Voluntary Madness: My Year Lost and Found in the Loony Bin
Norah Vincent's New York Times bestselling book, Self-Made Man, ended on a harrowing note. Suffering from severe depression after her eighteen months living disguised as a man, Vincent felt she was a danger to herself. On the advice of her psychologist she committed herself to a mental institution. Out of...more
- People who suffer ...more
I read the reviews others wrote and was very surprised how how low the ratings were. I was fascinated with this memoir, for both personal and objective reasons. The author has a mild to medium level of mental illness throughout her life. When this memoir begins, Norah ...more
Crawling out of your skin, hyper-aware of every thought that rides in with the waves and all but screaming out loud for it to stop as you search every available medicine cabinet, internet chat room and available body in the single hope of escaping. Escape from the despair, the anger, the loneliness and the all-consuming fear that seems to pervade this moment.
More and more I'm realizing that everyone has those moments, days, thought pa ...more
Her descriptions of being housed in the giant metropolitan hospital are harrowing, as are the pictures she draws of her fellow mental patients. She is an apt observer and captures the telling detail (a list of pseudonyms a patie ...more
I used to export my books regularly but always let the file overwrite the old one. Not any more. Since last June when I started to notice books and reviews going missing I've been keeping them all.
The only time in ...more
Where the book loses some of its punch is when the author decides to go off her prescribed Prozac and becomes truly depressed herself. Thus instead of revea ...more
Bound Miami SunPost Jan. 1, 2009
Norah Vincent Hits the Loony Bins
By John Hood
When former Los Angeles Times columnist Norah Vincent decided to live life as a man for a while, she probably had no idea the experience would produce a bona fide bestseller (Self-Made Man), or that the living would literally drive her nuts. But 18 months later, after a total immersion that included joining an all-male bowling team, hitting the strip clubs and dating oth ...more
From the start it is clear that the author is already against psychiatric meds, and in the first facility, a public one primarily treating patients ...more
i just can't bring myself to get further into this book. i keep checking it out, with every intention of reading it, but the whole thing strikes way too close to home. also, it makes me sad, because there are some truly great inpatient facilities for people who need help. of course, money and insurance determine who gets to go where, along with the education required to seek those places out.
i think it just reminds me too much of how close we sometimes all are to being in a loc ...more
What I like about the author is that she is ve ...more
This book breaks my heart and makes me uncomfort ...more
If the above passage appeals to you, then by all means read this book. It's your life to waste. I almost put it down but I foolishly thought something exciting might happen at the end or at her third facility. Sorry - I should have said "bin" as she repeatedly refers to all of the hospitals and ...more
Wrong on both counts. I finished it because it's a short read. There were several things about this book that bothered me.
First of all, there are the constant diatribes against psychotropic medication. They would have been perfectly valid if she had included ANY evidence whatsoever to back up her claims - a reference to ...more
The good: Norah is brave, and far more focused than I could ever be. Not many people would pull such a s ...more
The reason that I give this book only two stars is that I found her tone at the end of the book lapsed into a sort of disdain for her fellow sufferers, and a sort of disgu ...more
She easily gets herself committed into her first public health ...more
This book is basically a huge fuck you for anyone working in the mental health profession. Even though, I am not one YET. I was extremely offended by everything the author had to say. I have interned in a psychiatric hospital for two months and let me just say, the system is not perfect, but whatever she says about how MHP do not ...more
I gave it 3 stars because after a while, I got a little tired of the author's egoic love for hearing herself explain things. I'm being nice. ...more
Norah Vincent's storytelling gets richer in detail and depth as it goes on. Her observations direct and unflinching. For example: when relating the story of a "too good for this ward" middle-class newcomer, Norah acknowledges her own snobbery regarding other patients.
This bright light turned ...more