Susannah Cahalan Investigates the “Pretenders” of a Groundbreaking Psychiatric Study

Book review: The Great Pretender, by Susannah Cahalan (Amazon / Book Depository) The Great Pretender, Susannah Cahalan's first book since Brain on Fire, her 2012 memoir of a rare, difficult-to-diagnose autoimmune disorder, investigates an infamous and groundbreaking 1973 study carried out by psychiatrist David Rosenhan. Rosenhan sent a group of eight healthy "pseudopatients" into mental institutions... Continue Reading →

A Brave, Heartbreaking Look at a Life with Mental Illness

Book review: I'm Telling the Truth but I'm Lying, by Bassey Ikpi (Amazon / Book Depository) It's difficult to distinguish which lies from my childhood are my own and which belong to my family. Which lies I told myself to close the gaps in my brain and which were told to me to silence my... Continue Reading →

Investigating the Extreme of Psychopathy

Book review: The Psychopath Test, by Jon Ronson (Amazon / Book Depository) Journalist Jon Ronson's "journey through the madness industry" begins with a stressful situation in parallel with a mystery dropped in his lap: First, he's tapped to use his journalistic prowess to trace a book that's been sent to prominent academics around the world... Continue Reading →

Taming Agoraphobia, and One’s Twenties

Book review: Agorafabulous! by Sara Benincasa (Amazon / Book Depository) This day was different. This day I woke up, stared at the ceiling, and was gripped by the certain knowledge that, if I left the apartment, something terrible would happen. I did not know what the terrible event was, only that it would occur, and with a fury.... Continue Reading →

Frank Stories of Schizophrenia

Book review: A Kind of Mirraculas Paradise, by Sandra Allen (Amazon / Book Depository) All those fuckers...all of them with their clicking pens and quiet judgment, all of them did not get it. There was something in the sky. This was the best moment of Bob's life so far. This was when he realized that,... Continue Reading →

A Surrealist Writes Her Madness

Book review: Down Below, by Leonora Carrington A strange, surreal account of painter, sculptor and writer Leonora Carrington's 1943 stay in a Spanish mental institution after descending into mental illness. An English transplant to France where the Surrealist movement had found fertile ground, Carrington wrote this short book, actually more like an extended essay, as a... Continue Reading →

Being Okay with Being Unhappy

Book review: This Close to Happy, by Daphne Merkin Writer and literary critic Daphne Merkin, a former staff writer for the New Yorker, has suffered lifelong depression. She's been trying to write a memoir about her illness and attempts to cure, or at least contain, it for more than a decade. It was finally published in February.... Continue Reading →

Nerves and the Nervous

Book review: Hi, Anxiety: Life with a Bad Case of Nerves, by Kat Kinsman (Amazon / Book Depository) Food writer and former CNN writer/editor Kat Kinsman writes a baring, unflinching memoir of her lifelong experiences living with anxiety. I started reading it and had to stop and take a break, because even confronting the subject made me... Continue Reading →

“Insanity is a strange, peculiar thing.”

Book review: Not Just Evil: Murder, Hollywood, and California's First Insanity Plea by David Wilson (Amazon / Book Depository) Shortly before Christmas in 1927, a twelve-year-old girl was kidnapped from her school in Los Angeles. After a ransom was arranged with her father, Marion Parker's horrifically mutilated body was returned. Her killer, a young man named William... Continue Reading →

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