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Nothing Was the Same Nothing Was the Same

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3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  1,082 Ratings  ·  143 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
Sep 25, 2009 Rick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Apr 22, 2010 David rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 13, 2011 Charlene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Lauren
May 21, 2009 Lauren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Shaun
Aug 15, 2016 Shaun rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started off listening to the audiobook of this with my girlfriend. We had listened to An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness together and learned a lot from it. We had hoped this book might offer more insight in to life with bipolar... but that's not what this book about. And we can't hold that against the author, of course. We just didn't read the description before buying it. This book is a loving and tearful memoir written about the author's relationship with, and grief subsequent t ...more
Callie
Oct 16, 2009 Callie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jessica Griffin
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
Sheila
Mar 14, 2011 Sheila rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Daryl Thompson
Mar 22, 2015 Daryl Thompson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was heading out of town for travel and wanted to download something to read. I was in a hurry and download the first book to come up. This book by Kay Redfield Jamison was something I would not in my normal history reading. Glad I did this; was enjoyable reading and Kay did a good job getting me involved in what her and her husband were up against.
Melissa
Nov 08, 2009 Melissa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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).
Samar Barakat
Feb 27, 2011 Samar Barakat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very sad till now. How much pain can people really endure?
Amanda
Jun 04, 2015 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent memoir on grief...
Leslie
Nov 02, 2009 Leslie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Patrick Ross
Jun 24, 2014 Patrick Ross rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
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
Sorayya Khan
Kay Jamison's An Unquiet Mind is nothing short of remarkable for what it does for how we think about moods and madness. It is wrong, of course, to expect her grief memoir to do something as monumental for us, but I couldn't help hoping that it would. Nothing Was the Same is Jamison's account of the loss of her husband to cancer and, thereby, also testament to their loving relationship. The memoir is an elegy of sorts, for Richard Wyatt as a human being and his mastery as a scientist. In the end, ...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
Christin
Jan 03, 2016 Christin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a major devotee of Jamison's. Her personal writing is vibrant and dynamic. This story about the death her much-beloved, equally-brilliant husband was a beautiful tribute, but I think much of the narrative tilted toward a paean, as opposed to a rich account of their relationship, worts and all. Both of them retained a glorious patina of equanimity—even perhaps in his case, a halo. I'm not implying that her emotional recollections are inaccurate or misleading, more that they read like a highl ...more
K.
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
K.S.
Oct 04, 2015 K.S. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I could have done without the first 60 pages, which were just a re-hash of the author's bi-polar condition that she already wrote about in another book. That being said, this book is very well written. I read it in less than 4 hours. I found myself nodding repeatedly because of the parallels with my own situation as a recent widow. Not to be overly critical, but with a platform such as she has, she could have spent more time on the widowhood end of things, instead of using the bulk of the book t ...more
Anna
Jul 07, 2012 Anna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
David Jones
Jamison discusses the loss of her spouse in terms of the events leading up to the inevitable conclusion that he was battling a terminal condition, as well as the aftermath that such a loss wrecked on her psyche. She reminisces about the influence her spouse had on her writing and continues to have as she presses forward in her own life.

The memoir is loaded with poignant discussions reflecting loss and grieving. For those who have read Jamison previously, they will find themselves breaching from
...more
Andrew
Jan 05, 2011 Andrew rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Sylvia
Nov 03, 2009 Sylvia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Shonna Froebel
Nov 21, 2012 Shonna Froebel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Kay Redfield Jamison (born June 22, 1946) is 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” 28 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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