Sarah's Reviews > Voluntary Madness: My Year Lost and Found in the Loony Bin

Voluntary Madness by Norah Vincent
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's review
Aug 02, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: not-finished, 2010, non-fiction
Read in August, 2010

Part of the reason the book gets such a low rating is that I did so much work in mental health during my undergrad. Norah is deceitful and that makes me upset. I don't like to be tricked. While I do think that the workers in some of the hospitals were just lazy, I feel like her book is more a reflection on how our mental health system is underfunded, unappreciated, and misunderstood. This book was written to 'shock and awe', and it meets that goal.

This book breaks my heart and makes me uncomfortable in my own thoughts. It isn't pleasant to see what happens in some institutions. I have trouble beliving some of what was written, that the author took creative license. And, she herself writes that she felt herself slipping away into madness. Could not those feelings have tainted her notes, memories, and perceptions of the events she records from the institutions?

I really don't recommend the book to anyone except someone who wants an alternative perspective on the mental health system in the US.
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