"Buzz: An ADHD Mother's Search for Understanding, Patience, and Comic Relief*"


A hilarious and heartrending account of one mother’s journey to understand and reconnect with her high-spirited preteen son—a true story sure to beguile parents grappling with a child’s bewildering behavior.

Popular literature is filled with the stories of self-sacrificing mothers bravely tending to their challenging children. Katherine Ellison offers a different kind of tale. Shortly after Ellison, an award-winning investigative reporter, and her twelve-year-old son, Buzz, were both diagnosed with attention deficit/​hyperactivity disorder, she found herself making such a hash of parenting that the two of them faced three alternatives: he’d go to boarding school; she’d go AWOL; or they’d make it their full-time job to work out their problems together. They decided to search for a solution while Ellison investigated what genuine relief, if any, might be found in the confusing array of goods sold by the modern mental health industry.

The number of diagnoses for childhood attention and behavior issues is exploding, leaving parents and educators on a confusing chase to find the best kind of help for each child. Buzz, a page-turner of a memoir, brings much relief. It is immensely engaging, laugh-out-loud funny, and honest—and packed with helpful insights.

"Riveting, beautifully written and totally credible."
-- Huffington Post

"Ellison is wickedly funny, and her writing is irreverent, mordant, and always compelling."
-- Literary Mama

"..an insightful, fast-paced, unexpectedly funny read."
-- PEOPLE Magazine, in a four-star review

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Autographed books are available from Book Passage

*Note: The new subtitle refers to the e-book, launched Oct. 18, 2011


The hilarious and heartrending account of one mother's journey to understand and reconnect with her high-spirited preteen son—a story bound to beguile parents grappling with their children’s bewildering behavior.

Popular literature is filled with the stories of self-sacrificing mothers bravely tending to their challenging children. Katherine Ellison, an award-winning veteran investigative reporter, offers a different sort of tale.

Both Ellison and her 12-year-old son, nicknamed Buzz, have been diagnosed with Attention-deficit/​Hyperactivity Disorder, making for such a tumultuous relationship that that the two ultimately faced three choices: he’d go to boarding school; she’d go to boarding school, or they’d make it a full-time project to work out their problems together. They embarked on the third option, while Katherine devoted her professional skills to investigating what genuine relief, if any, might be found in the confusing array of goods sold by our modern mental health industry.

In an era of an exploding number of diagnoses of childhood behavioral issues, Ellison offers a page-turner of a memoir that is immensely engaging, funny, and honest – and packed with helpful insights.

Topics for Book Clubs:

Katherine and her son, "Buzz"



More acclaim for "Buzz":


"...like drinking triple venti espressos."
-- LibraryJournal.com

"Combining a mother's ferocious love with an investigative
journalist's curiosity and rigor, Katherine Ellison holds a magnifying glass up to her young son, her family history, and perhaps most of
all, to herself. The questions she asks about attention are ones we can all benefit from exploring. This is a powerful story--raw, brave, honest, smart, and ultimately redemptive."

-- Dani Shapiro, author, Devotion

"“Long after reading this smart and tender memoir, I am still rooting for Buzz.”
--Kelly Corrigan
author, "The Middle Place."

"Many, many people will be grateful and relieved that journalist Katherine Ellison, an author blessed with pinpoint pitch and timing, had the courage, heart, humility, and downright heroic sense of humor to write this wise, insightful book. Prepare yourself to fall in love with the family in it -- and, quite likely, to understand your own a whole lot better."
-- Alan Weisman
author, "The World Without Us" and "An Echo in My Blood“

"…A book I couldn't put down, a story of love and persistence, as well as an easy-to-read source book on what to do if your child has ADD...BUZZ will teach, charm and bolster you."
-- Dr. Edward Hallowell, author of “Driven to Distraction.”

"Buzz is a must-read jolt of terrific storytelling and sharp analysis on one of the most important topics of our time: how to rekindle attention in a distracted age. Bravo! Whether we have ADHD or not, we should be diving into Buzz."
--Maggie Jackson, "Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age."

"Edgy...sensitive...irreverent...jaw-dropping...insightful... wonderful...are just a few of the many adjectives I would use to describe Katherine Ellison's monumental memoir. If you want to know what it's really like to be a parent on the front lines of dealing with impulsivity, inattention, and defiance -- from a gifted writer who recognizes fully the cross-generational patterns and heartbreak, as well as occasional triumph that mark each day -- make a beeline for "Buzz"!"
--Stephen P. Hinshaw, Professor and Chair -- Department of Psychology, UC Berkeley, and author of "The Triple Bind: Saving Our Teenage Girls from Today's Pressures."


"It's a lonely, confusing jungle out there for parents of behaviorally challenging kids. Behind every tree is another doctor, theory, or promising intervention. Katherine Ellison's journey through the jungle, in an effort to understand and help her challenging son, is bumpy, difficult, humorous, insightful, riveting, and real. If you're the parent of a challenging kid -- whether your journey through the jungle has just begun or you're already in the thick of it -- you gotta read this book!"

--Ross W. Greene
Harvard Medical School psychologist, and author, "The Explosive Child" and "Lost at School."


"Reading Buzz is like having a heart-to-heart talk with the funny mom of the ADHD kid next door. It feels good to learn, and even better to feel connected."

--ADDitude Magazine