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Tripp Friedler

The Tunnel begins with author Tripp Friedler receiving a distressing call from his son, Henry, who is on the verge of jumping off a bridge. This launches a desperate chase across the U.S. as Tripp and his wife, Heidi, strive to get Henry the treatment he resists. As Henry's condition worsens, the book exposes the flaws in society's handling of mental illness. The Tunnel is a gripping story of a family's struggle to stay together amid overwhelming challenges.

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Book Summary

The Tunnel opens in New Orleans on a March evening when author Tripp Friedler takes a call from his 21-year-old son, Henry, who is midspan on the Mississippi River Bridge and too scared to jump.

What follows is an elaborate game of chase across the United States as Tripp and his wife, Heidi, spare no expense to get Henry the treatment he requires but resists. From New Orleans to Seattle, from Massachusetts to San Diego, Tripp and Heidi criss-cross the country depositing and rescuing Henry from the shrinking number of facilities willing to accept him.

The Tunnel advances from one unforgettable scene to the next as Tripp and Heidi watch their son, Henry, go from being a nuisance to an undesirable to an untouchable. His depression deepens to bipolar disorder with psychotic breaks. You'll hold your breath every paragraph, waiting for what happens next.

Throughout the wild journey, Tripp Friedler exposes the flaws in the social fabric when it comes to dealing with mental illness. He fumes at the educational system, rages at the legal system, is shocked by the medical system and wonders what people without means do when faced with this wall of indifference.\

At the heart of The Tunnel is the triangle of Henry, Heidi and Tripp, surrounded by the larger family, siblings Patti and Kate, aunts and uncles, grandparents, cousins, inlaws, coworkers and friends, all of whom try to help Henry, along with therapists, clinics and counselors. The Tunnel is a book about what holds a family together and what tears a family apart. It's a journey you'll never forget.

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Advanced Praise for The Tunnel

Walter Isaacson
Bestselling biographer of Steve Jobs, Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein and Elon Musk.
"This beautifully written book is a powerful and moving story of a family's struggle with mental illness and the turmoil and love that were involved. It's a necessary book that can help us all to better understand mental illness and how to deal with challenges and grief."
Kirkus Reviews
Review of The Tunnel
"Friedler recounts his son’s painful journey through severe depression and explores the lasting effect his life had on them all...A haunting memoir that captures the raw pain of losing a child and the hope that can eventually come after." READ FULL REVIEW
Jed Horne
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of Desire Street and Breach of Faith
“As diagnostic terms go, “mental illness” can be too tidy, too gentle. Full-blown psychosis deals a savage blow — perhaps especially to a privileged family expecting the very best from life. Tripp Friedler’s book is an act of courage. He somehow found it in himself to lucidly detail a beloved and promising son’s descent into catastrophe. Anyone whose life has been touched in this way will admire The Tunnel and learn from it.”
Andrew Sperling
Former Director of Legislative Advocacy, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
“A moving and remarkable account of a how mental illness impacts the entire family.  While the Friedler family’s experience is not uncommon, their story is told in a way grips the reader and provides unique insights into what families have to go through as they watch their young adult child descend into psychosis, struggle to get the correct diagnosis and engage with a mostly dysfunctional treatment system.  This is a must read for any family dealing with the mental illness of a loved one.”
Midwest Book Review
"The Tunnel is a beacon of hope, reminding us that even in our darkest moments, there is always a glimmer of light waiting at the end of the tunnel. It's a story of raw emotion, one that will touch the heart."
Stéphane Gerson
Author of Disaster Falls: A Family Story
“The Tunnel is many things at once: a devastating account of bipolar disorder in a young man’s life, an honest reckoning with the limitations of parental care, and an urgent call for deeper empathy in our educational, policing, and carceral institutions. This book will stay with me.”
Randy Fertel
Author Winging It: Improv's Power and Peril in the Time of Trump, The Gorilla Man and the Empress of Steak: A New Orleans Family Memoir
“Run to your nearest bookstore and get this gripping account of a family who displays amazing grace under pressure. And pray you are never tested as they were.”

About Tripp

Tripp Friedler is a seasoned adventurer and problem-solver with a diverse career spanning law, finance, and the arts. He holds degrees from Philips Exeter Academy, Amherst College, and Tulane University Law School, and has multiple certifications, including CLU, ChFC, and AEP.

After starting in law, Tripp transitioned to the insurance industry, advising high-net-worth individuals and managing hedge funds. He also managed a top restaurant, produced records, and co-founded the Young Leadership Council. His community involvement includes leadership roles in various organizations.