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An Unquiet Mind | [Kay Redfield Jamison]

An Unquiet Mind

The personal memoir of a manic depressive and an authority on the subject describes the onset of the illness during her teenage years and her determined journey through the realm of available treatments.
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Publisher's Summary

The personal memoir of a manic depressive and an authority on the subject describes the onset of the illness during her teenage years and her determined journey through the realm of available treatments.

©1995 Kay Redfield Jamison; (P)2010 Random House

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (178 )
5 star
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4.1 (120 )
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3.9 (119 )
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Performance
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  •  
    02-03-10
    02-03-10 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Loved this book"

    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.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aram Las Vegas, NV, United States 08-08-10
    Aram Las Vegas, NV, United States 08-08-10
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    "The End"

    The end was truly beautiful. Every single word in this book reminds me of my own struggle with manic depressive illness.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike Breadalbane, Prince Edward Island, Canada 10-17-11
    Mike Breadalbane, Prince Edward Island, Canada 10-17-11
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    "It Says Unabridged. That is incorrect."

    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.

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tyree San Francisco, CA, United States 10-10-11
    Tyree San Francisco, CA, United States 10-10-11
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    "She co-wrote the "bible" on bipolar disorder"

    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.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alysia butler, PA, USA 02-11-10
    Alysia butler, PA, USA 02-11-10
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    "Good book considering topic"

    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.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kyle Holly, Mi, United States 05-24-13
    Kyle Holly, Mi, United States 05-24-13 Member Since 2013

    Say something about yourself!

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    "Heavily Abridged!!!"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    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.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary Washington, DC, United States 05-31-10
    Gary Washington, DC, United States 05-31-10 Member Since 2008
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    "Interesting story"

    Tough subject but an interesting story. Not for everyone though. Likely best for those whose interest run in this area.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Pendry 07-20-14
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    "Audiobook deliberately skips many segments"
    What would have made An Unquiet Mind better?

    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...


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deborah Bend, OR, United States 01-09-12
    Deborah Bend, OR, United States 01-09-12 Member Since 2004
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    "Understanding bipolar disorder"
    What did you love best about The Unquiet Mind?

    The author did a great job describing why so many with bipolar disorder struggle taking the prescribed medications.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Unquiet Mind?

    The author's stories of how she revealed her disorder to the men in her life, her employer, and the world.


    Did Kay Redfield Jamison do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    This story was about Kay Redfield Jamison. There were not any other characters in the book.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Michigan, USA 01-31-14
    Jennifer Michigan, USA 01-31-14 Member Since 2011

    You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend. ~Paul Sweeney

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not bad, just not for me"
    What disappointed you about An Unquiet Mind?

    I would not say that I was disappointed by the book, but only that I was left unsatisfied.


    What could Kay Redfield Jamison have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    The words were filled with joy, sadness and excitement at times, but the narration was not. I would have liked to hear more feeling.


    What three words best describe Kay Redfield Jamison’s performance?

    She read the words. (okay that was four, but you get the point)


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Yes! It was very informative. It was delivered in a very smart, but clinical way. It was opening to something that some of us have only seen protrayed in television shows. I think that there was a lot of good, if you had an interest. I just did not enjoy the delivery.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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