This is a courageous, astounding and absolutely necessary firsthand account of the terror and social stigma associated with having a brain disorder, specifically Schizophrenia. It sheds much needed light on the common misconceptions and discrimination that still exist today within the mental health profession and the general public.
MY DISAPPOINTMENT WITH THIS BOOK IS IN THE NARRATION, NOT THE WRITING ITSELF- I highly recommend the physical version vs. audio, as the narrator speaks with a dry, sticky mouth that showcases the sound of her breathing and swallowing throughout- It gives the feeling of having someone stand too close while chewing loudly in your ear. (I would imagine this is NOT the way Mrs.Saks intended the book to be enjoyed.)
Nevertheless, I believe this is a book that should be read by everyone, not just those who live with such a disorder but anyone who would like to be a better and more compassionate person with the ability to see their community more fully- diverse, complex and without labels.
I first heard about Elyn Saks in a news story. Then after googling her I found a TED talk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6CILJA110Y
As a psychiatry resident I have been trying to improve my empathy and reduce any countertransference so that I might connect more with those patients I care for. I loved this book, as it has helped me immeasurably towards those goals. I loved how real she was in this book about her life, about some of her most personal and controversial details. I really think this book gives me hope to spread to my patients with schizophrenia. This book also talks in a persuasive way against the use of restraints. In my generation, they are no longer used to the extent she detailed in her experience. I believe that her work as a lawyer and academic has possibly changed that standard. This book also made me realize that connection, seeking to understand, even with someone in the midst of psychosis or between psychotic events is a pivotal part of the healing process. I appreciate her critique on psychiatry and will be recommending this book to medical students, residents and attendings I interact with!
This a great book to familiarize yourself with Mental Illness. There are people that are crazy in our society but they do not include the mentally ill. Mentally Ill people have a biological problem not of their choosing, but crazy people are those without any excuse but choose to behave very badly. Many of societies leaders fall into this category. Elyn Saks is a wonderful person who has persisted against tremendous adversity to fullfill her dreams. She is one of my heroes. Read this book to get to know one of America's true heroes, it is worth the time and money spent. .
An excellent book that all mental health professionals who work with the severely mentally ill should read or better yet listen to. The narration which is exceptional brought the story to a higher level of realism , which made a great book, exceptional !! Not only is this book informative , it's is also entrancing & highly compelling . Her autobiography is very inspirational not only for the mentally ill & those that work with the mentally but to all individuals who struggle to find meaning in their lives .
Saks permits entry into her world through her detailed narrative and deeply insightful reflection. This book allowed me to gain a new understanding and awareness of schizophrenia. Thank you!
Thank you for sharing your story and struggles. I hope this memoir has only provided positive outcomes for you, people in your life, and other readers/listeners.
I am lucky enough to have avoided mental illness in my life lottery, which means that I hadn't given it much thought. A cousin has schizophrenia, and so I decided to listen to the book. Professor Saks has accomplished so much more academically than most living people, but all of that is secondary to the phenomenal perseverance and grace she has shown on her journey.
Moreover, her writing is evocative. Never having suffered a psychotic break, I figured it would be indescribable somehow. But she describes it in a way that puts you right there with her.
And she is funny! Her humor is dry, understated. But there are little quips throughout the book that made me want to be her friend (it all does, of course, but I am drawn to her humor).
The performance is very good. The reader gives life to Prof. Saks' words and does an admirable job with various accents as well.
This is an immensely motivating book. It is, of course, not a motivational book. But the story is inspiring. I couldn't put it down!
An honest book about the realities of living with a serious mental illness. This book offers understanding to those who have a loved one who is mentally ill, it impresses those who work with the mentally ill to show compassion and respect, and to those who themselves have a serious mental illness, it offers hope that a fulfilling life is still possible. A wonderful read. I highly recommend it.