©1995 Kay Redfield Jamison; (P)2010 Random House
"From Kay Redfield Jamison - an international authority on manic-depressive illness, and one of the few women who are full professors of medicine at American Universities - a remarkable personal testimony: the revelation of her own struggle since adolescence with manic depression, and how it shaped her life. With vivid prose and wit, she takes us into the fascinating and dangerous territory of this form of madness - a world in which one pole can be the alluring dark land ruled by what Byron called the 'melancholy star of the imagination,' and the other a desert of depression and, all too frequently, death." (Amazon.com review)
Richly written description of the very difficult life lead by a suffering manic-depressive. I highly recommend this book. Its not just a study on the illness, you get this great insight from a brilliant woman and its a riveting story of her life.
I downloaded this title today, so I'd have a copy when I return the borrowed paper book version I have. It quickly became apparent that there are parts missing, so I began reading along and this is certainly *not* the Unabridged version.
On a single page several paragraphs were chopped in half. The book, which has four parts, has been whittled down to three. Someone, somewhere, has a very loose definition of unabridged.
Still, I'm enjoying what I hear. I just wonder what I'm going to miss from the continuation of the audiobook.
The first book I read by Jamison was "Manic Depressive Illness: Bipolar Disorders and Recurrent Depression" that she wrote with Frederick Goodwin. 1262 pages. Although huge and technical, it is surprisingly readable. (I skipped all the parts comparing the drawbacks of different studies) It's the bible of bipolar disorder.
So this book was quite a change, a short and very personal book. I'm glad I heard it aloud and I'm glad she read it herself. I disagree with the people who found her voice dull and unemotional. That's what therapists sound like. If you listen carefully, you can hear the tiniest cracks in her voice when she talks about the losses in her life. Not unemotional. Dignified and subtle and heartbreaking.
One thing she says in the book that might interest Audible listeners is that she lost her ability to read when she was on a high dose of lithium. She'd read a paragraph, have no idea what it said, then have to read it again. And again. She had to have her boyfriend read aloud to her. Lowering her dose apparently helped improve her reading, enough to read and distill shelves full of difficult technical articles into "only" 1262 pages. A heroic accomplishment.
Most bipolars I've talked to say they have problems reading books - they can handle articles. They're not all on lithium, and those that are are not on high doses. I think it's a consequence of the disorder. Thank goodness we have Audible for popular books. I'd love it if Audible would offer her magnum opus, but it's an absurdly huge technical book with a limited audience. Maybe Amazon will loosen up on its "read out loud" feature so it's available not just on physical Kindles but on phones, pcs and macs.
To say nothing of the outstanding work and writing style of Dr. Jamison, this is a piss poor audiobook. I happened to have my paperback version (bought the book to stick notes in for a class I am in) on me when I was listening to the final parts, and I decided to try and follow along with her narration. I was shocked and disappointed to find that the narration skipped over parts of the book, sometimes mere sentences, other times multiple paragraphs of material. Upon further analysis, the parts skipped were typically detailed descriptions or otherwise not all that "necessary" information...but this shouldn't be something left up to audible to decide- why aren't they letting the listener hear the ENTIRE book? I feel seriously shortchanged by this, and I wonder how often they do it with the other books on this suddenly suspect website...
I give her a lot of credit for writing about herself. This book has potential to help a lot of people. Her voice is mundane, howerver.
Say something about yourself!
This book is five stars, but the audiobook is roughly half of the paper book. Well done, read by Jamison herself, but leaves out a lot of what makes the book great. You still get the core of the story, and it makes sense, but you loose all the little details and other pieces that make this a wonderful story.
Tough subject but an interesting story. Not for everyone though. Likely best for those whose interest run in this area.
The author did a great job describing why so many with bipolar disorder struggle taking the prescribed medications.
The author's stories of how she revealed her disorder to the men in her life, her employer, and the world.
This story was about Kay Redfield Jamison. There were not any other characters in the book.
Although the event had little to do with bipolar disorder, the moment in the book that moved me was when her partner, David, died unexpectedly.
This is a particularly good book to read if you or any of your loved ones are taking lithium for treatment of bipolar disorder. The author does a good job of talking about the pros and cons of treatment, and the benefit of treatment in spite of losing her hypomanic moments. She also does a good job discussing the pros and cons of parenting with bipolar disorder.
The author and reader are Kay Jamison. She is a PhD physiologist and clinical practitioner who has studied and lived with manic depressive disorder for over 30 year. The work is elegant and poignant as well as deeply personal and insightful. It is beautiful and recommended for anyone suffering from or living with someone with the disorder.
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