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Nothing Was the Same Nothing Was the Same
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Nothing Was the Same Nothing Was the Same

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  788 ratings  ·  113 reviews
Kay Redfield Jamison, award-winning professor and writer, changed the way we think about moods and madness. Now Jamison uses her characteristic honesty, wit and eloquence to look back at her relationship with her husband, Richard Wyatt, a renowned scientist who died of cancer. "Nothing was the Same" is a penetrating psychological study of grief viewed from deep inside the ...more
eBook, 224 pages
Published September 15th 2009 by Knopf Publishing Group (first published January 1st 2009)
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Lightreads
Jamison is on my radar as a prominent person with a disability, though she has never explicitly articulated a disabled identity. Her An Unquiet Mind is a hugely important book, politically speaking, and I salute her for outing herself as someone with severe bipolar, and effectively painting a target on her back for religious nutjobs and many of her ablest asshole colleagues in the medical profession. I mean, what the hell do I know about being targeted in wank, compared to that?

This book, though
...more
Rick
Jamison is the author of An Unquiet Mind, her superb memoir about her bipolar illness (a public secret even as she became one of the world’s leading experts on manic depression, literally co-authoring the textbook the medical profession trains on). Nothing Was the Same is the story of her husband’s, also an influential doctor and scientist, illness and death and Jamison’s experience with the overwhelming grief that comes with such a loss. It’s a profoundly personal book but also one that provide ...more
David
I feel terrible saying I didn't like the book much. It's a sad story of her husband's (a very well known schizophrenia researcher) death from cancer and her experience of bereavement, and I have a lot of respect for the author, whose research on bipolar disorder and advocacy for patients suffering from it (of whom she is one, as described in one of her earlier books) have made tremendous contributions.

If I could pinpoint the two features I think contributed to my blah reaction to it, though, the
...more
Charlene
I've long been fascinated by the personal/interior lives of scientists, and this book gives us a glance at two very prominent psychiatrists: Kay Jamison and her husband, Richard Wyatt. I was familiar with Kay's story before picking this book up but I have not read An Unquiet Mind. Maybe I was also attracted to this book because it was compared with Joan Didion's A Year of Magical Thinking, which I think is one of the great books of the last decade.
This isn't as good but well worth reading. Au
...more
Lauren
The benchmark for books on grieving is set with The Year of Magical Thinking and while Nothing Was the Same can't match Didion, it is on its own a terrific book. I don't know that I could relate to the intensity of her marriage the way I could to Didion; however, parsing through the distinctions between depression and grief. To me, that was the most valuable aspect of this book. The recognition that grief does lift and that it serves a purpose. It also is not something we should necessary wish a ...more
Callie
Kay Redfield James writes very elegantly and formally. Her level of writing is far above what I've been reading lately. When I get the book in front of me, I am going to put some quotes from it in here. This is a remembrance of her husband and their marriage, before he died of cancer several years ago. I found it remarkable because I don't often read of people like this, much less know anyone like this. Completely committed to the life of the mind, devoted to science and their work as doctors, t ...more
Abbe
EDITORIAL REVIEW: From the internationally acclaimed author of *An Unquiet Mind,* an exquisite, haunting meditation on mortality, grief, and loss.Perhaps no one but Kay Redfield Jamison—who combines the acute perceptions of a psychologist with a writerly elegance and passion—could bring such a delicate touch to the subject of losing a spouse to cancer. In direct, straightforward, and at times strikingly lyrical prose, Jamison looks back at her relationship with her husband, Richard Wyatt, a reno ...more
Ed Smiley
I picked this up at the library, thinking that this was her earlier work on the experiences of an intelligent insightful person learning to deal with severe bipolar disorder, and actually finding a fulfilling life of considerable accomplishment.

I had skimmed parts of that book at a bookstore, and had gotten interested in her life.

This turned out to be a memoir of her life with her husband who fought, and lost, to fatal illness. He always helped her monitor her moods and keep to her program of m
...more
Jim
if you live w/or are thinking of living w/someone who has "an unquiet mind" read this book, i'm only a couple chapters in and it os amazing. this is a beautiful warning and strong affirmation for people loving the mentally ill. and it is also strong in saying that it can be safe/good for the mentally ill to love.
Jamison, like william styron, is a gift, she knows how to put words where others only know pain.

man, is this tough to read. it is about Jamison's husband, you know he is going to die but
...more
Sheila
Not sure what I expected but the author has executed a self therapy that probably was helpful in dealing with her own loss, but did not add much to this reader's insight. THe part that I liked was her distinction between depression and grieving. Her story is hers and it is wonderful, but for those of us in less perfect marraiges, it felt like a memorial to a god. And the lack of advance planning for a physician was mind boggling....he is on a vent in the ICU with terminal cancer and the MD asks ...more
Tori
I enjoy reading Kay Redfield Jamison's books. More than a book about her husband dying of cancer I felt like this one was a book about a great, true love. I think doctors are too eager to prescribe medicine for grief, and I really appreciated Kay's description of the differences between grief and depression. I felt this information meant even more coming from a psychiatrist who had felt deep dark depressions herself. The subject sounds like a downer, but I felt like this was a book about hope an ...more
Jmaegriffin
Unfortunately, it took me 3 years to finish this book. I purchased it shortly after the death of my significant other, a death connected to mental illness. At that time I was searching for help in understanding my own grief or depression and also his mania and depression. Instead, page after page I read about their love and commitment to each other in life and the beauty in finding your complement. I put the book down.

I picked it back up almost three years after it's original purchase (receipt
...more
Melissa
A beautiful memoir of a marriage, but Jamison only partly delivers on her promise to compare grief (after her husband dies) with depression (which she did not suffer, after a lifetime battling bipolar disorder).
Patrick Ross
Perhaps my problem in reading this book was that my expectations were set so high by Jamison's masterful An Unquiet Mind . In that powerful memoir, Jamison reveals publicly her struggle with bipolar disorder, a brave move considering she was an acclaimed scientific researcher of the condition. This book is a memoir chronicling the death of her husband Richard, a man with whom she spent twenty magical years, and who encouraged her to write An Unquiet Mind.

Perhaps my other problem was having read
...more
Samar Barakat
Very sad till now. How much pain can people really endure?
Karen
I most valued Jamison's description of grief as distinct from depression -- and as a person with manic-depressive illness, a recent widow, and a clinical psychologist specializing in mood disorders, she is well equipped to make the distinction.

However, the book is much more. It's also a tender love letter to her husband, a description of a couple working together to address her manic-depressive illness, a description of a couple fighting his cancer together, and a story of surviving the devastat
...more
Leslie
To start, I wasn't impressed by the title. However, I've been extremely wowed by the author when reading An Unquiet Mind. I was eager to see how she managed the death of her husband. The first half of the book disappointed me greatly. As a student of writing, I've been taught how important it is to make things new again -- from describing a character in a new, fresh way to one's own unique approach to life experiences such as grief. For me, I didn't think the author delved deep enough. I wanted ...more
Michelle
Years ago I read An Unquiet Mind, Kay Redfield Jamison's memoir of her battle with bipolar disorder, for a Freshman Seminar called "Mental Illness and Society", so I was pleased to find a copy of her Nothing Was the Same.

Nothing Was the Same is a much more sedate, sad memoir, as it should be. Jamison spends roughly half of the book explaining why her late husband, Dr. Richard Wyatt, why so perfect for her, how he helped her cope with bipolar disorder, and how his love was so unexpected and rene
...more
Jennifer Campaniolo
I thought Kay Redfield Jamison was very brave to write so openly and eloquently about being a doctor of manic depressives who was herself suffering from the disease in her book An Unquiet Mind. I was curious about how she was doing and though the subject of her latest book, Nothing Was the Same, sounded depressing--it's about her husband's cancer diagnosis and death--I still wanted to read it. And it was sad (and not the ideal reading choice for Memorial Day Weekend!) But it was also a beautiful ...more
Anna
This book didn't affect me the way other books about grief have. I am thinking specifically about Joan Didion's books about grieving, or stuff CS Lewis has written, etc. This was a good book, I especially found the firsthand account of the differences between grief and depression interesting, but the writing style didn't make me FEEL the author's experience the way a really good book can. However, I'm sure some people found the year of magical thinking (Joan Didion) hard to relate to, or maybe t ...more
Sylvia
I just finished this book today. It took me a little less than a day to get through this crisp memoir about losing a soul mate. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book as it was beautifully written and interesting. It was intensely personal and singularly focused on Jamison's relationship and love for her husband. It was so specific to them that I found myself wondering at times, about her husband's relationship to his children and would have liked to have them included as well. Jamison and her hu ...more
Andrew
I have very mixed feelings about this book. It is always honest and consistently powerful in its raw description of Kay's shifting emotions. But I often felt as if there was a failure -- whether conscious or not -- to situate the events within any context outside of Kay and Richard. Your average reader, e.g., me, is thus left rather disconnected from the circles in which the couple traveled. Plainly, a book of this sort is written as a form of cathartic therapy (as Kay herself states in the clos ...more
Shonna Froebel
This memoir is a very intimate look at Jamison's life with her late husband Richard. She talks of her own struggles with bipolar disorder and how her husband helped find a way for the two of them to cope with it by applying his scientific mind and methods to it.
She talks frankly about their relationship, how it began and how it progressed, and how much they shared with each other.
She also talks about their struggles with Richard's battles against cancer, how they coped and how their friends help
...more
Isa
There's no doubt in my mind Kay Redfield Jamison is a brilliant woman - a clinical psychologist who teaches at Johns Hopkins and who is well-versed in classic literature. Her first book, An Unquiet Mind, really changed the way I thought about mental illness because Jamison was able to talk about the facts of the disease as well as her personal experience of it.

This book offers a view of her later life, where her episodes are less frequent and brought into focus by her husband, who also suffers f
...more
Sridatta
I don't mean to be insensitive but this is not a good book. It was almost as if she couldn't care to make us care for her. It was touching at times, there was clearly stuff to be learnt from her experiences but she went on and on writing about the same stuff again and again. And the reason why I picked this book in the first place also might be the reason why I didn't like it. I started reading it so as to know about her understanding of grief in a way she talks about depression but she allotted ...more
Heather Key
Being Bi-polar this book really helped me start to process the death of my husband and how to handle the process. It helped me to know I can relate to others and that my feelings are not isolated. I really would recomend her books to anyone because she writes from a very down to earth style.
Mikelkpoet
I am really enjoying this book. At first I was scared that a memoir about a late husband would be boring, too sentimental, and slow like Joan Didion's similarly themed memoir was, but Kay Redfield Jamison keeps my interest like Didion did not. The book is a quick and interesting read.
Anna
I was looking for a book on grief, and this disappointed me. I preferred Meghan O'Rourke's The Long Goodbye: more beautiful, more insightful, more relatable (for me). This book was mostly an account of Jamison's husband's battle with cancer and a glowing report of how great he was. And what beautiful jewelry he bought her. And how their friends who were cancer researchers at top medical institutes gave them cutting-edge medical advice and bred a pack of lab rats with his cancer cells in them (no ...more
eLLen
I enjoyed reading Kay R. Jamison's memoir. She states the point, supports it, and recaps and it all gives a firm foundation for understanding her point of view. It was refreshing to read a memoir that was clear, intelligent and feel her compassion for her husband.
Karen Armstrong
Nothing was the same" by Kay Redfield Jamison (2009)
"he loved in me what I had forgotten was there." - p. 4
"To Kay, without whom I would not be." p. 103
"leader of the band of rabbits in WAtership Down. When Hazel died, he simply left his body on the edge of a ditch and then ran off, free of his tiredness, through the woods, and into a field of primrose." - p. 122"
"We know love makes a difference and we send love" -p.140
In grief, death occasions the pain? In depression, death is the solution to t
...more
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Kay Redfield Jamison (born June 22, 1946) is an American clinical psychologist an American clinical psychologist and writer who is one of the foremost experts on bipolar disorder. She is Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and is an Honorary Professor of English at the University of St Andrews.
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“I realized that it was not that I didn’t want to go on without him. I did. It was just that I didn’t know why I wanted to go on” 18 likes
“Grief said C.S. Lewis is like "a winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape." This is so. The lessons that come from grief come from its unexpected moves, from its shifting views of what had gone before and what is yet to come. Pain brought so often into one's consciousness cannot maintain the same capacity to wound. Grief, however creates strange sensitivity. The world is too intense to tolerate: a veil, a drink, another anaesthetic is required to blot out the ache of what remains. One sees too much and feels it, as Robert Lowell put it, "with one skin-layer missing."
Grief conspires to ensure that it will in time wear itself out. Unlike depression, it acts to preserve the self. Depression is malignant, indiscriminately destructive. Grief may bear resemblance to depression, but it is a distant kinship. In Grief, death occasions the pain. In depression, death is the solution to the pain. In Grief, one feels the absence of a life, not life itself. In depression, it is otherwise one cannot access the beat of life!”
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