A Chicken in the Wind and How He Grew

Stories From an ADHD Dad

Non-Fiction - Memoir
257 Pages
Reviewed on 07/15/2019
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Author Biography

Off-Broadway playwright, longtime television writer and producer, Frank South has spent the last nine years primarily writing about life as an ADHD adult. He performed his one-man show Pay Attention for extended runs in Honolulu and Los Angeles. His stories and articles have been published in ADDitude magazine, posted on ADDitudemag.com and reprinted in other magazines and websites. He’s been featured in programs about Adult ADHD on Second Opinion for PBS and Rock Center for NBC News.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Amanda Rofe for Readers' Favorite

A Chicken in the Wind and How He Grew: Stories From an ADHD Dad by Frank South is a non-fiction memoir recounting the nerve-wracking life of Frank South, off-Broadway playwright, long-time television writer, and producer. He explains, in his own inimitable style, how he deals with life-changing health problems including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), hypomania, myriad other co-morbid disorders, and alcoholism. Husband and father of two, he shares the overwhelming challenges faced by himself and his family. The power of love and strong family bonds see them through, as well as providing a better understanding of ADHD and other mental health issues.

Frank South is a superb raconteur. His writing contains warmth, humor, and originality. Words roll out of the book like an express train, hardly allowing you time to catch up. To say this is an honest account would be an understatement. To describe it as a mental health memoir makes it sound boring. It is funny and deeply profound. I often felt like I was reading a compelling novel. Frank has a way of expressing exactly how he feels that is not only insightful but also entertaining. I love the way the book flits back and forth in time, providing flashbacks of his childhood. He includes many pivotal moments in his life, showing us his workings out on the way. A Chicken in the Wind and How He Grew blows opens the lid on mental illness, confronting the issues and making them far more accessible. I enjoyed this book very much and have no hesitation in recommending it.

Christian Sia

A Chicken in the Wind and How He Grew: Stories From an ADHD Dad by Frank South is a memoir that opens with the protagonist losing his job and having to sell the big house and cut down the expenses, following his wife’s advice. The author explores painful stories of loss, financial crisis, and a move that affected his entire family strongly. Readers encounter someone with immense responsibilities, inhabited by fear and paranoia. His condition has him confused and anxious, unable to focus, yet his wife and two kids need his support. Can he help himself so he can help his loved ones? Follow this man on a journey towards love that heals and that brings him around to rediscover focus and meaning by living for family.

This is a memoir that chronicles stories from the life of the author that at times are humorous and very poignant. The wry humor combines with the observant nature of the writing to create great entertainment for readers. From the very beginning of the story, the reader is introduced to the author's mental crisis: “After a complete physical, my GP suggested a psychologist. After a session or two, the psychologist suggested tests. My dad was a scientist. As a kid, I watched when he tested rats in his lab. I’m suspicious.” The narrative voice is compelling and the author’s use of introspection and observations on life allow readers to get a glimpse of the darkness that has always threatened to consume his life. A Chicken in the Wind and How He Grew is hilarious and laced with witticism and humanity.

K.C. Finn

A Chicken In The Wind and How He Grew: Stories From an ADHD Dad is a heartfelt work focused on social issues and family, and was penned in memoir format by author Frank South. This slice of non-fiction takes its inspiration from the mental health issues faced by its author, who describes his mental state as a constant hurricane of thoughts, none of which make sense but all of which cause you to want to act, be active and be urgent about it. When faced with the common struggles of life including marriage, kids, grief, loss, financial trouble and moving away, Frank’s incredible tale of overcoming and dealing with his condition is both moving and harrowing to read.

With very little experience of the nature of ADHD myself, it was incredible to read this raw and informative perspective on how the intense emotions and thoughts of the condition can affect a person’s daily life at almost every minute. Author Frank South presents a clean narration which holds nothing back, but the book is also very well organized to help readers understand the background circumstances of his life, the condition itself and whatever the drama of the present moment is, somehow all at once without confusion. The lessons he learns when his life veers off the rails offer wisdom to everyone, not just those who have ADHD, and overall, A Chicken In The Wind and How He Grew is a superb emotional memoir about life, family and the essential connections between people and those they love.

Romuald Dzemo

A Chicken in the Wind and How He Grew: Stories from an ADHD Dad by Frank South is an honest, inspiring memoir that follows the journey of a man dealing with mental health and struggling to keep his family sane. From the opening paragraph, the reader is introduced to the problem that is developed in these stories. "Somewhere in the last third of the eighteen years I worked in television, I was again between jobs, but this time without prospects." When his wife suggests that they sell the big house and look for something smaller so as to cut down on spending, he agrees. The big question is: Can he find another job easily?

The author explores the nature of ADHD and allows readers to experience the crisis in his life. He takes readers through the years of financial stress, the experience of loss, and a move that will change his life and that of his family in many ways. The author gives powerful insights on what it feels like to live with a mental condition: “… I wasn’t confident or fine with anything. A dam had burst in my head. The lack of focus, tuning-out, and base-level confusion that I had always managed to muscle into submission whenever I needed to work or be responsible, had roared in and drowned all the will power or strength I had.” Written in a jovial tone and filled with humor, A Chicken in the Wind and How He Grew: Stories from an ADHD Dad is a fascinating story that is beautifully told. It inspires a deep sense of compassion in readers and explores powerful themes of love, family, and the quest for balance in life. Frank South is a great writer who succeeds in connecting with his readers.