Mad, Bad, and Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors
“[A work of] wit, wisdom and richness. . . . A grand tour of derangement, from matricide to anorexia.” —John Leonard, Harper’s
This fascinating history of mind doctors and their patients probes the ways in which madness, badness, and sadness have been understood over the last two centuries. Lisa Appignanesi charts a story from the days when the mad were considered possess
The last 100, definitely last 50 pages, were interminable, scathing judgements by a writer who is clearly a sensationalist in journalism who I would hazard to say has little to no real life experience with mental illness. As a fellow human being, I'm glad for her-I wouldn't wish mental illness on my worst enemies. But as a perceived objective reporter, she has no busin ...more
I read Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation about a year ago and was hoping this would be the same type of book. I was looking for information on how the mental health profession has developed and the role women patients played in it.
This book might have gotten there, but I couldn't get my brain where it needed to be to really sit down with the material and read.
As the book progressed, I felt concerned that the 'mental health biographies' of modern figures were almost salacious: I felt this most strongly with the passages concerning Sylvia Plath and Marilyn Monroe. I also felt uncomfortable with some aspects of Appignanesi's conclusions (where modern medication and therapies do more to create ...more
Appignanesi’s account takes in obscure and well-known patients and their doctors. It both affirms c ...more
Sadly, there was just too much of a Textbook Effect at work for me to make through the final third. The sheer density of the material ultimately defeated me, and when I found myself skimming entire chapters ...more
The narrative goes on in a more-or-less chronological manner, starting from the late 18th century and traversing the main countries (Britain, France, Austria, USA) in which psychiatry started to evolve. It starts from the atrocious conditions in European asylums and Pinel's icon ...more
My selection for Psychology (non-fiction) was Mad, Bad & Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors, a book about the last two hundred years' worth of "extreme states of mind" in women. It chronicled the way women have been diagnosed over the years and evaluated the gradual shift in societal perspectives on these unusua ...more
Utterly engrossing and wonderfully thorough, at times it also reads like a horror story in places, highlighting the v ...more
Elżbieta Borensztejn was born on 4 January 1946 in Łódź, Poland, the daughter of Hena and Aaron Borensztejn with Jewish origin. Following her birth, her parents moved to Paris, France, and in 1951 they emigrating to Canada. She grew up in the province of Quebec - first in a small Laurentian town, subsequently in Montreal.
She graduated from McGill University with a B.A. degree in 19 ...more