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The Collected Schizophrenias

Essays
Narrated by: Esmé Weijun Wang
Length: 7 hrs and 51 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (403 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Powerful, affecting essays on mental illness, winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize and a Whiting Award

An intimate, moving book written with the immediacy and directness of one who still struggles with the effects of mental and chronic illness, The Collected Schizophrenias cuts right to the core. Schizophrenia is not a single unifying diagnosis, and Esmé Weijun Wang writes not just to her fellow members of the “collected schizophrenias” but to those who wish to understand it as well. Opening with the journey toward her diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, Wang discusses the medical community’s own disagreement about labels and procedures for diagnosing those with mental illness, and then follows an arc that examines the manifestations of schizophrenia in her life. In essays that range from using fashion to present as high-functioning to the depths of a rare form of psychosis, and from the failures of the higher education system and the dangers of institutionalization to the complexity of compounding factors such as PTSD and Lyme disease, Wang’s analytical eye, honed as a former lab researcher at Stanford, allows her to balance research with personal narrative. An essay collection of undeniable power, The Collected Schizophrenias dispels misconceptions and provides insight into a condition long misunderstood.

©2019 Esmé Weijun Wang (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

“Wang invariably describes her [bipolar-type schizoaffective disorder] symptoms and experiences with remarkable candor and clarity, as when she narrates a soul-crushing stay in a Louisiana mental hospital and the alarming onset of a delusion in which ‘the thought settles over me, fine and gray as soot, that I am dead.’ She also tackles societal biases and misconceptions about mental health issues, criticizing involuntary commitment laws as cruel. Throughout these essays, Wang trains a dispassionate eye onto her personal narrative, creating a clinical remove that allows for the neurotypical reader’s greater comprehension of a thorny and oft-misunderstood topic.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Open, honest, and well written

Having also been diagnosed with the same disorder as the author, I can attest to the truths to be found in this book. For those who are unfamiliar with schizoaffective disorder, I would think that this book can be eye opening.

30 of 31 people found this review helpful

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Great Overview of Mental Health

The speaker spoke slowly for me, so I sped it up 1.30x. I enjoyed hearing her collection of stories dealing with this illness. I especially felt bad for her husband, but then appreciated that he stuck by her through everything. I had read The Center does not Hold by Elyn Saks. Comparing the two, this was not as in depth, but rather a light run through of Esme's life. Reading both of these books has made me more aware that yes, these people are human and no, they are not "dead to the world" once diagnosed. They can go on to do great things with the right treatment, medication and care. I truly enjoyed this book.

40 of 43 people found this review helpful

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Makes you think

Living with a loved one with collected Schizophrenia’s. It was good to get an inside look at the thought process from her perspective. Made me thought about it differently.
Would recommend.
Thanks

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

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Amazing!

The author does an amazing job of chronically her own story of life within "The Schizophrenia" while also bringing in issues of modern day treatment of people with mental health concerns.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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Thoughtful essays regarding a complex condition

I really enjoyed the well written and excellent narration by the author. She communicates with personal expertise. She brings into focus both the "checklist-like" items that might be associated by the public with the schizophrenias but also, and much more importantly, the personal and human elements of an individial with a chronic adult condition. The later are so personal and unique that it leaves a gapping canyon that most people never glimpse and have little hope of understanding in this world of technical truth. However this author bravely creates a path to a place that very few can ever feel.

21 of 23 people found this review helpful

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Insight through her experience

This is a generous, honest sharing of personal experience Esme Wang has had as a neuro-atypical person. She expertly weaves her story with findings of experts, history, and information about mental health/illness. This is a must-read for those curious about diagnoses and managing them, and how the way doctors treat patients evolve as new information becomes available and is or is not validated.

19 of 21 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Diane
  • United States
  • 04-27-19

Narration way too slow

This book, as described by the title, is a series of essays, not a memoir. Some essays are more personal than others; they're the more interesting bits. The biggest problem for me, however, was that the the narration is painfully slow. (See pages versus time ratio compared to other books.) I listened though chapter 9 on double speed, which isn't ideal due to sound distortion, but finally gave up because the story isn't compelling enough to continue under such circumstances.

52 of 59 people found this review helpful

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Loved it!

Brilliant and personal essays that made me feel less alone. My friend recommended this book, and now I can recommend it to you! A balanced mix of intellectual essays and personal insights on the art of living.

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

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enjoyed

Personal and vulnerable, easy listen to. I would recommend this book for sure-have a go!

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

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Beautifully Written

Intelligent, thoughtful and insightful stories. I especially enjoyed listening to the author on Audible. Very helpful in understanding the schizophrenias.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful