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Mad Girl

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  6,448 ratings  ·  442 reviews
Bryony Gordon has OCD.

It's the snake in her brain that has told her ever since she was a teenager that her world is about to come crashing down: that her family might die if she doesn't repeat a phrase 5 times, or that she might have murdered someone and forgotten about it. It's caused alopecia, bulimia, and drug dependency. And Bryony is sick of it. Keeping silent about h
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published December 27th 2016 by Headline (first published June 7th 2016)
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Average rating 4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,448 ratings  ·  442 reviews

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Claire Hennessy
Jun 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
“… mental illness does not always fit the binary, black-and-white terms given to it in the media, books and films. This is also why it is such a bastard. It is good at hiding, evading capture, putting on a show. It is the world’s greatest actor.”
Mental illness memoirs are often written by those in the public eye, who type earnestly about their time spent in bed or struggling without ever addressing the fact that despite their health issues, their lives have hints of glamour and privilege that ar
May 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Bryony Gordon was a stranger to me before I read this book, based on a recommendation and my attempt to add more non-fiction to my reading list. Having finished it, I feel I know her personally. Her memoir is open, chatty, at times frustrating, at others relatable, funny and tragic. Gordon's troubles are laid bare in a manner that is quite brave and hopefully therapeutic for her, too. While this wasn't the sort of book I couldn't put down, it was engaging and I think it is certainly worth readin ...more
Stacey (prettybooks)
I sort of love Bryony Gordon. We couldn't be more different, really, except for the small matter of our mental heath. That is to say, it's a bit crap. Bryony has had OCD ever since she was a young girl and, as she got older, it caused alopecia, bulimia, and drug dependency. In her memoir, she explores the roots of her OCD and how it – and not treating it – affected her teen years and her 20s. She talks about how mental health doesn't care about who you are (Bryony herself was a privileged child ...more
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: two-star
Mental health is, thankfully, easier to talk about in our millennial generation than perhaps forty or fifty years ago. Almost everyone knows someone on antidepressants, it's likely you have a relative or good friend who takes them (whether you're aware or not). As a passionate advocate for mental health, I really wanted to love this book more than I did.

I empathised with Bryony as she details her journey into darkness, as she calls it, from teenaged bulimia right through to the rituals that gov
Trish Hills
Apr 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I knew from the minute I started reading Mad Girl, my life would be changed. I read The Wrong Knickers when it came out and it was immense so when I heard that Bryony had a new book on the way, I knew I had to read it.

I was sobbing by the second page of the prologue. I was gripped from the first word and that grip didn't loosen until after the final word. I finished reading this on Friday and I'm still not sure I can write a coherent review that will do any sort of justice...

Mental health is a s
Jackie Law
May 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Mad Girl, by Bryony Gordon, is a darkly humourous account of living with mental illness. Since she was a child the author has suffered periods of debilitating OCD and clinical depression. As a young adult she developed eating disorders. She turned to alcohol and cocaine in an attempt to cope with her demons. Now she has decided to talk openly about these issues. Her aim is to out the prevalence of mental illness, to challenge the stigma society attaches to maladies that are ‘all in the head’, an ...more
Aug 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Finnaly a genuine honest book about in the mind of someone suffering from OCD! Sadly a horrible affliction for anyone to suffer from! There are different types of ocd! And Byron suffers from intrusive thoughts! We’re all lead to believe through, media, tv, film and magazines that ocd is excessive cleaning! Washing hands and liking things the way we like them! Need tidy etc... not always the case for many! I’m so proud of this lady! Extremely funny thoughout I connected with her so much as were r ...more
Karen Whittard
Dec 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
A true honest autobiography. Which I feel everyone should read. Even if like me you don't know who she is. I think it's a feat book which tells you it is ok to talk about mental illness and you should talk about it honestly because we all go through it at one point or another in our lives all with varying degrees. If we all talk about it instead of shutting it away and giving it the power it needs to grow and to get worse then perhaps we might not all be fighting these demons alone. ...more
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oh my god!! The ending nearly had me in tears. And not in a bad way.
A brilliantly honest and true story of her mental illness throughout her life. I think it is so inspirational to hear someone talk about something that is such a taboo subject still but shouldn't be. 👍🏼😍💕
Dec 10, 2018 rated it did not like it
I find myself extremely frustrated with this book!

On one hand, it's very accessible and easy to digest for those completely unaquainted with the notion of mental illness.

On the other hand, the author makes continuous attempts to normalise her own illness at the expense of others. For example: 'It's not as if I'm psychotic. It's not as if I'm losing the plot.', and '"Referrals are essential for women with bipolar affective disorder; schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder; previous postpartum psyc
Rosina Ayling
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“Even little things that make you happy are important, because the more of them you have in your life, the better your wellbeing”. After listening to her podcast, I knew I had to read her book! It’s a chatty, honest and hilarious read. A topic that is so relevant right now, mental health and a topic incredibly close to my heart. I found this book very relatable and it’s so important. It’s powerful, inspiring and I loved it! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “I’m telling you this because sometimes there isn’t a reason fo ...more
I wasn't expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did but it was an easy read, well written and it has an important message in that mental health should not be hidden away and not talked about. Anyone who lives with or knows someone struggling with mental health issues should read this book, it is frank and honest but also an inspiration. Many, many people will be affected by some or all of the issues raised in this story and I hope it can help some of them. ...more
May 05, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies
I had to read this book in several instalments as I found it so hard to get into. I was really surprised to look through the reviews and see that the majority were 4 or 5 stars, as I just did not get the appeal. Some bits had far too much detail and really dragged, whereas others didn't have enough and seemed to skim through topics I would have liked to know more about. ...more
Gemma Collins
Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm so glad I read this. Although my own mental health conditions are different to Bryony's, just reading this book made me feel a bit less alone and a bit more capable of addressing and dealing with them. ...more
Shahda Al Taie
This was the first book of 2017 with my book club and I must say that it was a good pick!

The book is nothing more than a memoir of a modern, successful and a functioning "Mad Girl" who spills the beans about her ongoing struggle with mental health issues and how she has dealt with them but never managed to completely overcome these issues. When you think about mental health issues + a memoir, you expect to read about tons of agonizing and miserable situations that will leave you helplessly in t
Amy Collins
I only got one thing from Mad Girl: a slightly better understanding of OCD. That's a good thing, of course - and it's great to see more and more people having a better understanding of mental illness thanks to the brilliant people who are strong enough to write and talk about their experiences.

But unfortunately, Mad Girl wasn't my cup of tea really. Bryony is very much the opposite kind of person to me (I'm very shy, would choose to stay in playing D&D with a couple of friends over partying AAAA
Lady Drinkwell
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a very engaging book which I could not put down. It also raised some interesting questions. The author suffers with OCD and other mental problems from a very early age but she managed to live a normal and successful life. So its not by any means a book about somebody wallowing in bed after a terrible breakdown who managed to get help.. mental health or the lack of it is a constant companion, she even gives it a name, its a monster she is able to manage to a certain extent. It doesn't cl ...more
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
This is a very "me" book.

My morbid curiosity and a need to compare my level of "crazy" to another, generally leads me to read any book describing someones battles with mental health. I find I am drawn to a memoir more if any form of mental illness or disorder is described in the blurb, obviously mainly focusing on those most related to mine. This, clearly, met the majority of my check list.

I feel I am sometimes quite harsh in my after thoughts on these books, as I don't always get what I want ou
Jun 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It was 5.30am and I had just gotten up to get a glass if water when I saw Mad Girl sitting there on my sofa and thought 'maybe I'll read a few pages, you know just to get started.' Ha!

There I was some 20 something minutes later not wanting to put the book down even though my eyes were burning with a need for sleep.

I eventually did manage to pry myself away from it but I knew right then, from what I had read of it, that I was going to love this book. Case in point? I was barely on page 6 before
Apr 17, 2017 rated it liked it
I liked the 'humorous' take on this book which is refreshing to the more serious side. As a sufferer of various MH issues I felt that she tackled important topics like the downfalls of the NHS compared to private care and the sense of a community for suffers. However I just felt her writing in general was really quite annoying and she laboured some points too much. It was an accessible book to spread awareness but it wasn't the most enjoyable read for me ...more
Aug 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was such a great book. It was refreshing to read such an honest and real book about mental health. It didn't gloss over the hard parts or pretend that once you've fixed yourself you'll never be ill again.
It was funny too; but not in a mocking way and I read it in just two sittings!
Such a wonderful book.
Suzy Hunter
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
Read it for my book group otherwise I wouldn't have finished it. Some interesting detail about OCD which I think might genuinely help some people. Easy read and funny at times but despite her apologise I found the privilege and lack of self awareness tiring. Just waiting for the the third book where she cracks on and stops drinking. ...more
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fab writing, so easy to read, relatable to those who experience it and an insight for those who haven't. A brave and funny account of an OCD mind. ...more
Catherine Stead
May 18, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A brilliant insight into the misunderstood world of OCD and other mental health issues.

I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for her other books.
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I hold my hands up, I only read this book because it was yellow and cost me 20p and I liked the title. I don't particularly go into autobiographies, but while I was flicking through I thought I would give it a go and I am glad I did. It seems to be a trend in recent years for celebrities to talk about mental health. For me I find a stab of jealousy as it's ok for them (even though I don't know their situation) because they have money and things can be 'easily fixed' which in the case of Bryony G ...more
Becca Slater
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have had OCD since I was 16. It has crippled my life causing me to finish a degree without honours, underachieve at Sixth form, and waste years of my life underachieving and worrying. I have humiliated myself in public, performing rituals and endangered many a relationship with friends and family. I have had suicidal thoughts and selfharmed.
But what kills me the most is people assuming, wrongly, that I am a germaphobe or that OCD people like things neat and orderly. This often leads people t
Apr 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: work
This is an important book - it reads like a good old chick lit, yet is in fact the real life experience of Bryony Gordon's OCD. There is lots of booze, sex and drugs but the critical thing here is it demonstrates why these distractions become problematic for people. They are always a symptom of something underlying and Bryony takes us on a journey that explains how and why she got where she was at her worst and best, and what is required to end the debilitating cycle. In essence healing occurs w ...more
Caroline Venables
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I can’t begin to tell you how thoroughly wonderful I think this book is.  It is exactly what she says at the beginning, honest.  It is not a self-help book, although in my library this is how it is categorised, which is strange.  It is a no holds barred narrative of Bryony’s life, she pulls no punches.  Please don’t expect a nice happy read, don’t get me wrong there are laugh out loud moments and lots of bits that made me smile, but it is a book that explains what living with a mental illness is ...more
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was a love letter from a soul sister whom I'd never met on the shelf of a bookstore in a country to which I had never been. Hello, Qatar! I will forever be grateful to you for introducing me to Bryony Gordon. Reading Mad Girl was a 300 page "Me, too!" experience. Her descriptions of living with OCD were spot on:

"OCD tries to stop me from doing the things that come most naturally to me. It is placing evil and shame where there is none, it is convincing me I am bad...when I am not...It
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