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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

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Story

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kyle
  • Holly, Mi, United States
  • 05-24-13

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.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Casey Wagner
  • Breadalbane, Prince Edward Island, Canada
  • 10-17-11

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.

44 of 46 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tyree
  • San Francisco, CA, United States
  • 10-10-11

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.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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...

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Aram
  • Las Vegas, NV, United States
  • 08-08-10

The End

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

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Disappointed

What disappointed you about An Unquiet Mind?

Whole chunks of the book are missing. I bought the audiobook to help me stay concentrated as I read the actual book and it's not helping because I have to stop and figure out where its being read from. Whole paragraphs skipped. Very upsetting.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Alysia
  • butler, PA, USA
  • 02-11-10

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 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Powerful will to live with a mental illness.

I am extremely humbled by the author's story and journey through life while enduring the sufferings of Manic Depressive Illness. I found it incredibly inspiring to hear this through the voice of the author, knowing that reading in itself had at one point been a mentally painful struggle.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

In and of itself depressing but enlightening

It helps one to understand the nature of the illness and the havoc it can cause. Not a pretty picture but it leaves the reader with hope.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • lily
  • 05-16-16

Read if you are bipolar- you will understand

I listened to it all in one day and not one point did I stop listening.
It was incredibly insightful, and moving for someone with bipolar
I cried at the end!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-08-18

A wonderful account

As somebody who lives with bipolar I can say that this book has helped me immensely. Kay has a wonderful ability to articulate her experiences, thoughts and feelings, all of which resonate with my own. I only wish I could get all of my family, friends and colleagues to listen / read this book so as to better understand my illness.

I found the narration to be calming and very listenable.

Highly recommended.

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  • elizabeth mchugh
  • 07-05-18

Read This for your own sake.

Honest, brutal, beautiful, thought provoking bare faced reality. Thank you; It's not just me..ENLIGHTENED and HOPEFULLY.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • gavva
  • 05-10-18

very insightful

I found this an enlighteningly frank insight into the mind of someone living with manic depression

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Simona
  • 04-22-18

Extraordinary beyond any time

Perfectly captivates the beauty of suffering and the endless pain of feeling more than a human can ever handle on its own.
No matter what year it was written it still captures every single aspect of this mental illness and its struggles and what a true battle it is for all of us.
I'm eternally greatful for her ability to put it into words, into sentences that make sense about the madness that I was condemned to live in.
Made me feel less alone for that moment.

Thank You, Kay R. J.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Bee
  • 04-14-17

Feels churlish to say but...

Firstly this is a clear account of the effects of bi polar disorder but...
The delivery is flat and matter of fact and I didn't feel much of the emotion the writer must have experienced.

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  • Miss
  • 09-19-16

Raw and real

I obviously finished it, but am going to go back and listen to it again now. So much information and raw emotion on an incredibly sensitive topic. Thank you for making the way I feel less 'off the scale'.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-03-18

brilliant personal memoir for those that struggleq

a brilliant personal memoir for those that struggle to understand and contemplate their own personal struggles... this book is evidence that you are not alone

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-15-18

Rewarding and Insightful

Kay’s ability to find the words and accurately depict the highs and lows of manic depressive illness are a gift to all who have come into contact with the illness. I am glad that she found the courage and dignity to tell her personal story and it is a tremendous help to others - very few are brave enough to articulate the harsh realities and positives of the illness in such a truthful and well considered way. Well done Kay and thank you very much for your very large contribution!

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  • Angela Haynes
  • 12-27-17

By a psychiatrist who has lived manic depressive illness since her teens

Insightful, in particular as it covers Kay's life with manic depressive illness since her teens, along her path of becoming educated and on to how it has both impacted and benefitted her professional development as a clinical and research psychiatrist.

The three words that come to mind are reality, clarity and hope. I enjoyed this story very much.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-05-17

Amazingly good to hear

Some parts were struggle to hear, because the book is so amazinly good. Explains so good about the effects that bipolar disease can have on one's life.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • matthew
  • 10-28-15

A lot of repeated statements but over all a great

insight into the mind of someone with manic depression. listened to it all within 24 hours.