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

The Center Cannot Hold by Elyn R. Saks
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's review
Apr 27, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: mental-health, 2012-reads, healthcare

Elyn Saks is a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship and a professor of law and psychiatry at USC. She also suffers from schizophrenia. The Center Cannot Hold is Saks' story of growing up and coming to terms with her disease. While I very much enjoyed this book, it was a bit too self-congratulatory for my taste. Saks certainly deserves to be congratulated--her accomplishments would be impressive enough without the hurdles she has had to clear--but I was already impressed; I didn't need her to TELL me I should be. Additionally, her attitude towards the American mental health establishment was a bit puzzling. While I think there are few (if any) people who have even a passing acquaintance with the system and would say that it does not need MAJOR restructuring, but Saks' offers little constructive criticism and rather attacks the system in broad strokes. This is particularly confusing as she is certainly an important player in reform.

At the end of the day, though, this book is incredibly brave. Saks is to be commended for sharing her story, which I think goes a long way toward increasing understanding among those of us fortunate enough not to struggle with something so incredibly life-shattering.
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Reading Progress

April 27, 2012 – Shelved
April 29, 2012 – Started Reading
April 29, 2012 – Shelved as: mental-health
May 5, 2012 –
page 268
May 7, 2012 – Shelved as: 2012-reads
May 7, 2012 – Finished Reading
September 2, 2012 – Shelved as: healthcare

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