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The Loony-Bin Trip

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  344 ratings  ·  36 reviews
A personal story of Kate Millett's struggle to regain control of her life after falling under an ascription of manic depression.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published August 28th 2000 by University of Illinois Press (first published May 1st 1990)
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Average rating 3.54  · 
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Aug 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those interested in lesbian autobiography, mental illness, and art
this is my second time around, after many years, and i still find this books exceptional. first of all, kate millett writes beautifully. this woman's had many careers -- artist, activist, feminist theorist, writer -- but if her talents resided only in putting words in sequence and saying amazing things with them, she should still be qualified as a genius.

this book oozes pain. if you cannot deal with pain, you should not read it, otherwise you'll find it long, verbose, overwritten, or
Jul 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Kate Millett is most famous for her feminist text Sexual Politics, she help develop modern ideas of patriarchy. She was also an artist and sculptor and an activist in a number of areas. This book however charts Millett’s battles with mental ill health and the anti-psychiatry movement. In 1973 Millett was committed with the assistance of family and friends who were worried about her and diagnosed with what was then called manic depression (now bi-polar). She ended up on Lithium, which has a ...more
Leenda dela Luna
Mar 03, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I hated this book to levels that surprised me. I got the feeling that the author wrote the book as proof that she isn't crazy but, instead, I felt trapped inside the mind of someone I'd see wandering the streets, talking to herself. Especially during the first 2/3 of the book, where she's manic. Highly repetitive, paranoid, and booooring. And the chapter about the horse's penis?!? Man, I'm liberal and open minded but that chapter gave me the creeps!!

This book was recommended to me after I
Alex Ankarr
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Just looove the bit with the self-important young (female) doctor, trying to (illegally) commit Millett. And the seen-it-all New York cop who knows she's acting in bad faith, absolutely and knowingly ultra vires, self-admiringly feeding her own ego, and PUTS THE BITCH DOWN.

And then the little toad starts whining about how hard-done-by she is, and no-one understands what a misunderstood saint and heroine she really is...
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs
this memoir took me way too long to read. i was emotionally overwhelmed by every paragraph - and 320 pages of this! millett's writing is so dense and full of life (all while she is battling between the feuding sisters of mania and depression). i was thinking about why nobody reads kate millett. because she's smart and sharp? because she's a lesbian and doesn't tempt the fate of the tragic ophelia in her river of flowers? because she doesn't apologize for having confidence in her assertions? ...more
Lisa Temple
May 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology-read
This is my all-time favorite first-person account of mental illness. It is written by the feminist author Kate Millet and describes her experience with bipolar disorder. In the excerpts of her journal you can really see her struggle as she decides to go off her medication and becomes more symptomatic. It is the best written account I've seen of what it is like to have manic episodes.
Nov 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Millet writes a brave and honest depiction of her struggle with bipolar disorder, and her decision to stop taking the lithium she has been prescribed for years.

What follows is a description of euphoric mania at her women's artist colony in Upstate New York, in New York City and finally in Ireland, where she is forcibly sent to a horrific mental "hospital." If not for her contacts with influential people, she might still be there. This memoir is set in 1979-80, but one wonders how much things
H.A. Fowler
Nov 01, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: People interested in feminist history
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alison Whiteman
Feb 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Kate Millet was brilliant. I read this in the 1990s. I wanted to go to NY State to spend time on her farm for artists and writers.
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: health
Everyone might not find this a 5-star read, but I appreciated so much the immediacy of Kate Millett's writing, as if she were in the middle of a manic or depressive episode when she was writing. It really helped me understand what might be going on when a person is manic or seriously depressed. It also challenged my thinking on incarceration and the meaning of being a danger to one's self. Public/medical policy in these areas may not have changed much between the 80s and now.
I'm glad that people like Kate Millett helped advocate for the civil rights of people with mental illness, although it's more than unfortunate that these days that has come to mean that instead of getting help in hospitals, people with severe mental illness go to prison instead.

Considering the state of "mental health care" at the time (locking people up and drugging them against their will) it's quite frankly a miracle that anybody could recover from mental illness, and Kate Millett certainly
Megan Halili
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a trip within itself! I resound deeply within Millett's long and overwritten prose, one that is hard to find, and the events described made me shiver. Worth the read. I feel like I'm meant to say something about the several pages detailing a horse's penis, but I think you should find out yourself. : ")
Kealan O'ver
Mar 16, 2019 rated it liked it
A bit long winded and self-important but does a good job of making it unclear if she’s actually crazy or the victim of an abusive system
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gay, boekenkast
"Pick up your paperback again; don't cry. Do you remember your high time?"
I wish I could give this novel 3.5 stars instead.

I really like the style of Millet's writing. It feels like you're reading her diary and getting an inside look at her head.

At times, I did find it a little tedious. Also, many of her relatives and friends made me mad because of their inability to understand her and their "duty" to interfere "in her best interest". Especially Sophie and how that turns out towards the end.

There are passages throughout the entire novel in which Kate is stating pure
Katie Lynn
May 10, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stopped-reading
I got entirely fed up with the narrowness of the voice of this author. It was somewhere around page 125 and her exploring the efficacy of bestiality and the eroticism of a geldings swag that I decided this book just wasn't for me.

I CAN agree with the author's frustration that once you've been labelled as "crazy" or... anything for that matter... everyone around you and everything is seen through that filter. Frustrating!
Denise Rathman
Dec 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book helped my understand that treatment of mental illness is not clear cut and why the side effects of the medications can be unbearable. It was one of the first books I read on mental illness and likely was the book that peaked my interest in mental illness and planted the the seed that started my career in social work. (It's been a while since I read it.)
Cindy Huyser
Jun 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Millett's exploration of her struggle with bipolar disorder (or something I'm interpreting as bipolar disorder) is remarkable for its honesty. The effects of her illness on her and the others around her is profound; as she struggles to regain her footing, she also struggles with the perceptions of those around her who have decided her judgment can't be trusted. Powerful and a bit scary.
Jun 22, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in mental illness and mental health
This a true story about how Kate Millet ended up being committed to a mental hospitals against her will. SCARY, especially the mental hospital in Ireland. A must read for anyone who thinks mental hospitals help people heal.
Jul 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Best book regarding bipolar disorder. Millett is philosophical, witty, poetic and intimate in her style.
Jun 03, 2007 rated it liked it
Depressing and unsettling. I spent most of the time wondering if the author was aware she wasn't the hero of her own autobiography.
Sherry Lee
Jul 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Overwhelmingly honest, at times a tedious read, but good contribution, adding awareness, to an important topic. Found this book at a thrift store; it looked interesting and was.
The chapter about horse penis aside... which was disturbing in all ways... a great anti psychiatry read
May 22, 2009 rated it did not like it
difficult to follow this woman's journey. Seems like she denies that she has mental illness but frustrated that she can't function in the world.
Dec 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Read this book about 25 years ago and it still comes back to me sometimes. I recommend it to people who want an "insider" perspective on the bi-polar experience.
Dec 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
A really great book shows us how everything is great and worth to die for
Sep 06, 2013 rated it liked it
I want to live on Millets farm! I just reread this and loved it just as much. A brilliant woman's struggle with getting off of psych meds. I love Kate Millet.
Jan 26, 2009 rated it did not like it
I couldn't get into this book and quit about half way through.
Amy King
Jun 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book is an amazing trip into the thoughts of a woman committed to a mental hospital. It was very scary at times, but fascinating!
Oct 05, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
deep down, i think that her mental illness destroyed relationships with people she loves. isn't that a good reason to get on meds??
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500 Great Books B...: The Loony-Bin Trip - Kate Millett 1 10 Jul 26, 2014 07:49PM  

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Katherine Murray "Kate" Millett was an American feminist writer, educator, artist, and activist. She attended Oxford University and was the first American woman to be awarded a postgraduate degree with first-class honors by St. Hilda's. She has been described as "a seminal influence on second-wave feminism", and is best known for her 1970 book Sexual Politics," which was her doctoral dissertation ...more
“Your only mistake then was in trusting the people who brought you here." I will hear this remark for the rest of my life: it will echo along the walls of my mind until all sound stops for me.” 1 likes
“No one should be adored, it’s fundamentally immoral.” 0 likes
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