Selina's Reviews > An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison
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Oct 21, 12

Read from August 08 to 09, 2012

If you are manic-depressive and reading this book, these are the take away points: make sure you have an amazingly supportive, selfless and kind parent (the other one probably gave you the bad genes), make sure you are blond and cute so men trip over themselves to provide you with a loving relationship in which you can recuperate, make sure you're studying psychiatry so that you are surrounded by qualified physicians, and take lithium. Oh, and don't forget the psychotherapy which is the ONLY thing that HEALS you but I'm not going to give you any details about how it worked for me. Its just important. Then write a book in which a quarter is describing your experiences, a quarter is thanking all the people that you screwed over but stuck by you anyway, a quarter is self-indulgent attempts to justify shit that you did, and the last quarter is to write bitchy anecdotes about people who didn't wrap their arms around you when you told them about your illness.

The first half was actually quite riveting and I was really interested in reading about her background, family environment, childhood and adolescent and the years leading up to her diagnoses. But alas, somewhere around the half way mark it all became rather pointless and lacking in direction.

I do admire her courage in making public her private pain. Her writing style is not bad, though tends to be too repetitive (the number of times she uses the word "idiosyncratic" and "mercurial" and describes someone as "generous" became cringe-worthy). Yes this is a bitchy review, but floundering after a promising start will get you a pissed off reader.
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message 1: by Gertrud (new)

Gertrud Martin Dear Selina,
I found your review very much to the point. So I wanted to ask you if you have any recommendations on books about maniac depression or any other mental illness book?
I am interested in Goethe/Asperger and Goethe s sister, who, in my opinion, wrote the original versions of most of "Goethe" s most famous books and who suffered from a severe depression, at the same time she had a high sense of urgency to write. Plus there is a writer and friend of hers and before also her brother who wrote obsessively about both Goethes and developed a severe psychosis after her death.
Unfortunately or rather fortunately, I have no experience with mental illness myself or in my family, and only a moderate one with a former boyfriend of mine.
My guess is that in families with autism spectrum disorder there are (nearly) all kinds of mental illnesses and that beside the biologic base there is also a lot of wrong parenting and quite often experience of violence in autistic families.
Gertrud Martin

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