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Life Inside: A Memoir

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  454 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
The patient is an ascetically pretty 15-year-old white female. She is intelligent, fearful, extremely anxious, and depressed. Her rage is poorly controlled and inappropriately expressed.
Diagnostic Impression: Program for social recovery in a supportive and structured environment appears favorable.
Life Inside
In 1967, three months before her sixteenth birthday, Mindy Lewi
Paperback, 368 pages
Published November 4th 2003 by Washington Square Press (first published January 1st 2002)
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Mindy Lewis
Nov 18, 2010 Mindy Lewis rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I'm the author, so I can't review it, except to say that aside from being my story, it's also the story of an era in psychiatry and a cautionary tale about misdiagnosis, as well as an exploration of adolescence. Writing this book changed my life, and I will never write another like it. Thank you for reading and reviewing it.
Rachel Karyo
Jun 11, 2012 Rachel Karyo rated it it was amazing
Once I started reading Life Inside, I could not put it down. The vivid, intimate writing transported me completely.

Mindy Lewis' memoir paints a clear picture of everyday life on the fifth-floor ward of the NY State Psychiatric Institute at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital. Life Inside also dramatizes a sensitive teenage girl's coming of age during the turbulent 1960s. The second half of the memoir, "Life After," discusses the particular challenges of adjusting to life outside, after twenty-eight m
Denise MacDonald
Jul 15, 2013 Denise MacDonald rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone in the helping profession
Wow! What a book! Obviously this is a memoir. Mindy spent years of her adolescent life on a locked psychiatric ward, admitted because she was rebellious and uncontrollable (as reported by her mother). The rest of her life is affected by the experiences she has while on that ward. She tells her memories along with providing excerpts from her medical files.

She speaks of misdiagnosis, overly medicated patients, shock treatments, disassociated staff members and the overwhelming need to just be acce
Chris Blocker
I had many mixed feelings about this book. I'm not much of a reader of "memoirs"; personally, I don't see the point to them. What is a memoir but an autobiography of a person no one knows? And it seems to me that if no one already knows your life story, then there is power in turning your life experiences into "fiction." The few memoirs I've read have had their highlights, but I've always been able to identify a fictional story of the same subject that resonated so much more with me.

Here is a me
Bird Trungma
May 17, 2013 Bird Trungma rated it it was amazing

In reading Mindy’s book, I wanted to shout out loud, “Yes! Yes! That is exactly how it was!” so many times, since I was also locked away on a mental ward and mislabeled a “chronic undifferentiated schizophrenic.” Her skill in telling her story and my story and the story of so many other young people who went through the experience of being locked up and drugged and brainwashed with self-doubt, and then fought through the even much tougher experience of building some sort of a sane, decent life a
May 23, 2011 Ally rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone with any type of mental illness
I first picked up this book because I am interested in mental illness in general and asylums in particular. I got more than I was expecting. The book is reasonably well-written for someone who is admittedly more of a visual artist than a writer. The first part of the book is actually about her time in a mental institution as a teenager in the late sixties. After that, however, she continues with an account of her life after she left, and this takes up most of the book. At first I found this part ...more
Beverly Steinhardt
This book starts out well but quickly degenerates into tales of smuggling drugs and alcohol into the psych ward and sordid details of adolescent sexual exploration
Feb 04, 2016 Daniel rated it really liked it
emotionally effecting. stays with you.
Oct 12, 2008 holly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this's not for everyone.......Mindy Lewis was committed to a psychiatric institute in the late 60's 'simply' because she was being rebellious and got involved in drugs. It's interesting to read about her experience, along with many of the close friends she made. One wonders how differently they would have been treated in current times, and how their lives may have ended up differently - perhaps better, perhaps worse.
Lori Anderson
Excruciating to read. Had to set it aside for a while to stop my own tail spin.
Sarah Brannon
Mar 18, 2012 Sarah Brannon rated it liked it
I love true stories and this one is an up-close look at life in a mental institution in the days where putting unruly kids in said facility was a common solution to "dealing with the problem." It does drag quite a bit, but I usually don't count off too much for that when reviewing an autobiographical account.
Nov 02, 2013 Liz rated it liked it
I'm a little thrown off while reading this book, but am unable to gether my thoughts as to WHY. One thing that struck me was in the beginning she stated she was here (hospitalized) by mistake, an act gone too far. Is it in the hospital that Mindy truly loses herself, sanity? I'm unsure.
Jun 18, 2013 Marissa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psych, best-of

A lot of people complain about the second half of the book but its as important as the first part. It may not had been as interesting but you found put her true nature.

I love this book. If you're interested in psychology this is a must read.
Lisa Rau
Dec 28, 2010 Lisa Rau rated it it was amazing
I followed Mindy Lewis through my own cloudy teenage path and emerged with a more artistic appreciation for the stumbles and regrets we make as dumb teenagers. I have since then read this book just shy of a dozen times.
Jan Byrne
Jan 15, 2015 Jan Byrne added it
Shelves: own
hard to believe that's what they did with "unruly" kids vack then... sad. tough to read
Trista Carter
I loved this book. It is one that has an honored place on my bedside table. Her story hit home in such a personal way that I can't help but go back to it again and again.
Emily Evangi
Oct 06, 2012 Emily Evangi rated it really liked it
Once I began this book, I didnt want to put it down. Not only does it give you a look inside history, but as well as an inside look to a hospital through the eyes of a patient
Dec 24, 2012 Ava rated it it was ok
I wanted to give this more stars because I really did enjoy the first half, but toward the end I definitely lost interest/stopped really caring.
Aug 18, 2012 Carrie rated it really liked it
Well written and so sad that someone had to live through early psychiatry practices.
Katherine Messina
Jul 30, 2013 Katherine Messina rated it liked it
Full of insight into her situation. Informative RE: mental hospitals in the 1960's.
Andrea Forro
Apr 10, 2014 Andrea Forro rated it it was amazing
Very well written, brings you right into the thick of things.
Sep 13, 2008 Stephanie rated it really liked it
Shelves: what-i-have-read
Amazing that she got thru it and came out the other side.
Aug 24, 2013 Chamie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
Great insight into the world of mental illness.
Aug 15, 2015 Lisa marked it as to-read
Shelves: psych
not at HCPL
Word marked it as to-read
May 28, 2016
Nicole Gauss
Nicole Gauss marked it as to-read
May 27, 2016
Lindsey marked it as to-read
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May 24, 2016
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Dawn Irena marked it as to-read
May 23, 2016
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Mindy Lewis is the author of Life Inside: A Memoir (Washington Square Press 2003) and editor of DIRT: The Quirks, Habits, and Passions of Keeping House (Seal Press, Spring 2009). Her essays have been published in Newsweek, Lilith, Body & Soul, and Poets & Writers magazines. She teaches at The Writer's Voice and at Brooklyn College."
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