxieties, which only expand the deeper we read. At the same time, this enables One Friday in April to move fluidly between recollection and reflection, between what happened and the questions it provokes ... Antrim’s writing here is brilliant in its indirection and compression.
... bracing ... a heart-rending and edifying portrait of the pain of mental illness ... Although barely more than 130 pages long, the book illuminates far-flung branches of Antrim’s family tree ... Antrim’s life, like his work, is a high-wire search for perfection
One Friday in April is at once an emotional and intellectual exploration of what it is to survive suicide: Antrim pulls himself from the literal brink of death ... This is perfect and awful. It tells you all you need to know about the terrible kind of noisy the city was and how Antrim perceived it ... Books like Darkness Visible and One Friday (there are many others) have at their core protagonists who inhabit, perhaps, the upper ends of the middle class, regardless of their self-perceived status at time of writing. That is to say, they could access and afford the care they needed. So many others can’t and therefore go untreated. This is not to take anything away from Antrim’s brave and vulnerable book. One Friday in April didn’t set out to explore or answer how different socioeconomic groups navigate mental health issues. But it’s a hard thing not to think about. It’s also hard not to wonder how Antrim dealt with the stigma surrounding his mental illness. When it is addressed, it is addressed in brief and, for the most part, dismissed ... Antrim ends his book with more of a bit of encouragement rather than hope. He doesn’t tell us everything is going to be okay if we just wake up and decide to be happy. He points out that, at the moment he is writing, he is doing fine.
The intensity of his torment as he contemplates the end of his life is matched by a sense of bewilderment at his predicament ... Antrim challenges some of the received wisdom about suicide: that it is a plan put into place, willed into being, as a means of escape ... a starker and more meticulous book [than Antrim's novels], an attempt to write about suicide without any of the consolations of that style ... Antrim isn’t interested in the philosophical discourse on suicide—Camus’ existentialism, or Schopenhauer’s inquiries into ethics—but in the concrete, moment-to-moment experience of being suicidal. At times his account has an enumerative quality, detailing the sequence of minor events ... The effect is that of a disoriented individual trying to stay grounded in reality, to get a grip ... the book has a looping, discursive quality. To help his reader understand his suicide’s own particular history, Antrim moves, often within the same paragraph, between his present circumstances and his past, when he so often found himself prey to the dysfunction of his parents ... The meticulousness of his account, its palpability, and the way it’s projected onto us, his readers, helps us feel what he is feeling ... Antrim’s appeal to readers is a call for fellowship, and for embracing suicide’s contradictions.
[A] marvelous, heartbreaking, and beautifully revealing memoir ... Antrim magnificently captures the self-loathing many depressives constantly feel ... While it is emotionally draining—Antrim does not shy away from the realities of his condition—his honesty is in some ways comforting, and this painstakingly and gloriously written work might make some readers feel less alone.
One Friday In April could, in some ways, be read as a companion piece [to The Afterlife], similarly sleepless, non-chronological, and ruminative. But the language here is starker, less evocative, sometimes even clinical ... Antrim doesn’t present his story as unique, or even as much of a story, and he’s probably right to do so. The trade-off is that, despite its brevity...One Friday In Apriloccasionally makes for monotonous reading, a succession of failed relationships and doctors, nurses, and therapists ... Paragraph-long micro-essays (i.e., the most writerly portions) are the best parts of One Friday In April.
Unflinching ... Lucid prose ... The light at the end of this painfully eloquent tunnel is the conclusion that no one should venture through the darkness alone. Readers looking to better understand the nuances of mental illness would do well start with this profoundly affecting account.
Unflinchingly honest ... Fractured into vignettes of anguished memories, lists of medications, and ruminations, the narrative is defiantly nonlinear and brilliantly reflective of the author’s state of being: anxious, inert, unworthy. Unlike a flat line, Antrim’s talent for storytelling is more similar to Russian nesting dolls: moments within moments that build upon each other as recollections and revelations ... Slim yet formidable, a mind-bendingly good read.