Kathleen Hagen's Reviews > The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness

The Center Cannot Hold by Elyn R. Saks
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Jan 16, 2009

bookshelves: 2007-audio-books, 2007-nonfiction
Read in December, 2007

The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness, by Elyn R. Saks, produced by Recorded Books, narrated by Alma Cuervo.

This is the unflinching look at a history of schizophrenia, undiagnosed and misdiagnosed for a long time. Elyn Saks, now a tenured professor of law, who has garnered many awards, teaches and writes at University of Southern California. This is her own story. She gives us very detailed glimpses of what happens to her when she has a psychotic break. She talks about how long it took her, at least 13 years, to come to the conclusion that she had a psychological illness, a thought disorder, schizophrenia, which could not be cured, and which she would always have to take medication for. Dr. Saks is a believer in psychoanalysis and believes that this therapy, along with committed doctors and friends, and parents who were financially well off enough to get her the best help, and her own unflinching strength and will power, have allowed her to be extremely successful both in her professional and her personal life. For anyone who works with people with mental illness as clients, as I do, it is very enlightening to read this. One of the most frustrating pieces of having mentally ill clients is that when they get better, they often go off their meds. This is very frustrating for a lawyer, and for their doctors as well, I now realize. But most of all, it can be a total nightmare for the person with the condition. This book will be with me for some time. The narrator was wonderful. She read the book in a conversational way that made me feel like the author was right in the room with me telling her story.


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