We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
The Center Cannot Hold Audiobook

The Center Cannot Hold

Regular Price:$24.99
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

Professor of psychiatry Elyn R. Saks writes about her struggle with schizophrenia in this unflinching account of her mental illness. In The Center Cannot Hold, Saks draws readers into a nightmare world of medications, a misguided health-care system, and social stigmas. But she would not be defeated. With a strength and force of will that most can only imagine, Saks reclaimed her life and went on to achieve great success.

©2007 Elyn R. Saks; (P)2007 Recorded Books, LLC

What the Critics Say

"In this engrossing memoir, Saks...demonstrates a novelist's skill of creating character, dialogue, and suspense." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (427 )
5 star
 (260)
4 star
 (109)
3 star
 (45)
2 star
 (8)
1 star
 (5)
Overall
4.6 (273 )
5 star
 (201)
4 star
 (41)
3 star
 (25)
2 star
 (5)
1 star
 (1)
Story
4.4 (266 )
5 star
 (165)
4 star
 (62)
3 star
 (28)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
 (7)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Pamela Harvey The Coast of Rhode Island 07-23-09
    Pamela Harvey The Coast of Rhode Island 07-23-09 Member Since 2016

    glam

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5220
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    485
    312
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3985
    0
    Overall
    "Schizophrenia Inside Out"

    This amazing memoir is an insider's fly-on-the-wall look at what it means to suffer from an alienating and incurable, progressive mental illness. Granted, the protagonist has access to plenty of resources, and thus is a very high-functioning individual with plenty of status and privilege. Not many schizophrenics are as lucky. Still, she somehow remains on her feet, white-knuckling it throughout all her breakdowns and especially through the wall of denial that so often accompanies this disease.

    The book makes a highly cogent case for seeking and maintaining medication as well as talk therapy in order to carry on a productive independent life.

    I read this book twice!

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 04-24-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    25
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    298
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "A Memoir of Schizophrenia"

    Schizophrenics are supposed to live in a world of their own, unable to function in society or to be understood. Not only does the author overcome her handicap and become a successful law professor, she reveals the inner workings of her mind and the demons that haunted her. Most likely this memoir was only made possible by reason of the enhanced drugs now used to control this horrible malady. In any event, I found the book fascinating from beginning to end.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    George 05-03-09
    George 05-03-09 Listener Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    157
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "The Center Cannot Hold"

    As a mental health professional, I really appreciate the authors depth of knowledge and ability to communicate insights beyond the research and clinical references.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pauline Edmonton, AB, Canada 10-21-11
    Pauline Edmonton, AB, Canada 10-21-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Strength, courage & hope"

    The author is a brilliant scholar who has schizophrenia. This account of her life gives an appreciation of how difficult it is to live with this illness, yet also an understanding that it is a mistake to underestimate what a person with this illness might accomplish. Also, I was left thinking that doctors do not always know what is best. Or even moderately good. I was unaware of the huge differences in the treatment of the mentally ill between Britain and the United States. The use of force and involuntary treatment are much more common in the US. Thank you Elyn for fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves, and for sharing your story with us!

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Brady, LCSW Palo Alto, CA United States 10-12-09
    Susan Brady, LCSW Palo Alto, CA United States 10-12-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    25
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    111
    13
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    0
    Overall
    "Incredible"

    One of the best books I've read on mental illness. This woman is remarkable and has preformed a great service by articulating so well what happens internally, as well as how horribly our hospitals do in helping people.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeanne 06-23-10
    Jeanne 06-23-10 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    38
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Informative"

    I felt the narrative rambled in places, but on the whole, the book provides helpful insight into the mind of a paranoid schizophrenic. I recommend it for anyone who lives or works with a schizophrenic.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kristententen 08-05-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    23
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Enlightening, touching, personal."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I decided to explore this book after hearing Elyn Saks' TED talk. If you're curious about some of the content of this book, I recommend looking it up. She is a fascinating woman; fiercely intelligent, strong, and resilient. This book provides a small glimpse into the life of one person working through mental illness. She has no qualms about wishing she didn't have schizophrenia in her life, but still shows how she met the challenge it presented her.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    The narrator was fine, but there were quite a few editing issues that affected the quality of narration. Abrupt cutting together of paragraphs, oddly long pauses, and even microphone jostling. It wasn't enough to make it unbearable to listen, but it did challenge me at times. At certain points the narrator would stumble slightly over a sentence and this was not edited or resolved. It could have been done much better, but her general style was tolerable.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    While this book was incredibly interesting, it was often very heavy and dark. When Elyn writes about her times of deep psychosis, I found myself needing to take many breaks. She doesn't hold back on the reality of her illness, which is very appreciated and valuable, but still makes it hard to work straight through this book.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul HARRISBURG, PA, United States 03-21-09
    Paul HARRISBURG, PA, United States 03-21-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    69
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    286
    29
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    0
    Overall
    "Fascinating"

    I found this book to be fascinating and I am so glad she wrote it. This is the memoir of a very bright paranoid schizophrenic who manages to succeed in spite of a devastating illness. Being in the health care field I found it especially educational and I do appreciate the author's insights into her illness. The narrator was perfect for the book-- clear, slow and measured.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    AudreyLM Brookline, VT 09-15-08
    AudreyLM Brookline, VT 09-15-08 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Narration was terrible!"

    I am distracted from the very fine book by the shaky, unsure, weirdly paced narration. I was hoping to wait it out (everybody has a bad day I guess) but it was persistent. Appalling. I have never written a negative review before but this audio download was expensive and was really ruined for me by the narration.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    serine 03-21-16
    serine 03-21-16 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    436
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    337
    165
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    29
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Don't miss out on this one!"

    Excellent story of Saks' struggle in dealing with schizophrenia while trying to remain in the world, in a real and respected way. This book is an incredibly important tool for helping society understand how our evolving understanding and treatment of the mentally ill affects people who have various issues. Thanks to books like this one and others such as Suspicious Minds by Joel Gold and Ian Gold, the 'us/them" barrier is slowly coming down.

    I am extremely happy to have had the experience of peeking into the life of an academic and professional person continued to search for affective ways to manage her issues. I loved to see how each milestone-- degree, job, relationship, etc -- was reached and what obstacles stood in her way. Such a brave narrative. I am thankful for the people in her life who treated her with dignity and understanding. I am thankful she shared her story. I am thankful to have a deeper understanding of what life is like for people who experience schizophrenic symptoms.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.